The Mark Program



This week, as I write about writing, it is important to me to write about Shannon. She was my seventh grade Core teacher, which means she taught English in addition to history and social studies. She taught me about the power of words. She also taught me to believe that I could be skilled at expressing myself through them. For the past three and a half years, Shannon, who is 43, has battled cancer, and I recently learned that she is now in hospice care.


It’s easy to get wrapped up in life. But then death happens within your circle of family and friends and the every-day-living routine is broken. Death calls for a pause.

The Mark Interviews Antoine Wilson

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Writers' Reel: How to Write a Joke

Writing with humor can be challenging, even for the best in the biz. In this New York Times short, Jerry Seinfeld describes his process of joke writing. Regardless of your genre, we think this video is worth a watch and a chuckle.


“Pies, Pies, Pies” (1961), by Wayne Thiebaud.

This week, in literature and in life, I’ve encountered many reminders about humility.


Photo credit: The Guardian

Bookmark This: PEN's Favorite Love Poems

For this special Valentine's Day edition of Bookmark This, the PEN staff have shared their favorite love poems. Enjoy:

Grant Hutchins, Program Coordinator, recommends:

You, You, You, or Me, Me, Me

MC Escher

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about you. Not literally you (though, depending on who you are, who knows), but the pronoun you, as employed in that rare gem of a POV, the second person. So far, only one story in my collection is told in the second person. This week, so that story didn’t feel so lonely, I tried switching a newer piece from first to second.

Writers' Reel: The Myth of Romantic Love

How do you feel about Valentine's Day? Here's essayist Alain de Botton on the "myth" of romantic love: