Joe McKnight

Joe McKnight is a fall 2013 intern at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Writing the Best Story that She Can

The Prospect talks with Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award winner and author of the recently published memoir, Men We Reaped.

"...the only sound I hear is the tortured parrot that one of my cousins owns, a parrot that screams so loudly it sounds through the neighborhood, a scream like a wounded child, from a cage so small the parrot’s crest barely clears the top of the cage while its tail brushes the bottom. Sometimes when that parrot screams, sounding its rage and grief, I wonder at my neighborhood’s silence. I wonder why silence is the sound of our subsumed rage, our accumulated grief. I decide this is not right, that I must give voice to this story." Alluding to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , Jesmyn Ward begins her memoir, Men We Reaped , by revealing why she chose to write about the five-year period in which she lost her brother, cousin, and three friends. Ward transforms the parrot’s scream into a lyrical howl for a forgotten people in a forsaken state. Ward's mother was a housekeeper for wealthy families on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; her father a dreamer and philanderer. After learning of Ward’s...