Chinese poet Su Hui composed an 841-character array in the fourth century that can be read forward, backward, horizontally, diagonally, and vertically. The poem, entitled “Xuanji Tu,” can be read in 2,848 different ways as a result.
This Splitsider interview with Clarissa Explains It All creator Mitchell Kriegman is fantastic. Among the many revelations that come out of the interview is this gem: “The most amazing person that you would never guess worked on the show was [The Hunger Games author] Suzanne Collins. She was the quietest, nicest person. Like having JK Rowling working on your show!”
“Even though journalism is a good profession, for me it was very constraining. It focuses on the surface, banalities, events, and I wanted to spend a longer time talking to people in depth, and to ask them about truly important things, like love, death, and war.” This interview with Svetlana Alexievich at The Nation is fantastic. Check out our own profile/interview with Alexievich from earlier this summer.
“Writing difference is a challenge, particularly in fiction. How do men write women and vice versa? How do writers of one race or ethnicity write about people of another race or ethnicity? More important, how do writers tackle difference without reducing their characters to caricatures or stereotypes?” Roxane Gay reviews Joyce Carol Oates‘s The Sacrifice and simultaneously explains how to write difference well. Hint: it “demands empathy, an ability to respect the humanity of those you mean to represent.”
“I think people always expect artists to have a larger understanding of the issues they write about. People have looked to writers and artists forever and asked them to be cultural commentators or political commentators, which can be very scary because I can only speak to my own perspective, and I’m figuring this out along with everybody else. I’m not even sure I’m the best person to talk about it, whatever it is, but I’m someone who can and does.” Electric Literature talks with Sarah Gerard about her debut novel Binary Star, which we reviewed here.
“Certain words have gone from being shocking to being neutered,” says Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive, who has embraced the printing of “vulgar words” on her magazine’s cover since November of 2011. Ms. Leive is one of several women’s magazine editors who believe “magazines are catching up with other media, where women have been using explicit language for years.”