Reading Archive

The Literary Text as Performance & Spectacle

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Recent years have seen a proliferation of feminist writers who are taking up questions about language, spectatorship, and the orders of power implicit in the gaze. More now than ever, poets are telling us where to look, as well as refusing, restructuring, and renegotiating the terms of the gaze.

A Life in Fragments

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
I have been most moved by writing that tells a story in fragments, often ones that are weighted with emotion and significance to the life of the narrator. Only after each fragment has been picked up, polished, and assembled in place, jagged edge to jagged edge, does the meaning

The Poetics of Body Positivity

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
My earliest memories of the poetic representations of other cis women, like me, were highly sexualized. It seemed that women’s bodies, rather than the women, were (cis male) poets’ muses.

Language and Linearity in A Wrinkle in Time

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
What does it mean for an otherworldly fantasy to associate itself so closely with the language of real-world historical and contemporary figures? How does drawing from the language of the outside world enhance the interior, contained universe that exists within a film or novel?

A Map of Belonging: China Miéville’s The City & The City

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
The City & The City is billed as a fantasy novel, but, once read, there is no inherent reason to believe these are other than two wholly real cities pieced and parceled out in strips—often even with citizens walking along the same roads and sidewalks, studiously not noticing one

Maggie O’Farrell Pulls the Curtain Back on Death

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Maggie O’Farrell’s recent memoir takes its title from this allusion. I am, I am, I am tells the story of the author’s life through seventeen near death experiences.

What’s Left Unsaid in Angela Flournoy’s “The Miss April Houses”

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Sometimes silence is more powerful than words, and Flournoy uses this device deliberately throughout her story "The Miss April Houses."

Memory and Metaphor in Mai Der Vang’s Afterland

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Many of us who love poetry think of metaphor as being somewhere in its DNA. Without metaphors, somehow, it seems, poetry would not be itself.

Lydia Davis’s “Ethics” and the Instability of Logic

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
The short stories of Lydia Davis, in spite of their infamous brevity, often work on at least three levels. In the case of “Ethics,” a paragraph-long fiction that humorously interrogates the Golden Rule, the story works as a character study, a reductio ad absurdum argument, and a larger

Humor and Moralizing in The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Violence is rationalized, often via the expectation of sympathy and understanding from the very people who are most harmed by it.