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Notable NYC: 10/18–10/24

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Saturday 10/18: Poetry Forum 2014. The New School, 10 a.m., $45 daily / $135 full pass.

Melissa Buckheit reads poetry along with Corollary Press founder Sueyeun Juliette Lee. Berl’s Poetry Shop.

Happy fifth anniversary Greenlight Bookstore. Celebrate all day, party at night.

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The Efficacy of Words

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The truth is that the horror of being eaten outpaces the horror of death by any other means. Microbe, animal, another human: being consumed feels sharper, entirely visceral. But why?

Over at Guernica, Lance Richardson writes on Peter Gorman’s Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming, an ethnographic account of his experiences  in the Amazon.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person.

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On Social Capital and Staying Hidden

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Meander to Hazlitt for Linda Besner’s recent reading of Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Besner’s critique is particularly concerned with the role of anonymity in a new, social-media-dominated landscape:

Social media, in other words, is a gift economy, in which we share information both in the expectation that others will share important information with us and in the hopes of increasing our social capital .

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Fame and Literature, Irreconcilable Enemies

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Reflecting on what might become of Roberto Bolaño, and his fame, John Yargo covers two biographies of the Chilean writer for the Los Angeles Review of Books, noting that these scholars had to “face a unique problem”:

The seductive popular image of [Bolaño]—something like a better-read Burroughs—is at odds with the voice of his fiction and his essays, which tends to be more generous, expansive, and penetrating than his image suggests.

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Slouching Toward Didion

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The Daily Beast takes a look at the history of the female essayist from Didion to Dunham:

From cultural critic Susan Sontag and journalist-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelist (and Dunham’s mentor) Nora Ephron, and on through to the host of talented female essayists writing today, this is clearly a flourishing genre that the following women writers—in my mind some of the best writing today—are very much making their own; as Carol Hanisch famously declared in 1969, the personal is political; if, that is, one’s personal experience is mined eloquently and intelligently enough.

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Song of the Day: “Coronus, The Terminator”

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Four years ago, LA Weekly called Steven Ellison’s music “spiritual electronica.” Today, in the wake of his fifth release, Your Dead!, the artist known as Flying Lotus is still just as difficult to categorize. The experimental producer and beat-making virtuoso is known for creating hard-to-describe musical landscapes in the tradition of predecessors J-Dilla and Madlib.

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The Worst Person in the World

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Simon Rich talks about humor, writing, and writing humor:

I always find something to write about. I mean, you always have some emotion inside of yourself. Sometimes the only emotion you feel is shame or disgust or embarrassment or whatever—it’s not always the sexiest emotion—but as a living, breathing person, you always have something going on inside of your brain and inside of your heart.

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A Blurb of Beauty

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At Book Riot, Amanda Diehl brings an optimistic anecdote to the often-bleak conversation on the value of book blurbs (typically rife with accusations of corporatism, cronyism, and empty praise). If the form can rise to the artistry of Margaret Atwood’s one-line praise for Laline Paul’s The Bees—“[A] gripping Cinderella/Arthurian tale with lush Keatsian adjectives”—perhaps there’s hope for the blurb yet.

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Bringing Literacy to Queens

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Only 20% of children in the neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens, New York, can read at grade level. That number is astoundingly low, but three enterprising young individuals hope to change that through a new non-government organization. They’ve created an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for things like after-school and weekend programs, as well as obtaining their 501(c) non-profit status.

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