Seven weeks into the academic year, schoolwork is well under way at Detroit Public Schools. But many students—potentially thousands—are still waiting to receive textbooks.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.
Are you embarrassed about your lack of literary inheritance? You’re not alone. Here’s a great piece by Annie Liontas at The New York Times on those first, lonely forays into the literary world: “But I see my experience as an immigrant into the world of letters as a blessing. Being an outsider is the origin of my imagination; it gives me the constant consciousness that my perspective is only one of many and that there are myriad ways of being in the world. It grants me the gift of being attuned to the voices in the room, as well as all of those shut out of it.”
Claudia Rankine’s new book of poetry, Citizen, is getting a lot of attention in part due to its meditations on race in modern America. In the latest issue of BOMB, Lauren Berlant interviews the poet, asking her about micro-aggressions, Kara Walker and the implicit tone of the word “citizen.”