Critical Essays Archive
Literature that reflected the queer experience seem a shared resource, and a public one for those who knew how to look for it. But books can act as more than a mirror—aren’t they also a window?
Feminists have long attempted to “take back” feminine mythological figures and reconceptualize male-centric myths, but Analicia Sotelo’s poetry collection goes further, not only subverting feminine stereotypes but also challenging the common wisdom of the symbolic “feminine.”
As poets and readers of poetry, we might ask ourselves how our poetry provides a kind of sanctuary from violence or else offers us a place to work through our fraught reactions to a world in which school shootings can happen.
Lil Wayne’s book, a collection of journal entries made while he served a prison sentence, offers access to the stream of consciousness produced by an imprisoned mind.
Mavis Gallant’s “Mlle. Dias de Corta” unfolds more like a novel than a short story. It’s a second-person address to a tenant the narrator, an aging, xenophobic French widow, had twenty years before—a young actress, Alda Dias de Corta, whom the widow took in “for companionship rather than income.”
Writers, like all artists, experience things twice—once in the moment, and again when attempting to draw out the details of what has happened to bring a work to life. In the digital age, however, many experiences have been stripped of vibrancy.
The Alamo is a physical manifestation of Stasi-like doublespeak, a celebration of white mediocrity, white insularity, and the deep need to claim victory at all costs despite thorough defeat—a strategy for decentering truth not unlike the modus operandi of the Trump administration or its lackeys.
It is clear that there is benefit in creating multiple selves in order to process trauma, distance oneself from illness, and imagine an alternative reality as a means of coping. There is also power in naming oneself, especially after illness or injury.
The #MeToo Movement has opened up the public discussion around violence against women, especially sexual violence. In the last few years, many of our contemporary poets have written frankly and devastatingly about the many kinds of violences women disproportionately face.
January 2018 marked fifty years since Edward Abbey published his paean to America’s southwestern deserts. In the wake of this anniversary, numerous tributes to Abbey and his books appeared, but few, if any, of these articles looked at Abbey’s work through a feminist lens.