Nicole Dennis-Benn discusses her latest book, Patsy, a novel that explores issues of motherhood, the working class, sexual identity, and immigration, with Concepción de León. The complicated protagonist of the novel makes a series of difficult decisions throughout the book, forcing Dennis-Benn to take on perspectives not always familiar to her. “Sometimes I take breaks, maybe a week or two to really assess, ‘What am I really judging?’ For example, with the motherhood part, I’m judging this woman who absolutely cannot embrace her role as a mother. Realizing I had to really unpack my own upbringing, my own socialization as a Jamaican woman—or a woman, in general—and then move forward.”
This is a fantastic piece on W. H. Auden, “The Murder of Lidice”, and the importance of the ideological and political contexts of war. Joanna Bourke writes, “the flood of poems [after the Lidice massacre] actually served to draw attention away from the people of Lidice and towards the swollen sensibilities of the poets and their readers.”
The Atlantic is kicking off its new series, YA for Grown Ups, with an examination of “The Greatest Girl Characters in Young Adult Literature.” Obviously The Hunger Games‘s Katniss Everdeen is up there, but don’t worry, Ramona Quimby makes the list too.
Harvard and MIT are partnering for an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) known as edX. Currently, similar offerings are available from Stanford, Princeton, UPenn, and the University of Michigan. Unfortunately edX and others like it will grade student papers by utilizing “crowd-sourcing” and “natural-language software.” Oh, geeze. Not that again.
“If I’m writing something about my period, it doesn’t mean that I’m not an intellectual. I can write an intellectual essay about my navel or a whole book about my period.” The Literary Hub has a transcript of Red Ink’s panel discussion on literary misfits, including Marcy Dermansky, Melissa Febos, Michele Filgate, Sarah Gerard, Emily Raboteau, and Lidia Yuknavitch. And we will never, ever miss a chance to mention Yuknavitch’s essay in our own pages about grief.
HTML Giant contributor Jimmy Chen has written a masterful and hysterical piece for McSweeney’s entitled “Raymond Carver’s OKCupid Profile, Edited by Gordon Lish.”