Posts by: Brian Spears

Why I Chose Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s Interrupted Geographies for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club

By

I still remember the time many (many) years ago, as an undergrad, when my professor dropped Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and Sir Walter Ralegh’s response on the class and launched into a discussion of the pastoral tradition.

...more

Why I Chose Nikki Wallschlaeger’s Crawlspace for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club

By

I’m always interested in the work of poets who use form in subversive ways, and while it’s true that the sonnet has long ceased to be just a love song, what Nikki Wallschlaeger does with it in her new collection Crawlspace, soon to be released by Bloof Books, is brilliant. 

...more

Why I Chose When I Grow Up I Want To Be a List of Further Possibilities for April’s Poetry Book Club

By

I am drawn to poetry about the difficulties of family, about the pain of feeling one is a disappointment to their parents, about the sense of separation that can come as a result. Chen Chen’s debut collection is filled with work which explores this universe.

...more

Why I Chose Adrian Matejka’s Map to the Stars for March Poetry Book Club

By

It started, as it often does, with a recommendation from a friend, in this case Gabrielle Calvocoressi. She sent me an email saying “You have to look at this book.” I would have anyway, because I’ve been a fan of Adrian Matejka’s work for a long time, and in fact, I wanted his last book, The Big Smoke, for the Poetry Book Club but couldn’t make it happen.

...more

What We’re Reading in December for the Rumpus Book Clubs!

By

2016 quite a year, and the future is looking… interesting. But the Rumpus Book Clubs fight on, choosing books that challenge and delight and inspire month after month. We choose books that haven’t been released yet, which means our members get them before anyone else, and then we get to talk about each book with its author.

...more

September in the Rumpus Book Club

By

This month, The Rumpus Book Club is reading Jade Chang’s debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World, which Jami Attenberg calls her “favorite debut of the year,” and of which Kirkus Reviews writes, “A Chinese-American family tumbles from riches to rags in Chang’s jam-packed, high-energy debut… this debut novelist holds nothing back.”

In our Poetry Book Club, we’re thrilled to read Janice Harrington’s Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H.

...more

Coming to the Rumpus Book Clubs in June

By

The Rumpus Book Clubs have been around for over six years now and they remain unique in a couple of important ways. First, we only feature pre-release books—that is, books that haven’t gone on sale yet, so you’re getting copies before anyone else (sometimes before the authors receive their personal copies!).

...more

Princess Leia: Feminist Hero

By

Star Wars is a bit more pop-culture-y than we tend to do around here, but I can’t help but share this piece from Emily Hauser on why we should stop talking about “Slave Leia” (who’s only in that costume for three minutes) and instead talk about “Leia the Hutt Slayer”:

We’re not the franchise, though.

...more

On Refugees, and Refusing to Be Scared

By

The news that governors are suddenly deciding that they don’t want to welcome Syrian refugees has really driven home to me just how cowardly much of this country is. We talk tough, mind you, but when we’re asked to really open ourselves up to something, we refuse.

...more

7

What’s Coming Up for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club

By

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club is finishing up this month’s book, Reginald Dwayne Betts’s incredible Bastards of the Reagan Era, and getting ready for our online chat with the author (my favorite part of the Rumpus Book Club experience), but I thought it would be nice to showcase what’s coming up in the next few months.

...more

About That Kenny Goldsmith Piece in the New Yorker

By

We ran a blog post earlier today about Alec Wilkinson’s pretty crap piece about Kenny Goldsmith in the New Yorker which we characterized as “refreshingly even-handed.” That description is only accurate if you define even-handed as a several-thousand word tongue-bath in the pages of a huge magazine which both ignored and dismissed many of Goldsmith’s critics.

...more

4

Yellowface in Poetry

By

There’s a storm in the poetry world, this one set off by the bio in Best American Poetry 2015 of Michael Derrick Hudson, who has been publishing under the name Yi-Fen Chou. I’m not here to talk about the poem, or about how (at least) silly the notion of collecting some poems from the previous year and calling them the “best” of anything is.

...more

36

Coming in April from The Rumpus Book Clubs

By

We’re very excited about our selections for April, and we hope that you will be as well. Maybe so excited that if you aren’t a member yet, you’ll become one. (Also, a book club subscription makes a great gift. Seriously.)

On the fiction side, we’ll be reading Julie Iromuanya’s debut novel Mr.

...more

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Ottessa Moshfegh

By

Ottessa Moshfegh talks about her book McGlue, inventing a character from an 1850s newspaper article, and revisiting her work years after she finished writing it. ...more

Up Next in the Rumpus Book Clubs

By

There’s still time to get the December selections if you join either (or both!) the Rumpus Book and Poetry Book Clubs. What makes our book clubs special? Well, our first readers have a terrific track record of selecting truly amazing books, and members get books before anyone else does because we only select books that haven’t been released yet.

...more

The Payton James Freeman Essay Prize

By

We at The Rumpus are proud to be a part of this essay contest. Please take a look at the submission requirements (note the lack of an entry fee!) and let us take a look at your work.

The Freeman Family, the Drake University Department of English and The Rumpus invite you to submit outstanding unpublished non-fiction essays of up to 3500 words on the subject “After the Unhappy Ending”.

...more

The Case for Reparations

By

The latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly  just went live, and the feature story by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a monster. It’s about making the moral case for reparations, but it expands the conversation surrounding this topic in two ways. The first way it does this is by pointing out, in vivid detail, the way that the exploitation and mistreatment of blacks in the US is an inextricable part of our history and that it continues to this present day.

...more

5