First, the irreverent Jane Eaton Hamilton recounts her history with pulmonary illness in gripping detail in the Saturday Essay. Hamilton, an aspiring animal researcher, discards her educational goals when the reality of her condition is revealed. Paralleling her story to the macabre qualities of the vampire bat, she takes a clinical approach with her descriptions....more
Posts Tagged: weekend rumpus roundup
First, in the Saturday Essay, Ben Wirth looks back on New Year’s Eve 1999 with mixed feelings. Hope, apprehension, wonder, and naiveté color his memory—along with cultural landmarks like Fight Club, MTV, and Conan O’Brien.
And Patrick James Dunagan observes the benevolent merging of the “creative” and the “scientific” in his review of a retrospective anthology of the interdisciplinary journal Io....more
First, in the Saturday Essay, Nicole Walker considers her relationship with her partner, Erik, and the ways that raising children fray that relationship. When they sleep apart, the absent intimacy of the shared bed becomes a symbol for their difficulties and for the “notion of ‘one.'” When Walker draws a line between two different kinds of personalities, she must decide where she and her partner fit into the equation....more
First, Brandon Hicks shares a short series that he failed to place at a newspaper, “Burger Butler,” along with hilarious notes from the editors who rejected the series, and his own commentary on those notes.
Then, in the Saturday Essay, Yvonne Conza has nightmares stemming from an early memory of being tossed in the air by her father, a complicated man whose abusive behavior eventually ends his violent relationship with Conza’s mother....more
First, in the Saturday Interview, Deesha Philyaw talks to celebrated writer Darryl Pinckney about his latest novel, Black Deutschland, and drawing inspiration from Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories. Pinckney describes Berlin as “a somewhere not everyone wanted to bother with.” Racism in American history caused many to flee to Europe because it was “a personal solution to a mass problem,” Pinckney says, “like passing for white.” They go on to discuss his friend and influence Susan Sontag; Paris, love, and the differences between fiction and memoir....more
Meanwhile, Brandon Hicks illustrates what he has learned from famous author’s photos.
Then, in the Saturday Interview with Carol Edelman Warrior, poet and playwright Storme Webber says that “we’re all traveling on this Earth....more
First, for Day 23 of National Poetry Month, Valerie Wetlaufer’s “Method” uses third person to describe a victim of mysterious migraines, and for Day 24, Tyehimba Jess calls for the curtain to rise “to show the face that is known” in “Sissieretta Jones, Carnegie Hall, 1902: O patria mia....more
Next, a harrowing tale of addiction and related heart disease from Paul Vega in the Saturday Essay. Vega’s innovative form helps to create an understated tone in his description of his rehabilitation, and offers an opportunity for honesty that is long-overdue....more
First, in the Saturday Essay, Tyrese L. Coleman unearths the history behind her surname and the results of a DNA test. The results say she is 69% African, 33% originating from Benin, 29% European, and less than 2% Asian. Coleman digs deeper and considers the likelihood of having descending from slaves and their slaveholders, imperialists and the subjected, both the winners and losers in our history books....more
First, in the Saturday Essay, Cindy Lamothe writes about Central American street gangs, folklore, and how “more than a decade’s worth of war [has] left El Salvador in an aggressive tailspin of poverty and violence.”
Then, Ryan Werner reviews poet Katie Schmid’s collection, forget me / hit me / let me drink great quantities of clear, evil liquor, writing that Schmid’s poems are “a love letter, one that reaches out in blind bravery to the isolated bittersweetness of the Midwest and the women who circle around—or are circled around by—manhood.”
