Reading Archive

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: Defining Homeland in Sherman Alexie’s Stories of the Pacific Northwest

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Sherman Alexie, arguably the most recognized Native writer, has brought both visibility to his hometown and the home of his ancestry. Born in Spokane, Washington to a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, Alexie weaves decidedly non-universal narratives, choosing instead to celebrate the specificity of his people in Spokane

Kevin Young and the Age of Euphemism

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In his eleventh book, Young recapitulates some of America’s most notorious humbugs, from P. T. Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid to James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces and Rachel Dolezal’s blackface. While his text primarily works to link the rise of hoaxes to “race and racialism,” Young also links this evolution

The Countryside as Escape Button

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They sit on a bench outside their home, drinking wine and reading the paper, when Astrid steps inside to address a sleep-defying child. Instinctively, Thomas rises, walks out of their yard, and doesn’t return.

Ugliness in Natalie Shapero’s Hard Child

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Whatever the case, it’s certainly true that for most of my reading life, it never occurred to me that poetry could be anything other than beautiful.

Family Furnishings

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“Family Furnishings,” like many great stories about family histories, is about finding our way to the truth through well-worn myths.

Girls in The Lucky Ones

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The stories in Julianne Pachico’s debut collection The Lucky Ones are set in and out of Colombia, following the lives of a group of privileged students and their teachers amidst the country’s ongoing conflict.

Ballet, Loss, and Longing in The Complete Ballet

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The Complete Ballet is a hybrid book, suggesting not only the format of a classical or romantic story ballet, but the sense that we can never answer Yeats’s question, “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” about the blurring of artist and performance, truth and fiction.

The Burden of Witness: The Sandcastle Girls, #MeToo, and The Armenian Genocide

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On April 24, 2015 I was in Istanbul when the hundred-year commemorations of the start of the Armenian Genocide were taking place. A group of Armenians, Turks, and foreigners ended a walk to remember the massacre.

Flickerings of an Innermost Flame: A Hundred Years of the Hogarth Press

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In a 1917 letter to a family friend, Virginia Woolf announced a new endeavor with her husband, Leonard: “We have bought our Press! We don’t know how to work it, but now I must find some young novelists or poets. Do you know any?”

The Modernist Revision of a Foreign Culture in Ezra Pound’s Cathay

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Pound, a white man who couldn’t speak or read a word of Chinese, was not even necessarily attempting to faithfully recreate Cathay’s poems in English; he rewrote the poems to fit into American modernist aesthetics, bringing ancient Chinese poetry into his own place and time.