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.
Posts by: Charley Locke
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
Those are some deep landscapes of mountains and grape fields and barns and tractors; families gathering at night to have little celebrations in the mountains and aquamarine lakes way down below. So, see, all that is like living in literature every day.
When Christians abandon Christian standards of behavior in the defense of Christianity, when Americans abandon American standards of conduct in the name of America, they inflict harm that would not be in the power of any enemy.
Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, and Lila, writes about how Christianity and exceptionalism have the potential to serve a thoughtful American identity....more
Whether readers are motivated by a hazy Luddism or a nostalgia for the old male-supremacist order of things, there’s no mistaking the potent commercial lure of the “bonnet books.”
Over at The Baffler, Ann Neumann chronicles the strange genre of breathless Amish romance novels—and who, exactly, are their millions of devoted readers....more
In Oliver Sacks’s last published essay, he writes about a patient who underwent surgery to take away his seizures caused by Klüver-Bucy syndrome—and left him with an insatiable appetite: for blocks of cheese, playing the piano, and child pornography. Read Suzanne Koven’s interview with Sacks about hallucinations—his book, and the phenomenon—here....more
The Kenyon Review. Mundo Nuevo. The Paris Review.
Check out whether you’ve been unknowingly colluding with secret agents whilst reading your favorite lit mags. Patrick Iber writes, “The CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War—the closest thing that the US government had to a Ministry of Culture.” (The Rumpus would like to state that we are miffed to be excluded from this list.)...more
Looking for a respite from the modern world? Take a whirl in “Virtual Harlem,” a virtual reality world designed by Bryan Carter, where you can live as avatars like Du Bois, frequenting the Apollo, the Savoy, and maybe even catching Ethel Waters’s debut of “Stormy Weather” at the Cotton Club....more
The Hugo Award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon science fiction, a genre which is (finally) broadening to include a diversity of authors and views. That’s not a good thing, according to many white male writers and fans, who have banded together as the “Sad Puppies” to fight against what they see as affirmative action for women and writers of color who are dominating the nominations for the Hugos....more
Nearly every page of this book is wet with the tears of a pedant.
Nostalgic for the wordplay of the Republican primary debate? Barton Swaim has got you covered in his memoir detailing the three years he spent as a speechwriter for Mark Sanford, who absconded from his life as governor of South Carolina to visit his mistress in Argentina–but not before he mixed metaphors, made up grammatical rules, and invented verbs....more
because I want to not cry because I actually hate crying because none of my tears can offer resurrection none of my poems can offer resurrection none of my image searches can offer resurrection and I want us to stay alive
Khadijah Queen and eleven other young writers of color—Roger Reeves, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Rion Amilcar Scott, Morgan Parker, Kiese Laymon, Danielle Evans, Sarah Labrie, Angela Flournoy, Hope Wabuke, Yahdon Israel, and Metta Sáma—write fiction and nonfiction in reflection on #blacklivesmatter, a year after the death of Michael Brown....more
Shakespeare may have felt anxiety, but he was no worrier.
More from The Economist on how the word entered our lexicon, in a review of Worrying by Francis O’Gorman. O’Gorman, who traces the word’s rise through literary modernism’s focus on the inner world, believes “being a modern worrier is just… the moth-eaten sign of being human.”...more
Such is the paradox of comics: they’re the medium of the marginalized, yet they remain wildly popular. Perhaps that’s because in some way, at some point, everyone will feel marginalized and need a seat at the table in the cafeteria away from the jocks.
In this animated short, Hunter S. Thompson introduces us (and Studs Terkel, his interviewer) to the Oakland Hell’s Angels, who he spent a year with—and who showed him the hard way that they apparently know a lot of karate....more
Why do we keep going to movie adaptations of old classic novels we love? Over at Lit Hub, Sky Friedlander defends the book-to-movie adaptation as bringing new lessons to light for a new set of viewers, writing, “We need to re-tell these stories over and over because each generation sees them in a different way, needs different things from them… Faithfulness to the book is secondary to movement....more
To go with her contribution, Didion had to provide a few sentences about herself. Excavated from the Mademoiselle archives, what she wrote shows a still somewhat green, aspiring writer with a sentimental attachment to home: “Joan spends vacations river-rafting and small-boating in the picture-postcard atmosphere of the Sacramento Valley.” Among her interests, she lists “almost any book every published.”
Over at The New Republic, Laura Marsh reviews The Last Love Song, in which biographer Tracy Daugherty combs through the archives at Mademoiselle, where a 21-year-old Joan Didion worked as an intern....more
[Soccer] games on the radio are absolutely like literature—the metaphors, the pacing, the need for an evolving style. You can’t always say the same thing. The role of the play-by-play announcer seems much more interesting to me than that of the color commentator....more
Get ready for the biggest piece of gossip to hit the Victorian litmag scene in 250 years. Lewis Carroll, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell all wrote anonymously for Charles Dickens’s periodical—but that anonymity may have been short-lived. (Well, sort of.) In a reveal heralded as “the Rosetta Stone of Victorian studies,” a book dealer found a 20-issue set of the magazine with authors’ names inscribed in Dickens’s hand....more
Clothed in the wonderful garment of your prose, they have stood, consoling, by my side under many skies,” Conrad wrote. “I trust that you will consent, by accepting this copy, to augment the precious burden of my gratitude.
UT Austin’s Ransom Center released Project REVEAL, digitizing 25 of its manuscript collections....more
This is a Lasgidi of the mind, representing a meld of many club nights in Lagos and alternate Lagoses through the past decade. It is a cauldron of that vertiginous self-confidence that anyone who knows any Nigerians knows well.
Put down the New Yorker—Teju Cole is here with his selection of Nigerian dance jams, ready to take you clubbing in Lagos....more
Why do we refer to our minds in terms of seas and cartography, anyway? Find out by consulting your sextant and the first online metaphor map. The chart boasts over 14,000 metaphorical connections, sourced from 4,000,000 lexical data points by a few Scottish researchers who now (presumably) have some excellent new phrases for spinning yarns and embroidering thoughts at dinner parties....more