Accolades for Mary Margaret Alvarado’s “On Memory With No Devices”

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

While CC’s Thesis Specialist Mia (as she is known) Alvarado has published much of her writing, including poetry and nonfiction, in magazines and journals including The Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, VQR, and Outside, her recent essay is particularly exciting: It has been named a finalist for “Best of the Net” honors and selected to be published in an upcoming print anthology, Omnibus!. The essay, titled “On Memory With No Devices,” was selected by president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux Jonathan Galassi to be part of this anthology.

Alvarado says the idea for this essay is “part of a long-time obsession with what is a machine, and who are we among them?” It is also part of a series of lyrical essays Alvarado has written about the digital revolution that comprise a book-length manuscript, “They Say This Thing Works.” She adds, “I also wrote it to console myself; as I often write; and to revisit that girl that I once was, and offer her some mercy.” The themes of memory and technology have been interesting to Alvarado since before “On Memory With No Devices,” as she says, “I am interested by the degree to which we are outsourcing the very act of thinking, and the many arts and practices of memory.” Additionally, she says “I am interested by how we remember, and what; how a self-mutates in time; how nations and peoples create or erase memories; and by how domestic technologies, like, say, a letter, can form a whole life.”

The inclusion of this essay in Omnibus!is exciting and humbling for Alvarado, as she loves and admires the work of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. “It is an honor for Galassi to have read and then to recommend this writing,” she explains.

Alvarado’s essay can be found on the Cagibi website: