Posts Tagged: Flavorwire

The Rise and Fall of Alt Lit

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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.

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Healing Words

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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.

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Fail Worse

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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.

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Skewed Standards

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The YA battle rages on at Flavorwire, where Sarah Seltzer responds to Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker essay pondering the effects of supposedly lowbrow children’s lit:

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.

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Pride, Prejudice, Repeat

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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.

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Can Poptimism Save Literary Culture?

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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.

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Peak Dystopia

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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.

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New, Old Salinger Stories

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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.

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The Era of Celebrity Bookselling

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The Colbert Bump helped propel Edan Lepucki‘s California to the third spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Lena Dunham’s endorsement helped sell Adelle Waldman‘s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Celebrity and celebrity endorsements have long played a role in moving products.

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NYPL Hosts Panel on Amazon

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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.

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A Serious Man

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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.

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Marveling At Roxane Gay

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The literary community loves Rumpus Essays Editor Roxanne Gay. She’s prolific, supportive, and a great writer. Jason Diamond, writing over at Flavorwire, explains further:

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.

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The Midwest is the Future of American Literature

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Flavorwire’s Jason Diamond insists that writers can eschew New York City in favor of greener pastures, offering a comprehensive defense of Franzen country:

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.

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Rumpus Writers Help Define Modern Literature

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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 StrayedAyiti by our essays editor Roxane GayWhen the Only Light is Fire by Rumpus pal Saeed Jones, and a host of other books by Rumpus interviewees, book-club authors, and friends.

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Literary Geniuses Say Some Not-So-Genius Things

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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.

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Book Club Love

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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!

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Alas, Poor Transatlantic Review!

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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.

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