The Alt Lit community brought together a disparate group of writers and poets from the sorts of backgrounds often ignored by mainstream literary fiction, leveraging the Internet and building a loyal and dedicated following. Then this fall, allegations of a history of rape, sexual abuse, and misogyny within the community exploded across the Internet....more
Posts Tagged: Flavorwire
This past week has seen an outpouring of poetry responding to the disappointment, violence, and trauma spurred by the Ferguson decision. Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon challenges the notion that poetry written in response to political events is somehow less legitimate than art of any other kind:
Over the years, I’ve heard countless complaints about “political poetry” written in the wake of announcements of war or plainly racist explosions of state violence, like what we’re witnessing in Ferguson and the greater US right now.
In the wake of So This Is Permanence, a recently released archive of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’s notebooks, Jillian Mapes reflects on why artists’ scribblings mean so much to fans:
“It’s a human reaction to see handwritten things, as opposed to typewritten things, as being quite intimate,” Savage tells me.
At Flavorwire, Jonathan Sturgeon continues the “literary” and “genre” war, offering a new perspective grounded in the marketplace:
So what’s really going on here? Well, it isn’t the genre of prose that has literary novelists anxious. It’s the market status of genre novels.
Laurie Penny, journalist and author of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, talks to Flavorwire about feminism, Ferguson, and the harassment of female journalists online:
The fact that there’s an enormous backlash against women’s liberation online doesn’t mean that the Internet is a bad place for women — quite the opposite, in fact.
Feminists and transphobic conservatives have found common ground in attacking Lena Dunham after the publication of her memoir revealed that her seven-year-old self had been curious about her sister’s vagina. Dunham creates trigger art, explains Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire, intentionally igniting sensitive subjects....more
If our current understanding of Beckett’s “fail better” command implies eventual success, what of failure whose endgame is really just failure? Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon makes a case for the value of failure itself (future success optional):
When a friend shows you her rejection letter, especially one that details precisely why her manuscript was denied, she seems to have uncovered a truth about herself, her society, her would-have-been publisher.
We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.
Jane Austen has been blowing up these days, with hundreds of fan-fictional responses to Pride and Prejudice gracing the dusty corners of bookstores and the Internet. Over at Flavorwire, Sarah Seltzer wonders why we’re still so eager to return to Pemberley:
Because Austen doesn’t overload us with sensory details about her characters, but merely depicts them walking around in the world, talking, judging, and making mistakes, we project a lot of our own experience and imagination into our reading, and this makes us feel personally acquainted with them.
Literary criticism suffers from elitism, claims Elisabeth Donnelly over at Flavorwire, and the solution is introducing a poptimism revolution. The term poptimism originated in the music world as a reaction to stodgy music reviewers’ love of Bob Dylan and “argues for a more inclusive view of what matters and what’s pleasurable in music.” Donnelly insists that book reviewers and literary culture could stand to benefit from a wider audience by embracing popular books....more
Adam Sternbergh, author of Dystopian novel Shovel Ready, asked whether readers are burning out on the Dystopian novel. He goes as far as suggesting that perhaps the next great novel will be a Utopian one. Emily Temple, writing at Flavorwire, explains why Utopias don’t make good novel settings:
The reason that utopian novels are far and few between is that a utopia is, on a very basic level, just not a good topic for a novel.
Having realized the rights to three unpublished Salinger stories were unclaimed, small publisher Devault-Graves set about purchasing them. The stories were published earlier this week. But despite the fun of having a little more Salinger to read, some are unhappy with how the stories were released:
They’re more innocent, more trusting, but ultimately, and unfortunately, they’re not all that much to write home about.
The continuing battle between Amazon and Hachette was the focus of a panel discussion hosted by the New York Public Library last week featuring novelist James Patterson, publisher Morgan Entrekin, literary agent Tina Bennett, and several political theorists. Jason Diamond has a writeup at Flavorwire:
The takeaway from the event was this: the trouble Amazon causes the book industry is but a symptom of a larger and dangerous illness (there’s also the company’s well-documented poor treatment of its employees, for instance) and it leaves you wondering what comes after books.
In a recently tweeted series of amateur photos, artist and writer Szilvia Molnar satirizes the figure of the cool male writer so often conveyed in author portraits by the presence of a cigarette. Having noticed a discrepancy between the portrayal of Karl Ove Knausgaard and Zadie Smith in promotional photos for a publishing event, Molnar took it upon herself to reveal the manufactured ridiculousness of the serious cool-guy image with selfies that can’t possibly be taken seriously....more
A “total Nathaniel P.” describes a certain kind of male literary intellectual, the opposite of the finance crowd who coined the phrase an insult. But among people who have actually read Adelle Waldman’s novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Nate Piven earns a lot of sympathy in spite of his disagreeable demeanor....more
While I can’t really comment on whether she’s from Krypton or offer any definitive knowledge of her sleep habits, as somebody who has read Gay’s work for a few years now, the thing I’ve always found interesting about it is that she can straddle the line between being a “writer’s writer” (a term I mostly detest, but one that does adequately sum up the sort of writer whose dedication to the craft earns them just as many devoted followers as readers) and one who is able to get a wider audience to pay attention and react in some way to her words.
An article published in Flavorwire hails Cheryl Strayed (Rumpus’ very own Sugar) as a publishing hero. In Jason Diamond’s words, “Strayed is the rare type of writer who is both critically and commercially embraced, but also keeps her feet firmly planted in the literary world.” But how did this come to be?...more
A closer look at the literary map of the 50 states reveals that even if the publishing industry writ large is situated in New York and Los Angeles, some of the most exciting things going on in American literature are taking place in the middle of the country.
Although plenty of critics and academics have done a wonderful job reinterpreting what it means to be “the canon,” there are still many readers in the US who, consciously or subconsciously, believe that men have contributed most of what we know to be literature.
Flavorwire’s Jason Diamond has compiled a list of fifty books that defined the past five years of literature.
From the universally acclaimed (Wolf Hall) to the controversial (what purpose did i serve in your life), from the literary heavyweights (Tenth of December) to the pop-culture juggernauts (The Hunger Games), these books “show what is great about literature here and now.”
We’re psyched to see that the list includes Wild by our Dear Sugar columnist Cheryl Strayed, Ayiti by our essays editor Roxane Gay, When the Only Light is Fire by Rumpus pal Saeed Jones, and a host of other books by Rumpus interviewees, book-club authors, and friends....more
The silver lining of the publishing industry’s turmoil is that independent small presses are increasingly able to bring readers unique and fascinating books.
Flavorwire’s Jason Diamond has collected twenty-five of the presses doing the risky but essential work bigger publishers are often too afraid to do....more
In “honor” of David Gilmour’s comments to a Hazlitt interviewer about how he refused to teach books by female authors, Rumpus contributor Michelle Dean rounded up some other literary men’s contributions to the field of misogyny.
From Hemingway blaming all men’s problems on women’s diseased brains to T....more
In a post titled “The New Golden Age of Online Book Clubs,” Flavorwire shouts out the Rumpus Book Club as one of many sites using new technology to recreate the age-old pleasure of talking about books.
(For an example of the joys of our book club, see today’s chat with Matthew Specktor, whose novel American Dream Machine book club subscribers got to read before it came out in bookstores.)
Thanks, Flavorwire, we love you back!...more
The Paris Review just celebrated its sixtieth birthday—and not a gray hair in sight!
But many game-changing, sterling-quality literary magazines didn’t make it to that ripe old(ish) age.
At Flavorwire, Jason Diamond rounds up some of the Paris Review‘s most promising peers and their untimely deaths....more