Posts Tagged: James Baldwin

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The Rumpus Interview with Russell Banks

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Russell Banks discusses his new book, Voyager: Travel Writings, why we are never free from our history, and how writing saved his life. ...more

Violent Code

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Poet Safiya Sinclair, author of Cannibal, takes part in the Kenyon Review Conversation series with insight into race in America from a Jamaican’s point of view. Living in a white academic bubble in Charlottesville, VA, immersing herself in slavery-era texts and James Baldwin, she describes how she discovered the ways racism is reduced to the symbolic and coded into language—“hidden in plain sight.” “For example:” she says, “Why is the name ‘killer bee’ interchangeable with ‘Africanized bee’?… coded language makes its way into our vernacular, often shielded under the unimpeachable banner of science.”

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The Rumpus Interview with Yaa Gyasi

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Yaa Gyasi discusses her debut novel Homegoing, growing up in Alabama, the multiplicity of black experiences, the legacy of slavery, and her writing process. ...more

by Constance Mensh

Swinging Modern Sounds #72: Urban Pastoral

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It’s like a landscape that you can’t know until you’ve seen it through four seasons, until you’ve seen it on days gray and bright. ...more

Kamden Hilliard

The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Kamden Hilliard

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Survival is not always cute, politically responsible, mature, or sober. Survival is ramshackle, as is tolerance. ...more

Darryl Pinckney

The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Darryl Pinckney

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If your family or your people are looking over your shoulder, change your seat or push them away. Ask them to trust you with the truth. ...more

Baldwin’s Paradoxes and Epithets

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Race was—is—the fundamental American issue, underlying not only all matters of public policy (economic inequality, criminal justice, housing, education) but the very psyche of the nation.

Nathaniel Rich, for the New York Review of Books, writes a loving tribute to and overview of the works of James Baldwin: the intellectual as impossible to be pinned down, writing transcendently about the present.

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Black Memoir

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Memoir, the offspring of the slave narrative, is not simply a form within the Black literary tradition; it has thoroughly shaped that tradition.

With the release of smash hit Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as acclaimed releases Negroland, Twin of Blackness, and Remnants, the black memoir is in a veritable golden age. 

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The Rumpus Interview with Garth Greenwell

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Garth Greenwell discusses his debut novel, What Belongs to You, crossing boundaries, language as defense, and the queer tradition of novel writing that blurs boundaries between fiction and essay and autobiography. ...more

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The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Chaitali Sen

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Swati Khurana talks to the author of The Pathless Sky, a love story centered around place, the state’s authority, statelessness, and geology. ...more

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I’ll Fly Away: Notes on Economy Class Citizenship

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I want to break from a continued and systematic white supremacy so pervasive it is entrenched in the vernacular I use to express myself. ...more

Reading Mixtape feature

Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #1: For White Folks Who Think They Aren’t Racist

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The Rumpus Review of [insert] boy by Danez Smith

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In this sense, the book is a “coming-of-age” story and “spiritual quest” as much as a seething commentary on the catastrophe effected by the disease of contemporary racism and white supremacy. ...more

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The Saturday Rumpus Essay: Bill Cosby’s Faux Legacy

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Bill Cosby was never the man, the icon, the protector and illustrator of black culture, the guide, the genius we have created in our minds. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Daniel Torday

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Dan Torday talks about his novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, the role of fear in fiction, the fabrication of facts in a memoir, and about being “constitutionally unoffendable.” ...more

“The Labor of Reconsideration”

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For the Millions, Philip Graham considers how childhood traumas can inspire art. In his exploration, Graham looks to works by John Gardner, Rabih Alameddine, and James Baldwin, authors who confront “psychic wounds” and use writing as a method of healing:

We writers are used to looking back, locating in our rough drafts any glimmer that might show the way forward.

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Vernon Reid Digs James Baldwin

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At Esquire, sci-fi author Jeff VanderMeer and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid discuss genre fiction, and how one art form can inspire another. Reid says:

Fiction has always evoked pictures and provoked ideas and sounds in my mind. James Baldwin, who was a powerful writer of fiction and non-fiction was a haunted witness of American dysfunction.

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The FBI’s James Baldwin Obsession

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Writing for Publishers Weekly, William J. Maxwell examines the 1,884-page FBI file on James Baldwin—the longest on record—as part of his effort to obtain surveillance information on African American authors through the Freedom of Information Act. Along with reports on literary giants like Lorraine Hansberry and Amiri Baraka, Baldwin’s file reveals a complex relationship between Hoover’s office and the authors, characterized by intermittent respect for the literary work and a healthy fear of the writers’ standing as leaders of the black community.

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A Super Bowl Preview for People Who Don’t Know Football (2015 Edition)

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Like an all-night rager in the apartment upstairs or a crying infant on a red-eye, the Super Bowl is one of those ineluctable public occurrences that’s seemingly impossible to stop and difficult to ignore. ...more

This Week in Short Fiction

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Some story collections drop with fireworks and great fanfare, while others make their entrance, it could be said, on tender feet. The latter is the case with the works of Edith Pearlman, who released her fifth story collection, Honeydew, on Tuesday.

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Turning to Baldwin During Tragedy

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Art has to be a confession. I don’t mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort, it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover, too, the terms with which they are connected to other people.

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The Big Idea #10: Eula Biss

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On Immunity author Eula Biss speaks to Suzanne Koven about mythology, personal freedom, and the history of vaccines. ...more

The Devil Finds Work

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Combining The Exorcist, New Jersey, and James Baldwin, among other things, Nick Ripatrazone reviews William Giraldi’s new novel, Hold the Dark, at The Millions. He contemplates Giraldi’s place in contemporary Catholic literature, using his fiction, alongside Cormac McCarthy’s and Christopher Beha’s, to draw larger claims on religion, the manifestations of Satan, and realism.

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“Let America be America Again”

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In an interview with The New Yorker, Graywolf poet Claudia Rankine discusses Ferguson, James Baldwin, and the experience of invisibility:

“[T]he sort of execution-style shooting takes [Michael Brown’s shooting] to this whole other place that starts approaching the language of lynching, and public lynching, and bodies in the street that people are walking around.”

To review the events in Ferguson, see The Rumpus roundup.

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