For Brooklyn Magazine, Molly McArdle profiles poet, essayist, and BuzzFeed Literary Editor Saeed Jones. McArdle solicits Jones’s thoughts on diversity in media and describes him as a “literary citizen” for his work with BuzzFeed’s Reader vertical and the Emerging Writers’ Fellowship program....more
Posts by: Sam Metz
This week, the Turkish government has jailed a prominent politician who is referred to fondly as “Kurdish Obama” and shutdown Cumhuriyet, a popular newspaper. Amid these distressing developments, Kaya Genç looks towards books and history in her profile of 20th century Turkish humorist Aziz Nesin at The Millions....more
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....more
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.
When you’re a freelance writer — or any type of freelancer — you make yourself a lot of promises, mostly about getting out of the house and about wearing real, non-pajama clothing. But with no one to hold you accountable, these promises often go unfulfilled.
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.”...more
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.”...more
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.”...more
After Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was ousted and executed by General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, his son Murtaza went into exile and organized a resistance from the UK, Syria, and Afghanistan, where his daughter Fatima Bhutto was born. Bhutto documented her childhood in her 2011 memoir, Songs of Blood and Sword....more
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....more
“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....more
For Hazlitt, Steven Price writes a beautiful elegy to his former editor, Ellen Seligman. Seligman and Price collaborated on Price’s By Gaslight, published in August, five months after Seligman’s passing.
Editing, at its highest level, is surely a creative act.
Leah Mirakhor interviews Homegoing author Yaa Gyasi for the Los Angeles Review of Books. On her novel and Ness, a primary character, Gyasi says:
This novel was an attempt for me to say: We cannot look away when something like this is happening.
Kaitlyn Greenidge, author most recently of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books) provides her take on Lionel Shriver’s recent remarks at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival for the New York Times. Greenidge recalls writing her first novel in which there was an eighty-year-old Yankee heiress....more
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.
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....more
For The New Republic, Suki Kim writes of Lionel Shriver’s remarks in Brisbane, “I had been invited to the Brisbane Writers Festival as a writer, but now I was here, foremost, as an Asian” and how the controversy shifted the theme of the festival from “connection and belonging” to “being a minority in Lionel Shriver’s world....more
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....more
Writers are accustomed to having other jobs and before working at Esquire and Vanity Fair, Lucie Shelly found meaning in the trials and tribulations of being a Whole Foods cashier. Over at Catapult, Shelly writes nostalgically about feeling “needed, productive, and healthy” and her brief fling with a long, flowing-haired, philosophizing butcher....more
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....more