Monthly Archives:: April 2014
After Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was banned by an Idaho school district, a crowdsourced funding effort bought a book for every kid in the local junior high school. Nearly all of the books were given away to students, reports Death and Taxes, but not before overly concerned parents called local police....more
– Brian Spears
Author’s note: I wrote this poem about five years ago when my relationship with my father was strained....more
The 1968 Stony Brook World Poetry Conference brought together more than 100 poets of varying styles and personalities. After a boozy weekend, at the farewell party, emotions (and presumably alcohol) spilled over into a massive brawl. Writing for the New York Review of Books, Charles Simic describes the surreal scene:
As soon as the fight started, Allen Ginsberg went down on his knees and began chanting some Buddhist prayer for peace and harmony among all living creatures, which not only distracted those fighting, but also startled a few puzzled couples who had discreetly retreated into the bushes during the party and were now returning in a hurry with their clothes in disarray.
The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Josiane Curtis. Here’s an excerpt:
I imagined that sometime down the road, a teenager might appear at my door wanting to know why she smiled crooked or threw her head back when she laughed.
What’s the difference between an essay and a novel? Teju Cole considered that question in his 2012 essay, “The White Savior Industrial Complex,” writing that essays have points, while novels do not.
While Cole continues to stand by this essay, he admits that there are exceptions to this rule....more
While their politics and art were radical and dangerous for their time, the Beat Generation’s views toward women were not that much different than those of the man in the grey flannel suit they rebelled against. Women played an important role in the Beat community, as girlfriends and lovers but also as vital supporters of the artists—they took jobs to put food on the table, cooked, cleaned, typed and otherwise made it possible for the men to create.
The Gabriel García Márquez accolades continue to roll in—over at The Paris Review, the complete text of Silvana Paternostro’s oral biography of Márquez is available. It’s full of enlightening tidbits from the author’s friends and family, like:
GUILLERMO ANGULO: His greatest inspiration was his grandmother.
City of Eternal Spring
My mind rises up as the silos of interchanges,
streams, passages of myself in floating layers
so nothing can connect, and I dream emptiness
on ships sailing to new places for new names,
this ship my hands cupped in front of me,
a beggar’s bowl, a scooped out moon, a mouth
opened to make noiseless screams, to arrange,
to begin, to break through to stop my arrogance,
believing what I touch, see, feel, hear, taste make
a case for being alive, so I can stop believing what
happens when a caterpillar dreams itself beautiful.
Is it possible to read War and Peace on an iPhone? In the Pacific Standard, Casey Cepp considers whether apps can actually help us become better, more thoughtful readers:
This literary diet will not be for everyone. But the emancipation of digital reading habits, like those of the printed book before them, allows us to choose the way we read.
Literary history has two sides, I think. One is the normative side: deciding what is good and what is less good. The other is the explanatory side. It’s two very different modalities of thought, and I’ve always been inclined toward the explanatory.
This past week was National Library Week! Still imagine all librarians as the curmudgeonly figures you encountered in elementary school? Think again. Slate has a photo project representing the diversity of librarians—showcasing their personalities, appearances, and many vast fields of study....more
Independent booksellers face plenty of competition from national chains and the Internet, but a new kind of hybrid store might offer a model that Amazon can never replicate: bookstore bars. Niamh Ni Mahoileoin writes over at ZY that successful bar-bookstores tap into their local communities, becoming partners in neighborhood life:
Events are also essential to the bookstore bar model, establishing them as vibrant community spaces rather than straight retail operations.
I write for many of the same reasons that I wanted to become a priest. I want to bear witness to a sacramental vision. I want to admit my life as a sinner. Rather than judge others, I want to use empathy to sketch their imperfect lives on the page, and find the God that I know resides within them.
★★★★★ (4 out of 5)
Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of everything in the world. Today I am reviewing fur....more