“I really do hate the idea that black joy itself is a joy derived in spite of. While it may indeed include that, limiting it to such assumes that joy among black people only exists as a defiant response to oppression from white people. I’d rather believe that black folk are capable of this deep supernatural sense without having to be enslaved or disenfranchised.” For the Boston Review, Jericho Brown on poetry and joy.
Does a writer need a devoted spouse to be prolific? At The Atlantic, Koa Beck examines the concept of having a do-it-all partner like Vera Nabokov and if this traditional gender role only harms female writers. Koa interviews various writers, from Emma Straub to Ayelet Waldman, on how their literary partnerships work. “I’d fantasized that being his Vera was a way for me to deal with being stuck as a stay-at-home mom—I’d subsume my own ambitions into something ‘greater!’ But that lasted about 48 hours,” Waldman said.
“What does it look like to be the child of war? A product of war? What does it look like to be a queer child from a very traditional Confucian family? How does one feel to pay homage to a family but to also, in a way, betray those familial values?” Kaveh Akbar interviews Ocean Vuong about linguistic identity, syntax, and the American gaze for Divedapper.
The new issue of The Quarterly Conversation features a symposium on the work of the late David Foster Wallace, featuring essays by Edie Meidav, Lance Olsen, and Andrew Altschul…plus Scott Esposito‘s welcome defense of Infinite Jest‘s canonization.