Kazim Ali’s “Notes on Silence” is an imaginary syllabus for a semester-long college course devoted to (if not conducted in) silence. What are some intriguing implications raised by this text? What is the communicative power of not speaking? Is true silence ever entirely possible? In this ongoing era of so-called “information overload,” are we suffering from a silence shortage? Can this be cured?
Larissa Lai’s “Salt Fish Girl” is an ode celebrating female creativity—is there anything potentially blasphemous (or empowering) in the phrasing of “In the beginning, there was just me”? How might the title character here have existed even while “The materials of life still lay dormant”? Does this imply that our soul exists before our anatomy does? What is being expressed and explored in the image of a fish-woman capable of molding new lives out of fresh clay?