Kick off your Monday morning with this Aaron Belz poem honoring Evel Knievel, you daredevil, you.
Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
Over at The New Yorker, Hilton Als writes about Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Prince, Cecil Taylor, Octavia Butler, and time travel. He writes, “Toward the end of the film, [Beyoncé] moves further back into the past and examines her roots, we see any number of sharply dressed women sitting in the natural world, talking among themselves. This will remind readers of that extraordinary scene in Beloved, when the elder commands those who have gathered in a clearing to love their hands, themselves—because if they don’t, who will?”
You can listen to Robert Kloss read from The Alligators of Abraham, which was released last Thursday from Mud Luscious Press. The author also composed a playlist to accompany his book. The gorgeous text has been receiving much-deserved advance praise, and it’s even borne a “series of texts – videos, art, stories, and more – written, filmed, cobbled together, and razed by different artists from around the literary world.”
“Yes, yes, it’s truer than true:
The great doctor made fun that was funny!
His creatures are shaggy and splendid and squishy,
In a cosmos uncertain but sunny.”