Claudia Rankine profiled tennis star Serena Williams for the New York Times: “For black people, there is an unspoken script that demands the humble absorption of racist assaults, no matter the scale, because whites need to believe that it’s no big deal. But Serena refuses to keep to that script…. She shows us her joy, her humor and, yes, her rage. She gives us the whole range of what it is to be human, and there are those who can’t bear it, who can’t tolerate the humanity of an ordinary extraordinary person.”
“As I said, nobody likes quotas. But the obvious distaste coiled within the word here unsettles me. In that distaste, I see the idea that any consideration of gender balance or racial diversity is demeaning. As if to curate with an eye toward inclusivity would result in a lesser product, something sullied, something diluted and dumbed down. What this argument fails to account for is the fact that our very idea of which work qualifies as good and worthy is influenced by our culture’s notion of who is worthy, and who is worth listening to.” — Camille Rankine for Nat. Brut on building literary spaces that support a multiplicity of voices.
In her forthcoming memoir Negroland, Margo Jefferson chronicles her experiences with depression as a young black woman at the height of the feminist movement’s second wave: “But one white female privilege had always been withheld from the girls of Negroland. Aside from the privilege of actually being white, they had been denied the privilege of freely yielding to depression, of flaunting neurosis as a mark of social and psychic complexity.”
Lydia Kiesling reviewed Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Purity, for The Millions: “If there’s anything that denotes a Franzen text, it’s a socio-cultural rant, and the slightly Bill-and-Ted-like deployment of the adjective ‘excellent.’”
Good news! Everyone’s favorite Mariah Carey song will soon be a book.
Surprise surprise, the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists “do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict.” Donate to Planned Parenthood here.
Earlier this week, Red Hen Press founder Kate Gale wrote a bewilderingly racist, homophobic blog post for HuffPo defending AWP’s lack of transparency and diversity. The post has since been removed and replaced with a half-assed apology. Of course AWP’s executive director David Fenza believes that Gale was only “standing up for” AWP and “saying something positive about this great trade show we participate in every year.” Okay, David. Sure.
Jesmyn Ward discussed Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in an interview with Gwen Ifill for PBS: “I see how hard it is, you know, for the kind of people that I wrote about in Salvage the Bones, you know, for the poor, members of my family, for the people in my community to live here, make a living here, attempt to, you know, have some sort of future here, it’s — I think it’s become especially difficult after the storm.”
With the publication of The Story of the Lost Child next month, Elena Ferrante’s series of Neapolitan novels is finally complete. In an interview with Elissa Schappell for Vanity Fair, Ferrante talks about female friendship and why she likes “stories in which the effort to reduce experience to story progressively undermines the confidence of she who is writing, her conviction that the means of expression at her disposal are adequate, and the conventions that at the start made her feel safe.” You can read an excerpt from The Story of the Lost Child here.
What did we miss this week? Let us know in the comments! <3