Criticism as Creative Form

March 16, 2022

In opposition to a pervasive understanding of creativity as a practice of a solitary mind fashioning something from nothing, criticism—writing about literature, art, and other cultural objects—makes explicit the reality that aesthetic and intellectual production always occurs in conversation. The critical practices of contextualization, interpretation, appraisal, and critique can be generative modes of new and revitalized relation with texts, with one another, and with the world. What kinds of responsibilities does the critic have? What relationship should criticism have to the contested project of canonization? What literary and political thinking, imagination, and action does this inherently dialogic mode make possible?

The Politics of Literary Practice

Join Jewish Currents for a series of three conversations—on poetry, criticism, and translation—to explore the relationships between politics and literary form. Considering the history and present of the genres in question, participants will discuss the various ways that textual practices structure our imaginations—and how they chart possibilities for reading, thinking, and living otherwise.

Check out the other two events in the series: Poetry and Freedom Movement and Translation, Migration, Mobilization.

This live event and its recording will have automated closed captioning. For accommodation requests or questions about accessibility, please reach out to

Sarah Chihaya is the author of The Ferrante Letters: An Experiment in Collective Criticism (with Merve Emre, Katherine Hill, and Jill Richards; Columbia University Press, 2020) and Bibliophobia (forthcoming from Random House). She is a senior editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Zoé Samudzi is a sociologist, art writer, and contributing writer for Jewish Currents.

Parul Sehgal is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Previously, she was a book critic at The New York Times, where she also worked as a senior editor and columnist. She has won awards from the New York Press Club and the National Book Critics Circle for her criticism. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.

Nathan Goldman is the managing editor of Jewish Currents.