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Posts by: Charley Locke

Poet Laureate Grew Up a Migrant Worker, Seeing Poetry All Around Him

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Those are some deep landscapes of mountains and grape fields and barns and tractors; families gathering at night to have little celebrations in the mountains and aquamarine lakes way down below. So, see, all that is like living in literature every day. Juan Felipe Herrera, who became the new US poet laureate on Tuesday, talks […]

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Marilynne Robinson on Being an American

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When Christians abandon Christian standards of behavior in the defense of Christianity, when Americans abandon American standards of conduct in the name of America, they inflict harm that would not be in the power of any enemy. Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, and Lila, writes about how Christianity and exceptionalism have the potential […]

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The Last Essay

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In Oliver Sacks’s last published essay, he writes about a patient who underwent surgery to take away his seizures caused by Klüver-Bucy syndrome—and left him with an insatiable appetite: for blocks of cheese, playing the piano, and child pornography. Read Suzanne Koven’s interview with Sacks about hallucinations—his book, and the phenomenon—here.

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I Get My Favorite Short Stories From the CIA

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The Kenyon Review. Mundo Nuevo. The Paris Review. Check out whether you’ve been unknowingly colluding with secret agents whilst reading your favorite lit mags. Patrick Iber writes, “The CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War—the closest thing that the US government had to a Ministry of Culture.” (The Rumpus would […]

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Young Black Writers Reflect on #blacklivesmatter

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because I want to not cry because I actually hate crying because none of my tears can offer resurrection none of my poems can offer resurrection none of my image searches can offer resurrection and I want us to stay alive Khadijah Queen and eleven other young writers of color—Roger Reeves, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Rion Amilcar […]

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A Classroom of Atticus F., G., and H.

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It has been a bad summer for the iconic characters of Southern literature. Over at the Paris Review, Sadie Stein takes a look at the unfortunate facts: Atticus was kind of a racist, and Atticus is the most popular male baby name in 2015. Maybe, Stein surmises, it’s impossible to avoid baggage with any name. She […]

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The Super-Secret Identities of Clark Kent and Stan Lee

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Such is the paradox of comics: they’re the medium of the marginalized, yet they remain wildly popular. Perhaps that’s because in some way, at some point, everyone will feel marginalized and need a seat at the table in the cafeteria away from the jocks. Even the jocks. Jabeen Akhtar looks back to the publication of […]

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Book Recs from a River-Rafting Joan Didion

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To go with her contribution, Didion had to provide a few sentences about herself. Excavated from the Mademoiselle archives, what she wrote shows a still somewhat green, aspiring writer with a sentimental attachment to home: “Joan spends vacations river-rafting and small-boating in the picture-postcard atmosphere of the Sacramento Valley.” Among her interests, she lists “almost […]

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The Alternate Careers and Future Projects of Alejandro Zambra

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[Soccer] games on the radio are absolutely like literature—the metaphors, the pacing, the need for an evolving style. You can’t always say the same thing. The role of the play-by-play announcer seems much more interesting to me than that of the color commentator. In the end, the announcer is the narrator and the commentator is […]

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Charles Dickens is a Tattle-Tale

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Get ready for the biggest piece of gossip to hit the Victorian litmag scene in 250 years. Lewis Carroll, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell all wrote anonymously for Charles Dickens’s periodical—but that anonymity may have been short-lived. (Well, sort of.) In a reveal heralded as “the Rosetta Stone of Victorian studies,” a book dealer found […]

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Joseph Conrad’s Thank-You Note to Henry James

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Clothed in the wonderful garment of your prose, they have stood, consoling, by my side under many skies,” Conrad wrote. “I trust that you will consent, by accepting this copy, to augment the precious burden of my gratitude. UT Austin’s Ransom Center released Project REVEAL, digitizing 25 of its manuscript collections. Pull up a chair […]

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How to Chart a Course Through the Metaphors in Your Mind

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Why do we refer to our minds in terms of seas and cartography, anyway? Find out by consulting your sextant and the first online metaphor map. The chart boasts over 14,000 metaphorical connections, sourced from 4,000,000 lexical data points by a few Scottish researchers who now (presumably) have some excellent new phrases for spinning yarns […]

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What You Can Read at the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library

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Prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay have access to 18,000 books in 18 different languages, including Arabic translations of King Lear, Anna Karenina, and Stephen King thrillers. But books deemed critical of the US government, including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Noam Chomsky’s Interventions, and various John Grisham novels, are banned. Over at The Kenyon […]

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Preserving Dostoevsky’s Prose

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What’s one English word to sarcastically communicate Russian cosmopolitan refinement? How would you translate a page-long sentence from Tolstoy, or “the cacophonous competing voices of Dostoevsky”? Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear (who have been married for 33 years) have translated over 30 works from Russian to English, beloved by readers worldwide (including Oprah) and praised […]

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Joan Says Goodbye, Taylor Says Hello

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Andrew Bomback steps into the conversation between Eula Biss and Joan Didion about “Goodbye to All That” and the myth of New York City, bringing along Taylor Swift as his guest. In its author’s privilege and its message of youthful possibility, “Swift’s ‘Welcome to New York’ is far more Didion than Biss,” he writes.

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Like Peeping Over the Edge of the World

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“It’s like peeping over the edge of the world while remembering you’ve left your spectacles on the kitchen table,” she writes of her cruelly paradoxical situation: knowing that death is on its way without knowing when exactly it will arrive. Jenny Diski has inoperable lung cancer—and the prolific British essayist has chosen to write through […]

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Live-Tweeting Grief

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“The challenge of memorializing doesn’t favor professionals,” writes Sean Minogue over at Full Stop. So, how are autobiographical narratives of loss by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Joan Didion, or Paul Auster different from therapeutic journaling? Minogue takes a look at how these authors express the everyday details of living after a loss, and how new forms […]

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Which Norwegian Author Is Your Favorite Beatle?

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I think of the four elder statesmen of Norwegian letters as a bit like the Beatles: Per Petterson is the solid, always dependable Ringo; Dag Solstad is John, the experimentalist, the ideas man; Karl Ove Knausgaard is Paul, the cute one; and Fosse is George, the quiet one, mystical, spiritual, probably the best craftsman of […]

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