Posts by: Sam Metz

Travel Writing as Artifact

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At the Public Domain Review, Nandini Das revisits The Principle Navigations and argues that the massive folio of travel writings compiled by Richard Hakluyt in 1589 is more than an artifact of British colonialism. It also memorializes, “the elusive traces of those who disappeared, the disappointment of the non-event, the tedium of travel, and the absence of wonder” that characterized the era for many who lived through it.

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The Truth of Brushstrokes or Brushstrokes of Truth?

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Autofiction is in these days. Discussing her first novel Fantasian at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins blog, Larissa Pham unpacks her perspective on inserting autobiographical elements into fiction:

I knew that no matter what I wrote in my novella, given my history of truth-telling, there would be an implication that it was true.

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High Fidelity: Anita Raja on Translation

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The editors at Asymptote Journal certainly couldn’t have expected Elena Ferrante to be outed when they planned their October 2016 issue, which includes Rebecca Falkoff and Stiliana Milkova’s translation of a 2015 speech given by Anita Raja. In “Translation as a Practice of Acceptance,” Raja argues that “to confront translational difficulty with inventiveness does not mean renouncing one’s devotion to the original.”

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Let’s Reinvigorate Death

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Julian Hanna reviews Stefany Anne Goldberg and Morgan Meis’s Dead People at 3:AM Magazine. The book eulogizes twenty-nine people Goldberg and Meis handpicked themselves with short obituaries. Hanna writes that the twenty-nine obituaries all offer, “something lively and curious.” Each is, “an all-night drunken wake, a celebration of whatever it was I managed to contribute to intellectual life during my brief stint among the living.”

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Dreams, Manifestos, and What Times Are Best for Writing

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For Playboy, Alexandra Kleeman (You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine) interviews Colin Winnette. On writing his most recent novel Haints Stay, Winnette says his process was like “spending a year or so in my own private Western.” On his short story “Whereabouts,” also published in Playboy, Winnette tells Kleeman, “I’m always interested in the ways that assuming you have the ‘best intentions’ can really fuck things up.”

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Porn is Complicated

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There’s been a lot of thoughtful criticism on porn, written by women, recently—notably, Katrina Forrester in the New Yorker and Natasha Lennard in The Nation. For Granta, Andrea Stuart choses a unique angle in her own piece on porn, writing a genre-bending essay that can best be described as a reported piece of first-person criticism.

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Sex, Money, and Art Forgery

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“Novels about psychically and sexually burdened paintings have a rich literary pedigree,” writes UNC Professor of Art History Maggie Cao for Public Books. Cao’s essay tackles the subject of forgery, which puts “the intimate, almost magical role that works of art play in people’s emotional and erotic lives” into conversation with modern market forces that have, as of late, transformed art collectors from neurotic worshippers of art to high-tech investors.

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A Death Blow Can Be a Life Blow to Some

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What does it mean to be carried away? To be captured, carried off, liberated? To lose control of oneself? Lerner doesn’t show concern for questions like these. More generally, The Hatred of Poetry takes little interest in the rarities of technique across a poet’s body of work and avoids questions about his or her sense of history.

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How Albert Camus Wrote a French Classic

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Kamel Daoud’s The Mersault Investigation catapulted Albert Camus’s The Stranger into the center of conversation in many literary circles. After helping get Camus’s Algerian Chronicles published in English in 2013, Alice Kaplan’s latest effort, Looking For The Stranger, explains how the book came to be.

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Photography and What It Means to Be Anti-Racist

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Photography is often considered “objective”—a technology with the ability to capture people, things and places as they were during one moment in time. The art form has a long history of depicting race powerfully in America, both in disproving difference across racial divides and in evoking emotion and depicting the gravity of tragedy.  

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Revisiting Attica

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If you’ve been reading about the nationwide prisoner strike, perhaps pick up Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water. The recently released nonfiction title returns readers to the Attica Prison riots. It, “reminds one generation, and informs others,” that New York state’s handling of Attica “remains one of the bleakest, if least acknowledged, chapters in New York history” due to it’s unwillingness to reckon with how victims were treated as well as the continual existence of prison conditions in the age of further mass incarceration.

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