A Book You May Have Missed: Sarah Minor’s Bright Archive


Sarah Minor is, all at once, a writer, an artist, an architect, an archeologist, and a mapmaker. In her stunning first book, Bright Archive, she writes essays that blend personal history with the long arm of cultural history, and a wealth of hidden stories a reader would never know without her persistent digging. She arranges these essays on the page as the magnified shapes of pearls and pearl buttons filled with words, or as playing cards the reader can scissor from the book and throw into the air, or the secret spaces of a home’s soffits, or the full, meandering path of the Mississippi River.

That last essay I mentioned was “Foul Chutes: On the Archive Downriver,” which appeared on the Ninth Letter website in November of 2018 and is now one of the superb essays included in Bright Archive, published this past September of 2020 at the height of the fall season surge of the Coronavirus pandemic. Which is why we are happy to reprint Minor’s essay, in celebration of a book you might have missed, an unusually inventive book that awaits your startled appreciation.  Now that the vaccinations have arrived, we can breathe a little easier and take in once more some of the world’s wonder.

—Philip Graham



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Sarah Minor is a writer and interdisciplinary artist and author of Slim Confessions: The Universe as a Spider or Spit (Noemi 2021) and Bright Archive (Rescue 2020). Her essays have appeared in Best American Experimental Writing and have received “notable” mention in Best American Essays, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and the Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. Minor is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Video Editor at TriQuarterly Review and the Assistant Director of the Cleveland Drafts Literary Festival. Find images of her work at www.sarahceniaminor.com.