Historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain have done us all a serious solid by assembling a syllabus of readings around “what many simply call ‘Trumpism’: personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation.” The self-directed course contains readings from more than 100 scholars – including Audre Lorde, Aziz Ansari, and Ta-Nehisi Coates – and aims to “introduce observers to the past and present conditions that allowed Trump to seize electoral control of a major American political party.”
This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports “[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were ‘found poems’ constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed.” Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
At The New Yorker, Sarah Miller humorously learns why only positive book reviews might be a bad thing. “If St. Petersburg is the Little Engine That Could of city names, then the main character, Raskolnikov, is the Little Engine That Could of elderly pawnbroker murderers,” she writes in her review of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
The National Book Foundation announced this year’s “5 Under 35” authors. Three cheers for Jennifer duBois (A Partial History of Lost Causes), Stuart Nadler (The Book of Life), Haley Tanner (Vaclav & Lena), Justin Torres (We the Animals), and Claire Vaye Watkins (Battleborn, which we recently reviewed)!