"Camping Essentials" by Oliver Bendorf via Hobart
Arielle Bernstein’s "Moon over Egypt" essay
Poem "Millenial" by Allyson Paty for PEN Poetry Series
Kassi Underwood at Guernica
"Seventeen" by Kate Mooney at The Literarian
“We are always inhabiting more than one realm of existence—but they all fit in if the art is right.”
Why it is sometimes difficult fathoming BIG POETRY (canon’d, collection’d, compulsory’d) coming from a tiny (rural, isolated) life.
But also here: Neidecker’s look at me/don’t look at me impulses rightly cast as products of place rather than gender. The contradictions visibly written into her work. Seeking and shirking success. The car that’s always stalled.
It’s hard not to glorify her, saying: "wouldn’t want my fellow workers to know I write poetry—just wouldn’t do.” Though I find no tragedy in her legacy at all.
Friend and funny man Josh Gondelman writes his Tough Mudder story, involving Wheaties and plenty of tribal tattoos, at Esquire.
Onnesha Roychoudhuri’s essay "Artifacts" at The Rumpus.
xTx’s essay on writing and identity at The Weaklings.
Brian Blanchfield’s "On Housesitting" at Guernica.
Courtney Maum’s ongoing column "Eat Them, I Don’t Know: John Mayer’s Guide to Foraging" at Barrelhouse.
Two poems by Evan Leed on shabby doll house (with art by Sarah Jean Alexander)
"Hymnal" by William VanDerBerg on Monkeybicycle
“A Closet Full of Costumes" by Mary Miller at Hobart
Juliet Escoria’s terribly good good “The Other Kind of Magic" on Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s Sunday Stories (from back in may but who cares)
Patriotism and patriarchy, from Roxane Gay on Salon
And I loved this interview with Lindsay Hunter on The Short Form because duh
the confessional essay (not just memoir) has become the modus operandi for many young writers, mostly female, being published on the Internet. It’s just as likely to be trashed on as it is treasured; to be deemed “brave” and “searingly honest” as well as “navel-gazing” and “trivial”, and often times, the dismissals are much worse. I sometimes wonder if its this charged polarity that brings some writers to the genre, and find myself making some of the same complaints against it as critics, mostly older males, have made. Really, when I’m reading a stream-of-consciousness, anti-stylized confession piece, what’s missing is any sign of craft, any remaining glint that the writer had paused along the way, to consider her details, why this one would appear before that one, or appear without context, or appear at all. Narrative is necessary whenever a reader is intended. Good writing can contain brave and honest elements. But confessional writing alone does not equal good writing.
Anyway. Michelle Dean does a thorough job of unpacking the recent history of the genre, and even tackles its marketing.
I could mostly care less if a piece of writing is true or not. Will it blow my mind? Then give it here.