Reading Deesha Philyaw’s “Peach Cobbler”

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In “Peach Cobbler,” Deesha Philyaw manages a long stretch of time by tracking her protagonist’s relationship to an object. Writing sensually about peach cobbler, Philyaw draws the reader into the story: we are there, smelling the peaches and sugar and cinnamon, as Olivia develops from a girl into a

The Biopolitical Body of Convenience Store Woman

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Throughout Sayaka Murata’s 2016 novel, the protagonist presents herself as an object of the convenience store that employs her. But the implied morality of the book suggests that this state of bodily control to which she willingly subjects herself may not be as simple as either oppression or free

A Woman’s Conviction in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 500 Days of Summer

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Summer, Helena, and Hermia hold fast to their own definitions of love, even in the face of men who refuse and ignore them.

Lapvona’s Christian Narrative

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For the people of Lapvona, the fictional Middle Ages village of Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel, religiosity is less an articulation of faith or devotion and more of narrative concern. The central questions of faith are simply questions of what everything adds up to.

Queer Desire and the Myth of Iphis

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Queerness offers a way into unknowing some of the rigid boundaries we have inherited around what sex should be and what gender is. It can ask us to privilege pleasure and intimacy in our own desires. As in John Gower’s Iphis, queerness is a sort of stepping into the

Art and Autonomy in June Gervais’ Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

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June Gervais’s debut novel is a revealing portrait of making your way professionally and personally into adulthood. Gina realizes that her identity is untethered to an outside force such as her dream vocation—a truth some of us take a whole life to find out.

Also a Poet’s Exploration of Not Being There

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It can be astonishing to learn how different our loved ones were when we weren’t around to know them. It can feel like a personal connection is lost, or that the person we know in the present is somehow incomplete.

Objects for Piano’s Exploration of Poetry and Music

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The poet, avant-garde musician, and dramatist Russell Atkins plays with the parallel and incongruency between poetry and music by reframing their primary functions, focusing not on their sonic qualities but instead on their visual construction, the quality that is effaced during performance.

Language and Time in Now Do You Know Where You Are

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Something happens when we read Dana Levin’s poems—time doesn’t merely pass but replicates itself—and so these poems simulate how, exactly, the poet struggles with and through her intermittent silence between the pages.

Photography as Poetic Language in Emblems of a Passing World

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Adam Kirsch’s 2015 collection, built on the photographs of August Sander, amplifies the tension between the social and the individual through a remarkable cross-talk between photograph and poetic text.