The relationship between poetry and science is more inextricably (and historically) linked than you might imagine: “In the late 1700s, scientific treatises were written in poetic form because poetry was considered the language of intellect and the future.”
The thing about Dave Chappelle, writes Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in her marvelous essay on the comedian’s family history, the success of Chappelle’s Show, and how the two informed his opinions on race, “is that he was suddenly vaulted into the awkward position of being the world’s most famous interlocutor in a conversation about race—the one conversation no one likes having.” In light of his recent heckling in Connecticut, as well as the continued misinterpretation of his comedy, “it’s easy to understand why Chappelle was done with being misread, tired of explaining, [and so he] finished talking.”
“I was interested enough in WikiLeaks, state transparency, and emergent opposition networks to do five years in prison over such things, but I wasn’t interested enough that I would have voluntarily plowed through 500 pages of badly plotted failed-marriage razzmatazz by an author who’s long past his expiration date simply in order to learn what the Great King of the Honkies thinks about all this.” Barrett Brown reviews Jonathan Franzen’s Purity from prison. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of the book.
“I write, always thinking about the generations of black women who came before me, who faced racism and sexism head-on, and in spite of it all, did their work. They encourage me not to despair.” For Vogue, author Brit Bennett writes about 2017, racism, Trump, and the forward progression of time. Pair with: staff writer Ismail Muhammad‘s interview with Bennett.
If you haven’t gotten enough of literary New York quite yet, here’s what the Guardian (UK) thinks you should be reading about “the American dream concretised in a shimmering mirage, the burgeoning metropolis of hope built on foundations of money, drugs and exploitation.” Less judgmentally, Grantland’s Kevin Nguyen focuses on two new books set in Queens, recommending High As the Horses’ Bridles by The Millions’ own Scott Cheshire, which is no Brooklyn hipster novel: his opening scene (“among the finest published this year”) has a 12-year-old offering a prophecy of Armageddon.
Carolyn Kellogg rounded up a great list of “Terrible Beach Reads,” and it serves as a nice companion to Rachel Meier’s list of “Burnt-out Summer Reads.” However, if you’re looking for a few more titles that’ll keep you out of the water, allow me to suggest my all-time favorite shark-centric books: Susan Casey’s The Devil’s Teeth, Michael Capuzzo’s Close to Shore, and Doug Stanton’s In Harm’s Way.