Posts Tagged: the new yorker

This Week in Essays

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At The California Sunday Magazine, Brooke Jarvis has a devastating piece about missing persons and family members lost over the border.

For VIDA, Jean Ho shares her discouraging experience at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

And here at The Rumpus, Chellis Ying writes about rock climbing in China, which turned out to be an opportunity for both thrills and connection.

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Sound & Vision #26: Mark Alan Stamaty

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Allyson McCabe talks with Mark Alan Stamaty, a Society of Illustrators four-time medalist, and the author-illustrator of ten books. ...more

Writing by Hand

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There are those who bemoan schools’ decisions to stop teaching cursive, and those who welcome the decision with keyboard in hand. John Oppenheimer, writing for the New Yorker, talks about writing to his daughters at summer camp using cursive, even though they have some trouble deciphering the script and his body isn’t so fond of handwriting:

By the time that I had covered two sides of a small piece of stationery, my letters tended to get sloppier, and my right hand was cramping.

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In Sickness and Friendship and Jane Austen

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Long before Curtis Sittenfeld was a New York Times bestselling author (Eligible), she was friends with Sam Park (This Burns My Heart). And they’re still friends: in an essay for the New Yorker, Sittenfeld chronicles their decades-long platonic romance, from early days collaborating on “50 Most Beautiful Sexiest Men Alive of the Year at Stanford” to dedicating their novels to each other to Park’s diagnosis of Stage III-C stomach cancer in 2014.

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Steering Clear of “McMagic”

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At the New Yorker, an elegant and comprehensive essay by Julie Phillips from a visit with Ursula Le Guin at her home in Portland, Oregon touches on the importance of place, both geographic and imaginative. Phillips writes, “[Le Guin] has always defended the fantastic, by which she means not formulaic fantasy or “McMagic” but the imagination as a subversive force.” She quotes Le Guin: “Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all.”

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Reading in New York

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At the New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz writes about the New York Public Library’s newly renovated Rose Main Reading Room, which was closed for two and half years for restorations. “The room is one of the city’s great public spaces, a shared chamber devoted to private mental endeavors, and it’s looking good,” Schwartz says.

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Porn is Complicated

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There’s been a lot of thoughtful criticism on porn, written by women, recently—notably, Katrina Forrester in the New Yorker and Natasha Lennard in The Nation. For Granta, Andrea Stuart choses a unique angle in her own piece on porn, writing a genre-bending essay that can best be described as a reported piece of first-person criticism.

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What Elena Ferrante and Kim Kardashian Have in Common

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While the outing of Elena Ferrante and the robbing of Kim Kardashian were not inherently gendered acts, the responses to them certainly have been. In light of these two seemingly divergent issues, the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino meditates on the framing of female ambition in the media, and what happens “when women signify too much”:

…the problem is not so much about what happens to women after they become established and successful.

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All Bravado, Little Spirit

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For the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham writes that whatever your thoughts on the Nate Parker controversy, the new film The Birth Of A Nation is best left unseen:

“Twelve Years” and, especially, “Django” promised to widen the expressive possibilities of the slave story—to add to the cultural meanings of the country’s gravest crime.

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Etger Keret on Racism and Parenting

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In a primal sense, racism involves favoring the people who are closest to you genetically. It is funny how most liberal left-wingers (well, me, at least) would never think of not hiring someone because he was of a different race or religion, but, at the same time, would try to get their child a bigger slice of birthday cake than the other kids or would lobby for extra attention from a teacher or a coach.

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“The Disjointedness of Life”

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For the New Yorker, Peter Moskowitz talks to poet Tommy Pico about anger, juxtaposition, and inheritance:

He told me that he uses poetry to square two identities that don’t fit together well: being a poor, queer kid from the rez, and being a pleasure-seeking, technology-addicted New Yorker who would rather chase the boys he meets on apps than think about centuries of pain passed from one generation to another.

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Riding the Underground

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The Underground Railroad has always fascinated Americans, and recently it has exploded in popularity, with books, TV shows, and even representation on United States currency. But does the mythologized version of the Underground Railroad live up to actual history? In a recent New Yorker article, Kathryn Schulz examines recent media incarnations of the Railroad:

But, as more recent work has made clear, they should also incite our curiosity and skepticism: about how the Underground Railroad really worked, why stories about it so consistently work on us, and what they teach us—or spare us from learning—about ourselves and our nation.

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Wealth and the American Dream

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Two recent novels, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, explore privilege and entitlement, and what happens when wealth disappears. It can be hard to feel sorry for trust fund kids when you live paycheck to paycheck, but:

From some distance, it’s a parable about the current age, in which an increasingly fraught vision of American prosperity abuts the realities of stagnation and loss.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Irish author Danielle McLaughlin didn’t start writing fiction until 2010, but in the years since she has amassed an impressive collection of writing awards, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and has twice placed stories in the New Yorker.

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Raw Material

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Our VW van had a Porsche engine, other modifications that made it good for tough Mexican roads.

Gorgeous photographs accompany Lucia Berlin’s own account, with an introduction by Cressida Leyshon, of her travels in Mexico, drugs, and family life. Memories are ordered as episodes, or “sketches,” and readers of her short stories will find great resonance between the forms.

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At Heaven’s Gates

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At the New Yorker, Richard Brody shares a eulogy for director Michael Cimino:

Cimino’s life work is a cinema of mourning, an art of grief, a nightmare of memory that finds its sole redemption in ecstasy—the heightened perception that transforms experience into a grand internal spectacle, which finds its own embodiment in Cimino’s own profound visual imagination.

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Trump Alchemy Examined

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“Get more, that inner music seems to be telling him. Get, finally, enough. Refute a lifetime of critics. Create a pile of unprecedented testimonials, attendance receipts, polling numbers, and pundit gasps that will, once and for all, prove—what?”

George Saunders patrols the Trump campaign trail and notates the surreal political phenomena known as “The Donald.” Here is what he discovered.

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The Evolution of Adrienne Rich

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Over at the New Yorker, Dan Chiasson marks the publication of Adrienne Rich’s collected works with an examination of the incredible arc of her life and career. And instead of condemning her many transformations as a kind of flightiness, he reminds us how admirable it is for a person to be able to change as they learn and grow:

Perhaps no American poet who started in the mode of accommodation so abruptly broke ranks, inventing for herself a new kind of discipline whose ethical rigors demanded fresh forms.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, Karen Russell of Swamplandia! fame has a new story in The New Yorker that unearths the self-deceptions beneath what we often think is love, and also unearths a body. In “The Bog Girl,” a teenage boy named Cillian digs up the 2,000-year-old body of a girl that has been perfectly preserved by a peat bog and then, with Russell’s classic flair for the imaginative and the creepy, falls immediately in love with her.

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The Important Queerness of Frog and Toad

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At the New Yorker, Colin Stokes lauds the classic Frog and Toad’s “amphibious celebration of same-sex love” and discusses the ways in which it may have been inspired by Arnold Lobel’s life experiences:

Lobel never publicly discussed a connection between the series and his sexuality, but he did comment on the ways in which personal material made its way into his stories… Knowing the strains of sadness in Lobel’s life story gives his simple and elegant stories new poignancies.

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