Kaveh Akbar interviews poet Wendy Xu about oppressive syntax, imaginary realms, and poems as ecosystems. As she puts it, “Poetry validates the emotional realness of the imaginary.” Pair with Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.
In her short history of executioners, Stassa Edwards notes that the decision to replace “the traditional punishment” of drowning people “in a sack in a local river” was actually quite pragmatic: it was “more economical” to go with a simple beheading.
In today’s NY Times, former Simon & Schuster executive Joni Evans ruminates on the Darwinian transformation of publishing, from tactile and sensory (paper and fountain-pen stains and typewriter bells) to e-everything (bidding wars and clean desks); she herself picked flight over fight.
What is the price of diversity? Colleen Muir asks this question at The Rumpus in relation to the hefty cost of writers’ conferences. A piece of her essay: “I’m not claiming that Breadloaf [sic] lacks for talent, or that its writers don’t have interesting things to say. But it certainly lacks for diversity in at least one significant way, because most attendees share a privileged experience of the world.” Pair with Gail Gauthier’s essay on working in the kitchen crew at Bread Loaf.