Posts by: Kyle Williams

Poem of the Day: “Sound & Fury” by Claudia Rankine

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Claudia Rankine is an oracle. Her poetry is beautiful, interrogative, and inventive, as seen in Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and Citizen (the American lyric we need for a path forward). Her consideration and public consciousness is nothing less than illuminating, and necessary in these dire times mercilessly lacking in empathy.

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Poem of the Day: “Burial Practice” by Srikanth Reddy

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Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors, from which this poem is from, came out in 2004; it has beautiful and inventive poems which Reddy has continued to produce since then in books like Voyager (which is a book of erasure made from Kurt Waldheim’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm).

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Poem of the Day: “An American Poem” by Eileen Myles

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Eileen Myles has been a badass writer for a while now; she tears down what needs be torn down, unapologetically, and fosters a communal feeling, inspiring others to do the same. During the time this poem was published in Not Me, Myles famously ran for president in a write-in campaign—and for many, Maggie Nelson among them, Myles is absolutely our president.

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Poem of the Day: “At Night the States” by Alice Notley

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“At Night the States” is a famous poem that, whether you have or haven’t heard it before, strikes you over the head repeatedly. Formally inventive without any loss in the depth of its feeling, Notley transcends the genre of elegy to an expression of grief that might register unmediated: it is a present poem, an immediate poem, an inconsolable poem.

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Poem of the Day: “What Kind of Times Are These” by Adrienne Rich

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This year saw Adrienne Rich’s poems released into a collected edition by Norton, and some really great new articles written about her. Though she passed away in 2012, it’s safe to say that she remains a presence, will always remain a presence, in American writing.

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Poem of the Day: “Social Skills Training” by Solmaz Sharif

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Solmaz Sharif’s poems show an extremely agile and adept blending of the personal and the political such that they cannot be pulled apart. Because they cannot be pulled apart. Her first book, Look, published by Graywolf, is one of this year’s most exciting new collections: it bleeds language for what it’s done to us and what we’ve done to it, to each other.

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Miserable Lives, All Lit by the Neon Glow

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At Harper’s Bazaar, Jason Diamond revisits the literary brat pack in the harsh morning light of thirty years later, examining their histories (real and really sensationalized) in hope of moving towards a new understanding of Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, Tama Janowitz, Donna Tartt, and Jill Eisenstadt—a more balanced understanding, of adults who are ready to settle down.

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World Scheduled to End This Weekend

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And it’s funny—people bring up the fact that Black Wave starts out as memoir and turns into fiction, but… isn’t that what fiction is?

Over at BOMB, Sara Jaffe sat down with Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave, to talk about her work as a memoirist and a fiction writer, the forces of the real and productive ambivalence, and the magic of parenthood.

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Into Paradox

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Peter E. Gordon writes about Søren Kierkegaard’s legacy through the lens of Daphne Hampson’s biography, Kierkegaard: Exposition and Critique, which she dedicates to S.K. for helping her grasp “with greater clarity why I should not wish to be Christian.”

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The Geography of Rock Bottom

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Like, your life is falling apart and shit is pretty fucked up and you come to the conclusion that if you just split town you could chill out and be normal again.

At BuzzFeed, Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave, gives us a walking tour of LA in accordance with the places she hit rock bottom most spectacularly—a strip club, a highway ramp, etc.—and what they look like to her now that she is sober, forty-five, and no longer codependent with her ex-boyfriend.

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All That Is Suggested of Trauma

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At the New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates writes about Shirley Jackson through her seminal story “The Lottery,” her contemporaneous public perception via hate mail, the figure of her presented in literary biographies, the self she expressed in essays and works of memoir, her marriage made in hell, her abuse of powerful psychotropic drugs—amounting to a wonderfully haunting literary presence in the American Canon.

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A Terrible Question with No Satisfactory Answer

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For better or worse, poetry is now the only thing he likes to do. Even with the crying and the hopeless odds.

Over at The Point, O.T. Marod writes about the crippling existential despair inherent in the question, “How should a poet make money?”—and a certain poet’s journey in a 2002 Toyota Camry inching along in Chicago traffic (towards?/away?/in the general vicinity of?/not even close to?) an answer.

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Arendt on Trump

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Evil is not one man, but rather the process of normalization via which exclusion, deportation, and finally extermination are all rendered morally justifiable.

At Lit Hub, Rafia Zakaria writes an essay about Donald Trump’s rampant Islamophobia and how it can be read as emblematic of the evil Hannah Arendt theorized about in Eichmann in Jerusalum.

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Like a Phoenix or a Unicorn

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At the Times Literary SupplementEdmund Gordon shares an excerpt of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography, about Angela Carter’s time in Japan: the vertigo-inducing flight, what she loved and loathed in Tokyo, her affair with Sozo Araki, her creative process and anxiety towards the composition of The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.

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In This Hell Here With You

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When people call other people crazy I don’t get mad, I get bored. When people tell me ghosts don’t exist, I just get bored.

Over at JSTOR Daily, poet Dorothea Lasky writes about The Imagination, “a physical space that one shares with other people in and through poetry,” the palpable materiality of alternative existences (like the spiritual realm of ghosts), and the will to believe.

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Always Neglected

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You may see life all over the place. You may guess at things that are dying so fast…

Lit Hub shares some really lovely aphorisms written by the great surrealist René Magritte, from the new volume Selected Writings out from University of Minnesota Press, including thoughts on poetry, the workings of representations and objects, revolt, and painting.

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Stylistically Tortuous

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If you can grope your way through late James, you’ll find you have moved out of the Victorian era into the modern and, beyond that, into what we have come to refer to as the postmodern.

Over at the Smart Set, Paula Marantz Cohen makes the argument that the difficult, late-period Henry James was “too modern to be a modernist,” that the stylized difficulty, themes, and indeterminacy make James’s late period one of proto-postmodernism.

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Foundations of Obscure Humanity

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If the very rich were to admit that the society in which they live such lush lives is not only immoral but unnatural, it might demand, say, a massive redistribution of their wealth!

Over at Lit Hub, Colette Shade writes about Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth as an indictment of income inequality in Gilded Age America—distressingly relevant to our own age, despite the book sitting at 116 years old.

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A Productive Unhappiness

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Why is it that knowing how to remain alone in Paris for a year in a miserable room teaches a man more than a hundred literary salons and forty years’ experience of ‘Parisian life’?

Over at the Paris Review Daily, Alice Kaplan, author of the new biography Looking for the Stranger, writes about Albert Camus’s time in Paris, from the months he spent in a Montmartre hotel room toiling his way through the first draft of The Stranger to his return to report on and fight the German occupation.

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