Shannon Watts was in college when the massacre at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, TX occurred. She was a young mother with small children at the time of Columbine. A slightly older mother when Virginia Tech happened. And the Gabby Giffords shooting. And Sandy Hook. And El Paso. For the L.A. Review of Books, a conversation on gun violence, “thoughts and prayers,” and Watts’s new book Fight Like a Mother, which chronicles the founding of grassroots action network Moms Demand Action. “An experience I’ve had over and over is waking up to the news of a horrific shooting tragedy in this country and then my day is done. … Similar to secondhand smoke, in this country, we have secondhand trauma from gun violence because it is so ever-present.”
John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, was a dear friend (even protégé) of King Charles II. He was also a sharp-tongued poet who called out the same King on his bedroom behavior: “His sceptre and prick are of a length; / And she may sway the one who plays with th’other.”
A while back, our own Mark O’Connell argued that Flann O’Brien, in The Poor Mouth, was the funniest writer who ever lived. Now, in an essay, Erin Somersin says the title should go to Mordecai Richler instead. She writes about the Canadian author’s unique sense of humor in a piece for the Ploughshares blog.
“History is littered with poets… who set up their own presses to publish their work, because it was so different from the normal forms of the time. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard are one example- they started their own press called the Hogarth Press (it is still going today) to publish collections of their work.” Self-publishing is something we’ve written about many times before, but Sarah Gonnet raises a good point – self-publishing isn’t truly a new phenomenon, and it does allow for a great deal of creative freedom.