Critical Essays Archive
There’s a long history in English-language literature of men pressuring women into sex. Two upcoming books reveal the evolution in notions of sexual consent, as well as how far we still have to go.
The book allows our gaze to lurk in the shadows cast by the family’s grief, and explores what it means to make art even when the world is crashing down around us.
Contemporary American poetry was born in the context of the Civil War, the war that claimed more Americans than ever before or since. Whitman and Dickinson, two of America’s seminal poets, were alive and writing poetry during the Civil War.
The tension at the heart of Trump’s recent iteration of bigotry against trans individuals comes through profoundly in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Nelson writes both movingly and perplexingly about bodies in flux.
While New York remains the center of gravity in the publishing world, a new breed of independent presses in the nation’s capital are set to pull some of that force down south.
The poems of A. R. Ammons focus on easily overlooked, easily dismissed elements of the natural world. Ammons observes the inevitability of time both on a microscopic and global level: how time affects everything from maggots to “drift-logs.”
The more I read about Paris, and whenever I am lucky enough to travel there, I want to know what Paris is really like, not just what I want it to be like. You don’t have to sugar coat it for me.
Meridel LeSueur had a radical pedigree, living in an anarchist commune and writing about causes like migrant workers’ rights and Native American autonomy. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era, her novel The Girl became a seminal text for second-wave feminists. But why do few people read her today?
The places and spaces of Salt Houses play a complex role in the craft of characterization.
Pablo Neruda’s rivers and seas are far from skyscrapers and train lines. His verdant island isn’t much like Eileen Myles’s neon city, where rivers tend to be placid and not ones in which to dip the toes of your feet.