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.
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.
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.
There are stories that break from patterns, and stories that pull so hard at their stitching that they unravel themselves in the process.
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.
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.
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.
It is no easy feat to nurture a literary project while far away from the epicenter of publishing activity, yet Tragaluz has made it work in a spectacular manner.
Meek Mill’s latest album Wins & Losses confronts what it means to be a young black American. With songs such as “Young Black America,” Meek questions whether the black church has turned its back on the black youth.
With origins dating back more than two thousand years, the Sanskrit epic, the Mahābhārata began as a collection of myths and stories that over the course of several centuries, came to be unified in a meandering and wildly digressive work.