“I mostly find it sad. I understand that super religious people would not be there supporting it, but to go the extra mile to fight it when you could just not come kinda shocked me!” The Huffington Post reports on Brandon James, a drag performer whose plans to read to kids about acceptance at a North Carolina public library were scuttled after some of its patrons complained. We suppose the march of progress is never neat (via Book Riot).
It’s been one week since the “Friday Night Lights” finale aired on network television, and it seems as though the entire internet is grieving. Two Grantland pieces: an oral history and a tongue-in-cheek analysis; an opinion piece juxtaposing Peter Berg‘s low-rated drama against “Glee”‘s success; and now even The Paris Review has thrown its hat into the ring. All of this, of course, comes on the heels of our own Sonya Chung‘s piece last April.
What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?
Zachary Lazar talks to Mary Jo Bang about her radical translation of Dante’s Inferno: in an attempt to render the shock Dante caused by writing in conversational Italian rather than the conventional Latin, Bang translated Dante’s text in modern-day English adorned with references to American pop culture. A sample of the text is available online.
“It’s really strange to have the success of a poem be so directly tied to people processing grief. It’s a strange thing, because it’s a blessing and a curse.” The Rumpus interviews poet Maggie Smith about her new collection, Good Bones, her viral poem that shares its name, and her craft. From our archives: Smith’s collection was featured in our round-up of October’s Must-Read Poetry.
Forgive us for being slow on the uptake, Colorado residents, but this is the first I’m hearing of Aspen Public Radio’s First Draft radio show, which features interviews with numerous authors of wide acclaim. A casual glance at the show’s online archives, for instance, turns up the likes of Paul Harding, Kevin Barry, Laura van den Berg, Edwidge Danticat, and Ben Fountain. (h/t Edan Lepucki)