Finally, in the Sunday Essay, Ariel Gore offers us a beautiful, if heart-rending, essay about cycles of violence as she takes us from her childhood with a troubled father to the present, where she finds herself raising a child of her own with another troubled father in, and out, of the picture....more
First, National Book Award finalist Angela Flournoy talks with Deesha Philyaw in the Saturday Interview. They discuss themes pertinent to Detroit, the setting of Flournoy’s book, The Turner House. Some include housing discrimination, hip-hop, respectability politics, and the challenges of writing truthfully about the African American experience in that storied and troubled city....more
First, Brandon Hicks unveils a triptych of “Quick-Takes” illustrating his irreverent views on nature, famous trees, and the rapture.
Then, in the Saturday Essay, Ashley Inguanta mourns for her best friend who passed away years ago. The two of them met as children and grew up together in a small town, sharing in the milestones of adolescence....more
In the Saturday Essay, Lisa Borders describes moving to a small community in southern New Jersey at thirteen. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows the difference between “good” and “bad” families. This dynamic reminds Borders of Steven Avery, the embattled subject of the popular Netflix documentary series, Making A Murderer, in turn, Avery reminds Borders of a character in her own novel, The Fifty-First State, and the real-life man who inspired him....more
First, in the Saturday Interview, Arielle Bernstein talks to writer and workshop facilitator Jen Pastiloff. Pastiloff’s project, The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human, combines yoga and creative writing to inspire participants. She speaks openly about anorexia, healing as a process, and how to build self-esteem....more
First, Brandon Hicks brings us an illustrated retrospective of the works of Franklin “Boobs & Butt” Barber.
Then, in the Saturday Rumpus Review of Todd Haynes’s movie Carol, Sean Donovan considers how this new film fits into Haynes’s other works that focus on the 1950s, writing, “Until Carol, Haynes’s examination of queer sexuality and fifties culture has been rooted in detached, postmodern explorations of the fifties.” He concludes that, “perhaps Carol is the fifties, for real this time.”
Meanwhile, Heather Partington reviews Rus Like Everyone Else, Bette Adriaanse’s debut novel from Unnamed Press....more
First, we share all the reasons why our Book Clubs are so unique and make the perfect last-minute gift for your literary friends and family members—and for yourself.
Then, in the Saturday Essay, Becca Schuh writes about the unique challenges of being a young, single woman who no longer cooks for herself or anyone else....more
In the Saturday Essay, Rachel Wilkinson shares her findings after watching seventy-eight episodes of the competitive reality show Shark Tank in only six weeks. Shark Tanks‘s business moguls decide on the air, with all the requisite pageantry, whether they want to provide venture capital for the contestants’ small businesses....more
In the Saturday Essay, Anna March takes an unflinching look at the historical film Suffragette, which attempts to portray the women who took part in the suffrage movement during the early 1900s. While the film does draw attention to feminist successes, it glosses over the flaws of early activists, such as Susan B....more
First, Brandon Hicks criticizes parental hypocrisy in “Colorful Language.”
Meanwhile, in the Saturday Review, Joe Sacksteder offers a detailed portrait of the film 99 Homes, by director Ramin Bahrani. The 2008 mortgage crisis serves as the backdrop of a fraught storyline that brings together its protagonist, a victim of the recession, and antagonist, the real estate broker who caused his eviction....more
First, in the Saturday Essay, Katie Anderson Howell reflects on a fond and revealing appreciation for the wacky cartoon satire Futurama. The antics of its irreverent protagonists, the time traveling Fry and the one-eyed space captain Leela, loop comfortingly in the background of Howell’s real life....more
First, in the Saturday Review of The Martian, Louise Fabiani exposes strengths and weaknesses of Ridley Scott’s film. It is “exquisite” in a visual sense, but the protagonist, played by Matt Damon, seems to lack an essential humanity. Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig round out an impressive cast....more
First, Brandon Hicks’s most recent comic provides a guidepost for the maturing male artist.
Then, in a cutting Saturday Essay, Eileen G’Sell exposes the forward-looking and regressive trends in advertising. Though Progressive’s fully-clothed and “offbeat” spokeswoman, “Flo,” is a step in the right direction, other advertisers seem to be balking....more