Posts Tagged: Politics
Great strides, great artists, great desires, great complexity—this week’s books are all about these kinds of greats. They also all showcase exceptional writing and take us far and wide—from elective politics to abstract art, from Coney Island to California—to explore great ideas....more
At Electric Literature, Je Banach explores how literary discourse can “break down barriers” in a time of political extremism:
Literary discourse, the active process of carefully considering the words and ideas of others and then speaking thoughtfully and critically about them—let us not confuse the words “critical” and “negative” here—provides a model of thoughtful, considerate, and intelligent action and dialogue that the world needs.
I think it would be a great time for men, basically, to go on vacation.
Eileen Myles is interviewed by the New York Times, touching on poetry’s place in politics, and men’s place in either: open femaleness, memorable lines, and the many acts available to us after our first—short and sweet from poetry’s best....more
In the imagined scenario wherein my apartment burns to the ground and I lose all my worldly possessions, there are just a few things I would miss—family photographs (of course), an old wooden trunk my grandmother reupholstered and that I used to store my toys as a child, and the book, John Black’s Body....more
The rapper has made clear his admiration for the presidential candidate before, but the recent hour-long conversation between Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders is more than a token of mutual respect—the discussion stands on its own right as a compelling dialogue on the state of American politics, what it means to be a radical, and the architecture of racial inequality....more
Comics is a great medium for communicating complex or divisive topics, and so it makes sense that embedded within comics history we can find stories of abortion. Insane as it is that in 2015—forty-two years since Roe v. Wade—politicos are still arguing against a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, here we are....more
Junot Díaz, whose literary portraits of his home country are by turns critical and sympathetic, has been deemed unpatriotic by the Dominican Republic’s consul in New York, Eduardo Selman. After campaigning in Washington for the rights of undocumented immigrants, the author was stripped of an order of merit award presented to him in 2009....more
For Hyperallergic, Allison Meier takes a look at the image management of Louis XIV’s reign as told through the medium of elaborate and intricate medals that traveled across late 17th and early 18th century Europe. On display at the British Museum are the plans, designs, and final versions of these medals celebrating Louis XIV’s reign, as well as medals made in other countries to mock his grandiosity....more
In 2015, to be an influential fiction writer means only to wield influence within a niche audience of people who are already of the same mind…
American political discussion is fond of one-note oversimplification of complex issues. So where do we make room for the nuanced discourse novelists offer?...more
The fictions of literature declare themselves as fictions — they are lies which admit they are lies and are therefore able, at their best, to tell profound truths. The fictions of politics declare themselves as truths and are therefore, often, just lies.
How exactly did Joan Didion go from writing for conservative weekly the National Review to serving as a leading voice for the left? The New Yorker offers an answer:
What changed was her understanding of where dropouts come from, of why people turn into runaways and acidheads and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, why parents abandon their children on highway dividers, why Harlem teen-agers go rampaging through Central Park at night, why middle-class boys form “posses” and prey sexually on young girls—and, above all, why the press fixates on these stories.
Nearly every page of this book is wet with the tears of a pedant.
Nostalgic for the wordplay of the Republican primary debate? Barton Swaim has got you covered in his memoir detailing the three years he spent as a speechwriter for Mark Sanford, who absconded from his life as governor of South Carolina to visit his mistress in Argentina–but not before he mixed metaphors, made up grammatical rules, and invented verbs....more
Fiction written under an authoritarian or totalitarian government often dares readers to view the work as a critique of that society.
In a review of two science fiction works by Cuban authors, Electric Literature takes a look at the surprising connection between oppressive political ideologies and fantastical worlds in fiction....more
In a truly wonderful keynote speech reprinted at Lit Hub, Aminatta Forna tears down the false divide between art and politics:
To tell writers not to tackle political themes because it will spoil the beauty of their work sounds very much to me like telling an attractive woman she is far prettier when she keeps her mouth shut.
A scathing indictment from Jim Dwyer at the New York Times this week accuses city leaders of depriving funding from the library system, and its mayors of holding the NYPL hostage for leverage in budget negotiations. As Dwyer points out, city libraries draw more annual visitors than the museums, sports stadiums, and performing arts institutions combined—and the funding just doesn’t add up....more