March is Women’s History Month, making it a good time to look back on the authors who have shaped us. For the New York Times, Min Jin Lee recounts the paradigm-shifting experience of reading bell hooks as a sophomore at Yale. “[It] was as if someone had opened the door, the windows, and raised the roof in my mind,” Lee writes. “I am neither white nor black, but through her theories, I was able to understand that my body contained historical multitudes and any analysis without such a measured consideration was limited and deeply flawed.”
It’s not every day that you come across a defense of literary elitism, but The Guardian’s Nicholas Lezard is tired of explaining that not everyone is a critic. “What I want when I read a book review is to find out what someone cleverer than me and better read than me thinks about whatever’s being reviewed,” he writes.
As Teju Cole demonstrated with his real-time ghazals (one, two, and three) this past week, Twitter is a medium ripe for linguistic experimentation. And far from being the exclusive domain of human beings, the social network can also produce “found poetry” at the behest of computer programs – a practice I recently wrote about for The Bygone Bureau. But who’s behind these Twitter bots? Over at The Boston Globe, they check in with Darius Kazemi, the 30-year-old programmer who’s made some of the most-loved accounts out there.
Callie Collins sits down with Emily Bell, the editor of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Originals, in the latest issue of Midnight Breakfast. Bell also published Lucia Berlin’s recent story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women. Bell states: “The voices I publish, they’re not trying to please their readers.”
Practically everyone with a pulse loves Patti Smith. Celebrate Sunday by listening to her speak about Virginia Woolf’s cane, Charles Dickens’s pen, and a few other literary talismans. Here’s a handy Spotify playlist which gathers every song from Smith’s award-winning memoir Just Kids.
“You’re following some cute glyph about smoking, then one about stationary, then dirty dishes and some mischievous cat—then it’s suddenly ‘Not your father’s safari jacket’ followed by pearl puddles, LIBERATOR dildos, Quaker teens, rehab, troubled teens, and more jackets. It’s like a mini-Buñuel movie! And they expect you to keep following along with Malcolm Gladwell, or whoever it is, over there to the left? Why would you? You want to shout, Hey Malcolm, can you shut up about Twitter and explain the neo-surrealist montage unfolding perversely in the margins?” The strange amalgamation that is the magazine ad column.