The essay is more than just a literary genre but a lifestyle, and it’s dominating American society, Christy Wampole argues. “The genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary America,” she writes.
“The most unfortunate / Thing about history / Is not pornos. No, it is how Americans / (And we were talking about men but may I take this opportunity / To be more inclusive, because inclusivity is in!) were once better than they are at present.” In which an imagined David Brooks writes a sestina about misogyny. Here’s a Millions piece in which the real-life Brooks is thought of not as a pariah, but as a harbinger of hope.
Recommended Reading: Poet and novelist Carmen Boullosa on her obsession with lost stories and found textual objects, as well as the efficacy of rereading.
Seeing as yesterday was Donald Barthelme’s birthday, it’s as good a time as any to remember the short fiction icon. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova reads Barthelme’s essay “Not-Knowing,” which you can find in the author’s collection of essays and interviews. Sample quote: “Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art.”