Though male politicians (Hillary’s husband included), seem to overcome scandals, to remake themselves with much more ease, we hold our female politicians, including Hillary, to a different standard....more
After five years, seven months, and eighteen days at The Rumpus, Ted Wilson Reviews the World is coming to an end. Then it’s immediately coming to a beginning when it begins appearing each week at Electric Literature, starting today.
In Episode 10 of The Rumpus Late Nite Poetry Show, poet Nicky Beer chats about her new collection, The Octopus Game, turning subject matter into art, and how we're all just shape-shifting actors trying to get through the day. ...more
I’d propose that we learn better ways of speaking up for and protecting that space, that valley; that we prescribe uselessness as a core nutrient, one we’d surely wilt without. That we write with very fierce love....more
Whether you’re singing, dancing, or making out with Spiderman, there’s something different about doing things in the rain. In an excerpt from her book Rain: A Cultural and National History published at Salon, Cynthia Barnett analyzes rain as a narrative device:
Rain is such a compelling literary and cinematic trope that it’s easily and often overdeployed, as many critics have mirthfully pointed out. Rain can be avant-garde in a Beckett play and embarrassingly melodramatic in a romance novel—or when the rain machine gushes a bit too obviously in film.
Over at Texas Monthly, Jeff Salamon chats with Attica Locke, mystery novelist, unassuming Houstonian, and Hollywood titan. They touch on code-switching, freelancing, and writing the gun scenes “all wrong”:
Black people have seen two versions of ourselves on TV: we are either the third thug on the left in the police lineup on a Law and Order episode or we’re some kind of angel maid who is there to fix some white person’s life. Either a demon or an angel. And neither of those are human. So a show with characters who are flawed, who live in that gray area in the middle that is humanity? Black people have been waiting to see that.
I submit my stories less often now; I write them slower, I’m more selective about where I send my work, and I’m not nearly as impatient to published as I used to be. But the persistent writer, the one who keeps trying us again and again, is a good thing. A new story to us once every six months, or year, or two years, whatever the pace might be that suits you, is good. Not just for us, but for other literary magazines as well. And, good for the writer.
“For every rational line or forthright statement there are leagues of senseless cacophony, verbal nonsense, and incoherency.” No, that’s not Jonathan Franzen grumbling about the Internet—it’s a line from “The Library of Babel,” a short story written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1941. The story describes a library containing every 410-page book that ever has been, or could be, written, a project which writer Jonathan Basile has undertaken online. Basile writes of his digital infinite library,
If completed, it would contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters, including lower case letters, space, comma, and period. Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be – including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on.
We have a new Monthly Book Report coming out on Tuesday! If you haven’t already subscribed, today is the day. You don’t want to miss our roundup of the stellar fiction, nonfiction, and poetry reviews that went up on the site this month—plus, we throw in a Rumpus Original Fiction story for good measure. Sign up now!
First, the wonderful “My Poem,” by Grant Snider, personifies the act of creative writing. And Brandon Hicks’s latest comic, “The Drunk,” offers a whimsical look at the road to political success in America.
Then, the Saturday Essay picks up where Hicks left off. Kurt Baumeister considers whether the current popularity of fictitious female heads of state translates to the real world. Television presidents like those in Veep and House of Cards generate plenty of interest. But “[t]he real question,” Baumeister argues, “is whether this is tabloid interest or real interest, the sort that can propel a woman to the presidency, the sort of devotion that helped elect Barack Obama.” (more…)
Reading Literary Twitter is to witness brief, terse glimpses into the writerly psyche, and how insecure and unsure and thin-skinned we tend to be. As writers, we want to be validated. We want to matter. The published stories and poems and essays, the books we sell, the magazines we edit: all this output, this paper expelled out to the world, the screens we invade with our narratives, it all matters to us. But does it matter to everyone else?
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is driven by the search and discovery of Kurtz, the man turned mad by Africa. Kurtz is the pale white colonizer who rapes the continent, is also worshiped by the native population, and provides fodder for an endless stream of undergraduate English papers. However, there remains the question of whether Kurtz was modeled on a real life doppelgänger. Slate looks at some recent scholarship exploring the possibilities of the origins of Kurtz:
Rarely is there a single model for a complex literary character, and writers often aren’t even fully aware of their inspirations. What Marlow notes of Kurtz’s background might have been true of Conrad’s literary creation: “All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz.” Maybe there was some Samoa in there, too.