“I wish I were jogging shirtless but / I need somewhere to clip the mic,” says Jon Cotner as he records his poem, “Long Meadow,” while jogging through Prospect Park.
The January issue of Asymptote is out, featuring an excellent interview with Year in Reading alumnus Junot Díaz about language acquisition and diasporic identity. As he puts it, “I live a life where both English and Spanish are in italics in my brain. It costs me no extra effort; it doesn’t feel unusual; it doesn’t feel like an infirmity, but it does strike me every now and then that there are people who don’t pick over their language the way I do, who aren’t so self-conscious of what they’re saying, who have a natural tongue." Pair with Thea Lim’s Millions essay on race and gender in Díaz’s books.
Just in time for crawfish season (and ruined outfits as a result of crawfish season), The Oxford American's launched its newest column, Parish Chic, brought to you by L. Kasimu Harris. It's meant to prominently showcase the beaucoup styles on display in New Orleans, Harris' hometown. You can read about the project's background and inspiration over at Gambit: The Best of New Orleans.
Congratulations are in order for Vanessa Veselka: PEN American has awarded her debut novel Zazen the Robert W. Bingham Prize. I first heard about the novel last year, from what was then the brand-spanking-new LARB, though this Minnesota Public Radio profile of Veselka is also a great way to get acquainted with her exciting talents.