Out this week: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi; The Château by Paul Goldberg; Some Hell by Patrick Nathan; Mrs. by Caitlin Macy; Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin; Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher; and The Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick.
Somewhere along the way, the word “cool” became “the most popular slang term of approval in English.” Humanities has a pretty cool (hip, rad, dope, groovy, punk, hot, sweet) theory, tracing it as far back as Zora Neale Hurston’s collection Mules and Men, and the time when “cool was black… cool was jazz.” (Related reading: the most excellent Hepster’s Dictionary (pdf) of 1939 jive talk, and our own history of the slang word “like.”)
“I think it’s important that poets exist in societies because they exist in the realm of affect. Feeling is important to them. How people feel, what they feel, what breaks them, how trauma resonates through their lives… that’s a legitimate space in poetry. It’s a legitimate space for investigation.” Aaron Coleman interviews Citizen author Claudia Rankine about intimacy, her writing process, and her experience in an MFA program.
“[C]ommunity building takes a lot of time and effort and can take a long time to pay off. It’s the long con that’s not a con.” In Electric Literature‘s “Blunt Instrument” column, Elisa Gabbert takes on the topic of writing with chronic illness and disability. See also: our own advice columnists Swarm and Spark!
Writing for Vouched Books (of which I’ve raved previously), Tyler Gobble dedicates his “Best Thing I’ve Read This Week” column to Laurie Saurborn Young’s Patriot chapbook. The work collects thirteen poems – each entitled “Patriot” – which “craft as they go a sense of living, having lived, the naming as a startling mechanism to remind just how much there is here, right here, hello.”
You may have heard that our own Bill Morris has a new book on shelves. He talked about it with fellow Millions staff writer and California author Edan Lepucki. At the LARB, Diana Clarke reviews the book, which she calls “a sharp critique of the contemporary American post-racial narrative,” among other things.