A Letter From São Paulo, Where the Definition of ‘Unbearable’ Has Shifted

As Brazil’s Death Count Rises, a Writer of Fantasies Embraces Realism in Quarantine

I’ve been training myself to be productive at home since I finished high school. The very idea of becoming a writer came from an interview with Patricia Highsmith that I read in the 1990s; the journalist described her life in a beautiful house near the mountains in Switzerland. Still a teenager, I thought this was the kind of life I wanted. Not necessarily Switzerland, I thought. A small apartment in the city could also satisfy my dreams of quietude, if I were able to work at home.

But my teenage dreams …

A Letter From Beijing, Where There Is No Normal to Go Back to | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Beijing, Where There Is No Normal to Go Back to

During Months in Lockdown, a Family Grows Closer and Gets Better at Taking Disappointments in Stride 

In China, people have recently emerged after spending months in their homes. Ching-Ching Ni, editor-in-chief of the New York Times Chinese website, explained to Zócalo how being stuck at home …

Your Neighbors Can Help You Battle Adversity and Disaster | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Your Neighbors Can Help You Battle Adversity and Disaster

Zócalo's First Book Prize Winner Reflects on the Power of the People Nearby to Ease Both Pandemics and Politics

My book, In the Neighborhood, published 10 years ago this spring, asked how Americans live as neighbors—and what we lose when the people next door are strangers.

These questions …

Poetry’s Unique Power to Change Its Readers and Sustain Them Too | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Poetry’s Unique Power to Change Its Readers and Sustain Them Too

During a Pandemic, Poems Offer ‘a Space of Words Where You Can Dwell’

What is it about poetry that allows us to escape our greatest anxieties, find space for introspection, or even achieve catharsis? What is it about the poetic combination of meter, …

A Letter From Quezon City, Where the Stars Have Come Back | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Quezon City, Where the Stars Have Come Back

In the Philippines, COVID-19 Has Made the Air Cleaner—And Revealed the Nation’s Deeper Challenges

It’s amazing how much more you’re able to see when you can’t go wherever you want.

We’re now more than six weeks into the “enhanced community quarantine” for Luzon. Just as …

How COVID-19 Exposed the Deep Divide Between White Rural Georgia and Atlanta | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How COVID-19 Exposed the Deep Divide Between White Rural Georgia and Atlanta

In Defying the CDC’s Expert Advice, Governor Kemp Is Employing a Political Strategy More Than 150 Years Old

The number of Georgia’s confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 30 percent in the seven days before Governor Brian Kemp appeared at the state capitol in Atlanta on April 20. There …