“Shelley once called poets the ‘unacknowledged legislators of the world,'” but has the social role of poetry changed since Shelley’s time?
"Behind the collective feast and public ritual lies a personal dimension: the holiday as each of us has lived it, laughed about it, imagined it or reinvented it." For their "My Thanksgiving" feature, The New York Times asked nine writers — including Parul Sehgal, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Emma Cline — how they celebrate the holiday. Pair with Nguyen's 2015 Year in Reading.
Jeff Chang, whose Can't Stop Wont Stop I just can't recommend enough for anyone interested in the history of hip hop, has a great piece in the LARB on rap music and the 1992 LA Riots. The LA Times also ran a compelling essay on Toddy Tee, N.W.A. and other prescient west coast MCs, the forefathers of what became commercial gangsta rap.
“Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.” The always amazing Southern Poverty Law Center has put together "Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide."
"As time passed, I realized the Philip Roth I’d known before the two documentaries we ended up doing was in the process of transformation. The Roth I’d known for many years was an obsessively committed writer who, in the terrifying limbo between one book and another, could fall victim to a storm of depression or be spent to the point of looking as if his blood had been drained from his veins... This Philip Roth seemed to be discovering new, unexpected pleasures in life, like spending time in bed reading in the morning or inviting friends to his home to share with him the meals prepared each night by his newly hired, young and lovely cook." Livia Manera Sambuy writes about her friendship with Philip Roth for The Believer. Pair with Gabriel Roth's recent guide to "everything you need to know" about the elder Roth's oeuvre.