Posts by: Charley Locke

A Visual Guide for “How to Be Perfect”

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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.”

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New Year, New Reading List

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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.

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2015, Year of the Badass Woman?

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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.

Ijeoma Oluo, Naomi Yang, Eudora Welty—these women are creative and powerful and assertive, yes, but should we call them “badass”?

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A Vending Machine of Cold, Refreshing Short Stories

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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.

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How to Get More Lit By Cuban Authors on US Campuses

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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.

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Nancy Drew, Girl Detective and Mentally Unstable Shape-Shifter

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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.

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Three Hundred Pages of Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin Porn

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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.

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The Lobster, or a Critique of Circe’s New Dating App

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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.

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Kloss, Kish, and the Great White Whale

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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.

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The National Book of America, According to Borges

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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.

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I’ll Have an Everlasting Gobstopper With My Big Mac, Please

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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.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates, Comic Book Nerd

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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.

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Humpty Dumpty, the Original Mansplainer

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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.

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Valeria Luiselli’s Book Club at the Jumex Factory

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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.

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Mary Karr, Queen of the Memoir, on that “Low-Rent Form”

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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.

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