“How easy for the waterfall to turn back / into the river, the long, silent face / holding all that has passed through it / as though untouched…” A new poem from Charif Shanahan at Lit Hub, “Wanting to Be White,” forces the audience “to reconsider poetics and race, distinct yet indivisible in the American grain.” Not a fan of poetry? Check out our list of ten poems for people who hate poetry.
Members of the Word Reference forum contemplate the etymology and meaning of the “A” in the expression, “Fuckin’ A.” Elsewhere Geoffrey Nunberg, linguist and author of Assholism: The First Sixty Years, shares his take on the ubiquitous “a-word,” which he believes originated during World War II.
“Thus it is our [feminists’] historical task … to define what we call oppression in materialist terms, to make it evident that women are a class, which is to say that the category ‘woman’ as well as the category ‘man’ are political and economic categories, not eternal ones.” This essay in remembrance of Alexis Arquette touches on everything from VIP guest lists to feminist theorist Monique Wittig.
Jonathan Lethem thinks his work is taken too seriously. “Well, I was just watching Richard Pryor, and he says, ‘When you’re dating a white woman, and people don’t like it, you can’t really pretend. You can’t go, “Oh, she’s not with me.”‘ ‘You write the big, ambitious books, right?’ Well, I guess they are,” he said in an interview with Salon. He also discusses being equated with Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, Dissident Gardens.
“Every journal is a confessional. If it’s in the first person, it cannot help but be. Unless the author of it lies to himself—and that makes it even more of a confessional. For some reason, travel brings out confessions one would never make at home. I am trying to draw the rake of my journal over the landscape. Perhaps I will uncover something.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s new collection of travel journals, Writing Across the Landscape, is out now. Travel on back to The Millions for Kate McCahill’s essay on traveling with books.
Avril Haines, the new deputy director of the CIA, had an interesting career before landing in the Langley. According to a Washington Post report, Haines used to own an independent bookstore in Baltimore, where she “welcomed patrons for the occasional readings of high-toned erotica over chicken tostadas.”