The last painting Frida painted in her life was watermelons, and at the end of his life, Diego also painted watermelons. I always thought that was beautiful: this green fruit that opens up, the pulp, the flesh, the blood, these black seeds.
Posts by: Charley Locke
Count among your true friends people of various stations of life.
Do not exclaim, “Isn’t technology wonderful!”
Learn how to whistle at earsplitting volume.
Still hunting for a good New Year’s resolution? No worries! Over at the Paris Review, Rumpus illustrator Jason Novak has endeavored to help you out with some visual inspiration, taking a pen and a sketchpad to Ron Padgett’s poem “How to Be Perfect.”...more
When Esquire released a list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read,” the magazine provoked ire and excoriation. But hey, at least Esquire has recognized its mistake. For its new list of “80 Books Every Person Should Read,” the magazine consulted women readers who know what they’re talking about, from authors like Lauren Groff and Sloane Crosley to book critics like Camille Perri and Michiko Kakutani to one of the baddest feminists out there, Roxane Gay....more
It was like being marched through someone’s private idea of a perfect night, a night where I was the center but one that had curiously little to do with me at all—all of which is to say that in an equation of desire, the object of desire can be integral and incidental at the same time.
Holland isn’t the only Northern European country with unusual Christmas traditions. Icelanders pride themselves on being a nation of readers—93% of residents read at least one book a year, and one in ten publishes one in his or her lifetime....more
As it’s most commonly used, badass implies both toughness and disaffectedness. It’s rare to look at someone whose chief qualities are measured thoughtfulness and open emotionality and declare her a total badass.
Fifty years ago, a kid named Haruki Murakami borrowed books from his school library in Kobe, Japan. This week, the Kobe Shimbun, a local paper, published a list of the books he checked out, as compiled on book checkout slips—and Japanese librarians are up in arms, accusing the paper of violating Murakami’s right to privacy....more
Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting [my book list] with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.
Have you read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read”?...more
With a very few exceptions, everything in the book was written by someone in his or her 30s. Nowadays that seems to be the age at which many writers come into their own. The moment when they have something to say and the tools to say it.
Are you wandering the plazas of Grenoble, France, looking to spend a few minutes immersed in a story? But unfortunately, you left your Flannery O’Connor novel in the hotel room? No worries—Short Édition has your back. Er, your book. 24 hours a day, the publisher’s new vending machines offer up six hundred short stories, selectable in a unit of one, three, or five minute lengths....more
Taylor Swift, Cole Porter, Joni Mitchell, Mumford and Sons—they’ve all got a surprising musical forefather in the Bard of Avon. Looking for more literary musical references of the week? Check out the favorite tracks of Man Booker prize-winning author Marlon James over at the BBC....more
It’s a bear to try to get contemporary Cuban literature, especially by women.
To remedy the dearth of books written by female Cuban authors on American campuses, Sara Cooper, a professor of Spanish and multicultural and gender studies at Chico State University in California, decided she’d have to do it herself....more
Punning surprises us by flouting the law of nature which pretends that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
Where does the pun come from? And why does it prompt ubiquitous eye-rolls? Dive into the history of the “comical frolic” over at JSTOR....more
It’s the literary equivalent of a lost Beatles track.
In 1942, Dylan Thomas published a poem in Lilliput magazine. Shortly thereafter, the magazine went defunct, and its archives were acquired by “the late porn baron Paul Raymond.” Today, the poem will be unveiled to the public for the first time in seventy years....more
When you’re 15 and a reject, you’re looking for communion, even if you would never admit it. I wanted a painting of myself, but I got a mirror instead.
Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, on his intimate relationship with the Smiths’s “I Know It’s Over.”...more
Sophisticated potentates/misrepresenting Emirates.
That couplet may not win any Griffins or Pushcarts, but it could keep the hackers at bay. According to USC computational linguists and their “Poetry Method” of password protection, Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams may have found a second calling as cybersecurity aides....more
In her many faces, the detective has always been both infinite and infinitely replicable, a paper-doll chain folded easily into a single entity, or expanded accordion-style into a string of captivating almost-duplicates.
To become a top-rate teenage sleuth, you’ve got to prioritize: skip the movies and stick to the Morse Code manuals, no matter how nicely Ned Nickerson asks to take you to the drive-in....more
Over at the New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz takes aim at beloved transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau for being a humorless hypocrite, abstinence booster, and uninformed impugner of innocent jam-makers:
The man who emerges in “Walden” is far closer in spirit to Ayn Rand: suspicious of government, fanatical about individualism, egotistical, élitist, convinced that other people lead pathetic lives yet categorically opposed to helping them.
In a world where no romantic attachment meant you were turned into an animal, which creature would your lonely self choose?
Francine Prose, author of Bullyville, Blue Angels, and many others, writes about the strange, wholly imagined parallel worlds of Yorgos Lanthimos, whose new movie The Lobster premiered at the New York Film Festival in August....more
After having written 800 pages on torture, rape, world war, and genocide, it was time to take on some really controversial topics like fused participles, dangling modifiers, and the serial comma.
Over at the Guardian, Steven Pinker defends his choice to fight the good fight against solecisms....more
The West for me is a haunted place. There are these mythic ghosts everywhere you go. I don’t know of a region that buys its own bullshit more so than the American West does.
Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake aside, it’s hard to imagine a more mutualistic artist-writer pair than Robert Kloss and Matt Kish. (The Rumpus also recommends the duo of Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg.) Kloss and Kish (who also illustrated every page of Moby Dick) have never met, but they still manage to talk about landscapes conducive to writing myths, their new book The Revelator, and the formidable undertaking of reading all of Melville’s writing....more
The English tend to be reserved, reticent, but Shakespeare flows like a great river, he abounds in hyperbole and metaphor—he’s the complete opposite of an English person. Or, in Goethe’s case, we have the Germans who are easily roused to fanaticism but Goethe turns out to be the very opposite—a tolerant man… It’s as if each country looks for a form of antidote in the author it chooses.
Young British bibliophiles may have found the Golden Ticket. In a six-week campaign backed by the National Literacy Trust (NLT), McDonald’s will offer chapters from Roald Dahl’s books with its Happy Meals. The Rumpus would choose Matilda over a Lego toy any day—especially when 15.4% of British kids don’t have a book of their own, according to the NLT....more
Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” Between the World and Me, and, most recently, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” will continue highlighting the societal problems faced by young African-American men in his new work this spring—through the perspective of Marvel superhero Black Panther....more
I can explain all the poems that were ever invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented yet.
No, that’s not the obnoxious guy from your Wallace Stevens seminar—that’s Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, explaining “Jabberwocky” to Alice. Let Evan Kindley take you down the rabbit hole of literary annotation over at The New Republic—and for a contemporary examples, check out Margaret Atwood’s Genius annotation of an excerpt from her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last, at Lit Hub, or this excerpt from Scott Blackwood’s See How Small right here on The Rumpus....more
To write her new novel, The Story of My Teeth, Valeria Luiselli got ongoing book club feedback from workers at the Jumex factory featured in the novel. Over at Broadly, Luiselli talks to Lauren Oyler about her process, a childhood spent moving, and how to use—rather than abuse—the personal in essays:
I think that maybe there is too much emphasis on voice, especially when writing personal essays, and less care [with] a gaze, a way of saying.
I stopped putting things in quotation marks because I really wanted the reader to continue to understand or believe or think that he or she was in my head.
Listen up as Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit, talks to NPR’s Terry Gross about the art of memoir, the purpose of prayer, and the ambitions she and David Foster Wallace shared....more