Series Archive

The Readers: Scott Esposito and the Redemptive Powers of Translation

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We misunderstand each other and we pull away. Even within one language like English, words mean different things to different people, and we gravitate towards those who use this meaning-making technology as we do. Some people struggle to differentiate between systemic issues and issues of personality. The quest for
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The Black Aesthetic: Salvation and Deliverance in Jimi Hendrix’s “Hear My Train A Comin'” and “Purple Haze”

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Forty-seven years ago, in the month of September, the legendary blues rock singer Jimi Hendrix died. When Hendrix passed away suddenly from an unintentional drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven, he was at the peak of his musical career.
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The Best Short Story I Read This Month: “Take Your Child To Work Report” by Maya Beck

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By formatting her short story “Take Your Child To Work Day Report” like an actual report, Maya Beck examines power dynamics in the classroom and society as a whole.
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Fiction Responding to Fiction: Katherine Mansfield and Ali Smith

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Could there be a better way to pay homage to an author than to include the writer as a character in the fiction? In Ali Smith’s story “The Ex-Wife,” included in her collection Public Library and Other Stories, the writer Katherine Mansfield is the other woman.
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Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

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In September of 1954, two hundred and fifty years after castaway Alexander Selkirk gazed upon his own desert island, William Golding publishes Lord of the Flies about a group of British schoolboys stranded on a tropical island.
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Imagining the Anthropocene: The Corporeal Poetics of Marianne Boruch’s Cadaver, Speak

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In her book Cadaver, Speak, Boruch engages in a corporeal self-study through figure drawing, art history, and medical anatomy. From inside her own “bonehouse,” Boruch builds a poetics of embodiment, suturing her firsthand observation to the cultural paradigms that have marked our language.
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Stories Strangely Told: Stories That Break Their Molds

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There are stories that break from patterns, and stories that pull so hard at their stitching that they unravel themselves in the process.
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The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: The Power of Repeated Setting and Statement in August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle”

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For August Wilson, his hometown of Pittsburgh was the setting for nine of his ten plays; his complete oeuvre thus earning the moniker “The Pittsburgh Cycle.” Each play is set in a different decade, allowing Wilson to examine the black experience across different times, but in the same place.
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Confronting Our Environmental Apocalypse: Beauty and the Japanese Tradition

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One of the many things I have found so moving and gripping about classical Japanese literature is how concrete the worldview is. Here is a sensibility that is deeply enmeshed in the world and looks for beauty in the imperfections of nature, in the corrosive effects of time.
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Imagining the Anthropocene: Danez Smith’s “summer, somewhere”

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Danez Smith’s second book of poems, Don’t Call Us Dead, takes up the project of rehumanizing black lives, reshaping lament into forward-looking prophecy. The collection’s opening epic poem, “summer, somewhere,” acts as a book of re-creation, turning premature mortality into a revived, embodied love drawn from the earth itself.
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