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“At the beginning, when this was the seat of power between the election and the inauguration, it felt subversive to stand here and hold a book. (…) It still feels like contested space. But now, instead of protesters, it’s occupied by Secret Service and law enforcement.” Jeff Bergman, who stages readings in the public spaces […]

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I don’t think teenagers reading literature need to see a world they know; I think they need to see a world they know isn’t bullshit. John Green

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Reading is complicity in the creative process. Marina Tsvetaeva

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Writing is embodiment. Reading is contact. Edward Hirsch How to Read A Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999) (facebook I twitter I instagram)

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Like punk rock, literature is a kind of subculture. Most people can’t be bothered to dive in. Hopefuls can be dissuaded when a longtime member’s protective passion reads as exclusivity. But ask anyone who’s fallen hard for one and they’ll tell you—becoming part of an art scene will change your life (that’s not to say […]

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I know, I know (as Kurt Vonnegut used to say when people told him that the Germans attacked first). It sounds crazy. It sounds like a fantastic last-ditch effort to make sense of a lunatic universe. But there is so much more to this book. It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; […]

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Fortunately, all of the poetry I was discovering in and out of the classroom (most notably Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde) showed me how to come to grips with disaster without becoming one, and how to live in an unjust world, and in a culture that loves to “not get” poetry, without becoming bitter. I’m […]

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Read the Political Divide

Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends two books to read to understand the current US – and help each ‘side’ understand the other:  This year’s National Book Award finalist Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild about tea party supporters in Louisiana, and last year’s winner Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  […]

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Elena Ferrante and Privacy As A Part of Writing and Reading

The “real” identity of Italian writer Elena Ferrante was recently unmasked by a male journalist who, with an investigative intensity usually reserved for political and critical cases, used financial records to prove his case. Camila Domonoske wrote a great, concise round up of the case and reactions for NPR, aptly titled “For Literary World, Unmasking […]

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Books I Read in August

August’s been a pretty good month reading-wise. I finished a novel and read another for the #2016classicschallenge – Ingrid Bachmann’s Malina and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon – and a wide range of other books: Ingrid Bachmann: Malina I picked up this book at my parent’s one weekend in July, and decided to read the […]