Arisa Wright hits the nail on the head in this piece for LitHub, titled simply “In Praise of Our Black Women Poets“: “Clifton’s remark disabused me of the idea that there is something I must erase to make my poetry universal. She freed my mind and body; she freed my verse.”
This weekend we posted our 1000th Tumbl. Since we jumped into the Tumblverse last autumn, we’ve been pretty vocal about how happy we are to be there, posting other curiosities, #LitBeat reports, the occasional cute puppy astronaut picture, and other digital ephemera. Of course, we wouldn’t love Tumblr half so hard if we were there on our lonesome; that’s why we made that handy guide to the other lit-loving Tumblogs that make our day on the regular.
Seeing as yesterday was Donald Barthelme’s birthday, it’s as good a time as any to remember the short fiction icon. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova reads Barthelme’s essay “Not-Knowing,” which you can find in the author’s collection of essays and interviews. Sample quote: “Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art.”
Meanwhile, in the commonwealth of Virginia, HB 516 is currently sailing through state legislature. What began as one mother’s outraged response to her 17-year-old son’s AP English assignment–reading Beloved by Toni Morrison–has morphed into a bill which would require school districts to do three things: flag any “sexually explicit” assigned material, allow parents to review all assigned readings to assess perceived levels of sexual explicitness, and finally, require teachers to provide alternate readings/avenues of study for any students whose parents deem particular content too inappropriate.