Back in July, Patricia Lockwood lit up the Internet with “Rape Joke,” a harrowing poem. Now, at The Rumpus, Lauren O’Neal interviews Lockwood, who talks about “Rape Joke,” the subsequent reaction and her 2012 book, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black. You could also read Elisa Gabbert on Lockwood’s Twitter followers.
Scaachi Koul’s childhood friend introduced her to Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books candidly: “You’d probably like them,” she said. “They’re really depressing.” Now, in a piece for Buzzfeed, Koul explains how the works have helped her into adulthood. (Bonus: Koul’s forthcoming essay collection, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, made our Great 2017 Book Preview.)
Harper Lee’s estate will no longer allow publication of the mass-market paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, which was popular with schools. Over at The New Republic, Alex Shephard writes that “Without a mass-market option, schools will likely be forced to pay higher prices for bulk orders of the trade paperback edition—and given the perilous state of many school budgets, that could very easily lead to it being assigned in fewer schools.” For more about the author’s legacy, read Robert Rea’s Millions essay on his travels to her home.
Shakespeare may have had a son who later became the poet laureate of England. Find out more about him in Simon Andrew Stirling’s new book, Shakespeare’s Bastard: The Life of Sir William Davenant. Pair with Stephen Akey’s reflections on Shakespeare as God.
In conjunction with the new documentary film “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” (reviewed by our own Bill Morris last week), New York’s Third Streaming Gallery will be hosting a conversation on the role of art and artists in contemporary cultural activism. The discussion will be held tonight at 7pm, and it will include Rico Gaston, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Donna Murch, and Minkah Makalani.
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”