Posts by: Abigail Bereola
Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones), known for his poems, plays, and for the initiation of the Black Arts Movement, died on January 9th. Though there have been many articles talking about the man as legend, over at The New Yorker, Hilton Als discusses the man as human through the lens of Als’ personal relationships with various members of the Jones family....more
Every day, my friend Laura brightens up my Facebook news feed. A gifted writer and mother of three precocious children, she relays their conversations, poignant moments, and hilarious activities with style and wit. I love her children: the deep thoughtfulness of her son, her daughter’s sass, and the smushy cheeks on her baby.
“My thoughts make cohesive sense to me, yet others sometimes feel that I am contradicting myself or switching positions. What is wrong with me?”
On his website, Matthew Schuler writes about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book where he describes nine contradictory characteristics that are often found in creative people....more
The Atlantic has been hosting a series called “By Heart,” where authors discuss their favorite quotes in literature.
Edwidge Dandicat talks about her immigration experience and chooses a passage from a novel by Patricia Engels, which articulates that “trying to start a life in a strange land is an artistic feat of the highest order, one that ranks with (or perhaps above) our greatest cultural achievements.”
Dandicat says, “This brings art into the realm of what ordinary people do to in order to survive....more
Even without a government shutdown, writers are not usually known to be a happy bunch.
“Writers are too neurotic to ever be happy,” author Connie Willis once said.
It is often necessary for writers to dwell in certain worlds and mindsets in order to get their message onto the page....more
I wonder if that is the case for many of us. Perhaps, in the widespread longing for likable characters, there is this: a desire, through fiction, for contact with what we’ve armored ourselves against in the rest of our lives, a desire to be reminded that it’s possible to open our eyes, to see, to recognize our solitude — and at the same time to not be entirely alone.
Is the wiring of our brains related to how we write as individuals? Joyce Dyer thinks so.
One student in the summer group said she could retain nothing of the substance of her dreams, but only their sensations. What a dream smelled like or tasted like was all that was left to her… [She was], not surprisingly, a poet.
Both of these essays (“You are the Second Person” and “The Worst of White Folks”) are included in his new book, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, published last week....more
On August 5th from 6 to 7 PM, McSweeney’s will be hosting a poetry reading with Matthew Zapruder and Victoria Chang.
It will be held at SPUR on 654 Mission Street in SF. If you’re in the area, you should join them!...more
But Ona Anosike has a different view.
I feel as marginalized in the dominant patriarchal society as I am in the feminist movement… Yes, marriage can be accused of engaging in patriarchy, but it can also be a radical political statement.
Meghan Murphy at xoJane thinks that marriage is a tool of patriarchy. To her, rejecting marriage is the feminist choice.
Marriage has been an institution within which women have suffered abuse, rape, murder and forced reproduction. It’s an institution that guaranteed men a maid and someone to bear and raise their offspring.
“Imagine a life in which you think of other people’s safety and comfort first, before your own. You’re programmed and taught that from the gate. It’s like the opposite of entitlement.”
In light of George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal, drummer and producer Questlove reflects on “pie in the face” moments and what it means for him to live his life as a black man in the United States, despite his celebrity....more
Jesse Eisenberg, known for playing Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, has published a Shouts & Murmurs column at The New Yorker titled “My Mother Explains the Ballet to Me.”
Characterized by one-sided, rapid-fire conversation, the result is a frank, humorous scene of a mother chastising her adult son at the ballet....more
When a book is read, the story is transferred from the writer to the reader. Occasionally, however, the reader is allowed a glimpse into what the author may have been thinking through letters or interviews.
When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, it was primarily meant to be “a satire on the Russian Revolution.” But there was a little more to it than just that....more
Is it that you don’t connect to the characters, or that the writing is weak? Maybe there’s one too many typos or the plot seems implausible.
Goodreads has created an infographic about the most abandoned books (Fifty Shades of Grey is among them) and the reasons for their abandonment based on the book reviews left on their website....more
Sylvia Plath is known as a writer and a poet, but she almost became a visual artist instead. Plath’s daughter, Frieda Hughes, who is also a painter and a poet, has created a book out of more than forty of her mother’s drawings....more
McSweeney’s McMullens has published a new picture book for kids—Lost Sloth by J. Otto Seibold—and they want to celebrate!
Join them on Sunday, July 14th, at the Lost Sloth Pop-Up Kids’ Book Shop at 849 Valencia for family-friendly fun and a huge sloth piñata....more
Since its publication in 1948, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson has become an American classic, appearing in high school classrooms, as well as in the hands and on the computers of people around the nation.
On the 65th anniversary of the publication of “The Lottery,” Ruth Franklin at the New Yorker discusses the 300+ letters, most of them negative, that came pouring in—“the most mail [the New Yorker] had ever received in response to a work of fiction.”
Franklin details some of the angry and bewildered responses from readers, including some amongst the New Yorker’s staff....more
From SB5 in Texas to the Voting Rights Act to the defeat of DOMA, this has been a bittersweet week. But among all of the apprehension and excitement, a few things happened that you may have missed. We don’t usually cover politics too heavily on the Rumpus, but the flurry of judicial activity seems worth a mention....more
According to The Independent, Neil Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, released yesterday, is “possibly Gaiman’s most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet. It’s a tale about childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality.”
Although Gaiman is known for children’s books such as Coraline and the new book is narrated by a seven-year-old, it is not meant for children; in fact, it’s his first adult novel in eight years....more