reading Archive

How to Do Things With Readings: After Cave Canem’s 20th Anniversary

Like any literary form or rule, the poetry reading raises questions regarding subjectivity and context: whose conventions are these, what do they enable, and how do they suit the projects at hand?

Planetary Poetry

Author: | Categories: Poetry, Reading, Writing No comments
It’s a comet, no it’s a planet, no it’s not a planet, yes it is. What is it about Pluto that so draws us to it? Is it that Pluto is so far away? Or is it just that we always pull for the underdog? Over the past few

Fiction Responding to Fiction: James Joyce and John Updike

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series, Writing No comments
One of John Updike’s early and most anthologized stories, “A & P,” from Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories, is a modern retelling of James Joyce’s “Araby” from The Dubliners. While almost 50 years pass between their publications, both stories consider how a boy’s romantic crush leads to heroic deeds

Liber Interruptus

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
For years, I finished every book I started. Short collections, slim volumes of poetry, novels fat with lyricism, the latest tome from Neal Stephenson—I soldiered through them all. Then, a few years out of grad school, on my morning bus ride to work, I found myself falling asleep in

Preserving Intent: What’s Lost in the Cinematic Translation of Mrs. Dalloway

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
I like to follow up my reading of a text with its cinematic counterpart. After finishing Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, I rented the DVD of the same name with great anticipation. But after the credits rolled, I was unsatisfied: while the cinematic version of Woolf’s novel provides a touching

Who Speaks How

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
I love when people ask my friend Jenny and I how we know each other, because long before we co-taught a queer theory elective and drove cross-country and made parallel moves to Pittsburgh, she was one of my first writing teachers. It was in her Xeroxed handout of eclectic

On Questioning Narrative Sequence

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
At the Contemporary Museum of Art in Montreal, Ragnar Kjartansson’s “The Visitors” plays on nine screens in a dark theater. Each screen features a single musician set to the backdrop of a room in a chateau, which is in disrepair: one woman in a pale lace dress plays cello

On Building Believable Characters in Fiction

Author: | Categories: Fiction, Reading No comments
Before I picked up a copy of Offshore last month, it had been years since I read Penelope Fitzgerald, a British author who didn’t start writing until she was in her sixties. But the characters in this Booker Prize-winning novel caught my attention and I soon became completely emerged

Looking Otherwise

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
We are one month post-“Formation.” In the wake of Beyoncé’s video release (/Super Bowl halftime performance/world tour announcement), a frenzy of reactions and reactions to reactions has proliferated. Only they’re not just reactions, they’re readings. On the immediate surface of the song’s lyrics, “Formation” is about being Black, and

Donde Esta el Bano?: Bathrooms in Literature

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Whenever I travel, I think back to “The History of the World through Toilets.” This is the title of a series of notes for an epic poem jotted down by Isodora Wing, the narrator of Erica Jong’s 1973 novel Fear of Flying. “British,” it begins: British toilet paper. A