Poetry

Kenneth Goldsmith’s “The Body of Michael Brown”: How a Poem Meant to Illuminate Racism Ended Up Performing It

Last Friday, at a Brown University conference titled Interrupt 3, MoMA Poet Laureate Kenneth Goldsmith read from the St. Louis County autopsy report for Michael Brown, which he had appropriated and lightly edited for a poem he christened “The Body of Michael Brown.” The audience reaction, according to one report, was “fairly subdued.” The Twitter reaction was not. … Read More

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Words of Wisdom From Haiku and John Oliver: Links You Need to See

Daylight Saving Time has returned to rob us of our coveted hour of sleep for no apparent reason and unify us in fatigue and crankiness. But the Nacho Punch comedy group appreciates how precious our time is to us and has decided to do something about it. In this dramatic film we see a group of heroes embarking on what’ll surely be classified as the greatest mission in the history of humanity: getting our lost hour back and returning us to our original sleep cycles. Wish them well. … Read More

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Read Three Poems From Sarah Blake’s “Unauthorized Lyric Biography of Kanye West”

Sarah Blake‘s new book of poetry, Mr. West, is an “unauthorized lyric biography of Kayne West,” where the rapper serves as the muse for Blake’s poetry. Blake spends years thinking about West as father, son, boyfriend, husband, celebrity, genius. Through her poetry, Kanye becomes as sharp and multifaceted as a diamond, with a reflection that changes every time you look at it. Released on March 9, Mr. West is a unique and risky book. We’re happy to excerpt three of Blake’s poems — a selection that deals with Taylor Swift, the MTV Movie Awards, and “I Am a God.” Click through to read them. … Read More

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Can This Small Publisher’s Radiohead-Style Plan Change the Way Books Are Sold?

With the release poet Noah Eli Gordon’s The Word Kingdom in the Word Kingdom, Brooklyn Arts Press is attempting something rare in small publishing — they are trying to change the way books are sold. Specifically, BAP, run by managing editor and publisher Joe Pan, is selling Gordon’s books via a “pay what you want” model, in the vein of Radiohead and Louis CK, albeit with some significant differences. To begin with (and perhaps surprisingly) BAP is selling physical and not digital copies of the book — you pay only a five dollar S&H fee along with whatever price you choose. And the obvious thing: Radiohead and Louis CK were able to implement such a model because they are famous. Although Gordon is not famous, Brooklyn Arts Press is hoping that word-of-mouth, the model itself, and the quality of the book, which is excellent, will help drive sales. And it already seems to be working. … Read More

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Hello, Cruel World: Silvina Ocampo Is Argentina’s Literary Middle Child

Overlooked, cruel, ruthlessly inventive: Silvina Ocampo is the forgotten middle child in the storied family of Argentine Writers. In reality, she was the youngest of six children born in Buenos Aires; one of her older sisters, Victoria, founded the legendary literary magazine Sur. Silvina was introduced to a world of intellectuals and artists at a young age. She studied painting in Paris under the artists Giorgio de Chirico, Ferdenand Léger and André Lhote (painters who inspired the surrealists) before giving it up to pursue literature. At the age of thirty, she took the nineteen-year-old Adolfo Bioy Casares, the novelist who would grow up to write The Invention of Morel, as her lover. They married seven years later. … Read More

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Poetry as Criticism of Life: On Claudia Rankine’s Twin NBCC Nominations

The slate of finalists for the National Book Critics Circle award is strong — perhaps as strong as any shortlist in recent memory. With its stalwarts and new blood, its willingness to rescue books that should have been nominated for other awards while remaining unafraid of recognizing established authors, the list, inasmuch as it is a cross section of American literature in 2014, shows a thriving organism. … Read More

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Guessing Game: Edgar Allan Poe or Goth Song Lyrics?

Monday marks the birthday of O.G. Edgar Allan Poe — original goth (one of them, anyway). Poe’s morose poems and gloomy short tales populate the annals of gothic literature. The master of the macabre’s life wasn’t exactly cheery, either. Drugs, booze, depression, and family tragedy plagued Poe during his day — but in death we celebrate him with a guessing game only a real goth could appreciate. Inspired by the dank darkness of Poe’s danky doom, we present you with: Edgar Allan Poe or Goth Song Lyrics? Look deep into the abyss for the answers (or simply highlight or double-click them to view). … Read More

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Bienvenido Okey-Panky, New Home for Short, Weird Lit

Today marks the launch of Electric Literature’s Okey-Panky, an online magazine of “short, darkly comic, ironic, and experimental fiction, essay,… Read More

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The 10 Most Anticipated Poetry Books of 2015

Although many books aren’t slated until later in the first quarter, 2015 is already shaping up to be a major year for American poetry, especially with the return of favorites like Mary Jo Bang, new collected works from masters like Jorie Garaham, and a book from perhaps our greatest living poet, John Ashbery. Add to this mix the rediscovery (or first translation) of forgotten yet undeniably major poets like Alejandra Pizarnik and the arrival of younger poets like Uljana Wolf, and it’s clear that poetry in America is firing on all cylinders. … Read More

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