Legendary technomodernist William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, talks about his latest book, The Peripheral, predicting the future, and how writing about Silicon Valley today feels like his early work. ...more
This holiday season, give the gift of The Rumpus. We have plenty of holiday gift options for the well-read optimist or literary child in your life, and we're kicking things off with a Black Friday sale! ...more
All that floated there was the mystery. In the presence of all that, I discovered too that there are mysteries residing in the consciousness of my own mind that I don’t want to get out of the way of....more
First, Brandon Hicks allows us a peek into psychological disorders of the animal kingdom, the most elite bars in the world, and more in “Just Some Jokes.”
Then, in the Saturday Interview, our own Arielle Bernstein talks with blogger Josie Pickens about identity, gender, race, and class politics. The “uplifting” influence of readers on social media provides a source of hope during difficult times. Vulnerability, and the implicit disapproval of its expression, has served as motivation for Pickens. But, she admits that she “struggle[s] with titles” like “feminist.” She says, “In my heart I would like to identify as a human writer.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Einstein speaks with her “generous mentor” Kevin Oderman about his travel writing in the Sunday Interview. Oderman points to the conscious acknowledgment of his own otherness when playing the role of tourist. The traveler’s unique powerlessness elicits a sense of wonder. He argues: “…there are few enough places where you can scratch and not find blood, people being what they are.”
It doesn’t seem right to write a novel set in the contemporary that isn’t shot through with all this craziness.
For Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Ben Lerner, MacArthur genius and author of books written by accident that revel in “privileged American self-involvement” and win both awards and the hearts of many.
Martin Kirk writes for Aeon on the paradoxical connection between economic growth and eliminating poverty. Kirk illustrates that increasing the size of the economic pie, by spending the world’s finite resources, with no change in distribution to impoverished populations, will not only not eradicate poverty in the near future, but will only accelerate the depletion of the natural world:
Every forest razed, every armament sold, every industrial pollutant created, even the profits from drugs and prostitution, all register as positive for GDP [the gross domestic product]. And so as we grow, so we destroy. Left unchecked, it can result only in the complete exhaustion of the sources of value, and indeed life, it draws upon.
Friday 11/27: A new free pop-up art school is coming to Portland. home school provides welcoming contexts for critical engagement with contemporary art and its issues. The launch will feature an exhibition of visual works by Victoria Reis, Taj Bourgeois, and poet manuel arturo abreu, who will also provide an amotivational speech. There will be a short improvised talk by Eleanor Ford, a performance poetry duet by Reis and Giovanna Olmos, and a screening of Hamishia Farah’s video work, marginal aesthetics, with closing music by DJ Eric Fury. composition, 7 p.m., free.
Saturday 11/28: Join Reading Frenzy to celebrate the 3rd annual Indies First Day—a national campaign in support of independent bookstores during which they host authors as guest booksellers throughout the day to help sell books, share recommendations, sign books, and more. This year will feature guest authors Delphine Bedient, Joshua James Amberson, Nicole J. Georges, and others. Reading Frenzy, 11 am to 7 p.m., free.
The Strand describes the play as “a light-hearted jazz age story.” Prohibition is under way, and the friends are enjoying an illicit drink. Ruth’s drinking, however, comes under censure from Jim, who asks Francis: “What are our young girls coming to these days? They every one need to be taken by a strong hand,” adding: “I certainly don’t approve of that child chasing all over the known world after a bottle of liquor. It’s disgusting.”
Like the glaciers that cover much of the country, Iceland is covered with thick layers of stories. And like the volcanoes that roil beneath that icy crust, more stories are forming, ready to create a new geography.
The New York Times travel section featured an article about Iceland’s culture of storytelling, Reykjavik’s literary scene, and the Icelandic people’s singular language.
Literature that is unforgettable incites a dialogue at the very least, and a conversation at its best. Novels can serve as responses to pre-existing literature. Some of the best pieces of literature are works of thinly disguised fanfiction, re-imaginings and interpretations of stories posing as new ideas. Without fanfiction, would we have movies such as Clueless or West Side Story? Without fanfiction, there would be no Wide Sargasso Sea or The Hours. Fanfiction is simply another aspect of literature, an institution that can train readers to become writers.
I wouldn’t be a songwriter if it wasn’t for the books I read as a kid. … When you can escape into a book it trains your imagination to think big and to think that more can exist than what you see.
Taylor Swift doesn’t just sing about books (You know the words: “Here I am an open book … Baby you hold the key to the diary of me …”). She donates books, too. Electric Literature writes that the singer and songwriter has donated 25,000 books to twenty-five New York City schools as part of Scholastic’s “Open a World of Possible” initiative. Sweet!
It’s long past time to explode some myths about Indigenous Peoples, whites and Thanksgiving. For many of us in the US, Thanksgiving has become a day to reunite with friends and family, watch football and gorge ourselves on an enormous feast. Giving thanks has taken a back seat and the truth about the massacres and sacrifices of Indigenous Peoples has been almost entirely erased. This Thanksgiving season, take a little time to learn the real history of the holiday and an accurate history of our Indigenous Peoples. Let us consider their efforts to shine a light on how the current version of the holiday demeans and diminishes them. If you want to keep celebrating the holiday and enjoying the meal, how about shifting the focus to celebrating Indigenous Peoples? What if we made the fourth Thursday in November a day to celebrate Indigenous Peoples instead of continuing myths about the whites who came and massacred them? Instead of ignoring genocide? This year, serve a little scoop of truth with your pumpkin pie. (more…)
Thanksgiving week is a slow time for notable events, but what we’ve got is as good as pecan pie! Happy holiday!
Wednesday 11/25: Lunada Literary Lounge, the monthly full moon bi-lingual reading and open mic at Galeria de la Raza in the Mission District presents poet Suzana Huerta and harpist María José Montijo plus ten five minute open mic performances. $5, 7:30 p.m., Galleria de la Raza.