“Eventually, the judicial bureaucracy begins to seem almost as destructive as the rapist.” Domenica Ruta writes on Emily Winslow’s Jane Doe January and Joanna Connors’ I Will Find You, two books that probe our culture’s failure to address sexual violence. Pair with a piece on poetry as a response to sexual violence.
For the Poetry Foundation blog, David Winter interviews Night Sky With Exit Wounds author Ocean Vuong about poetry, how art is like public transportation, and turning your back on your own work. Pair with Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.
“I really do hate the idea that black joy itself is a joy derived in spite of. While it may indeed include that, limiting it to such assumes that joy among black people only exists as a defiant response to oppression from white people. I’d rather believe that black folk are capable of this deep supernatural sense without having to be enslaved or disenfranchised.” For the Boston Review, Jericho Brown on poetry and joy.
For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean's about his life, his escape, and literature.
“Apple’s example sentence for ‘shrill’ referenced ‘women’s voices,’ and the one for the word ‘psyche’ read, ‘I will never really fathom the female psyche.’ [...] The pronouns in entries for ‘doctor’ and ‘research’ were male, while a ‘she’ could be found doing ‘housework.’” The New Oxford American Dictionary needs its own guidelines for nonsexist usage.
Elif Batuman's provocative essay “Get a Real Degree” is up at the London Review of Books: “Despite the recent trend in viewing fiction as a form of empathy training, I’m pretty sure that writing short stories isn’t the most efficient way to combat injustice or oppression.”