In Falconetti Drinks the Water of Anguish, by Garrett Saleen, Rene Falconetti is dying. An expatriate of Paris living and working in Rio de Janerio, Falconetti reminisces on her life as an underappreciated theater actress. This story is good. It is beautifully written, non-linear, and sad. Here’s a line: “The landscape passes like a dream—everything is wet and swollen and seething, the air is sick with the smell of garbage and swamp, and in every direction the marshes slowly swallow the jungle and soon there will be only green water and blue sky.” From The Collagist.
In The New York Times Magazine, Claudia Rankine (author of Citizen, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and more) discusses Serena Williams. Specifically, The Meaning of Serena Williams, makes a thoughtful argument for the nuanced ways that Williams is treated differently in her profession purely based on the color of her skin. It is an illuminating essay regarding the notion of “black excellency” and the idea that some people have to work harder to gain “equality.”
The essay, On Erasure, by Mary Ruefle (author of Madness, Rack, and Honey, Trances of the Blast, and more) beautifully explains Ruefle’s process for writing “erasure poetry.” This is a type of writing that is entirely dependent on elimination. You take a previously published work (a book, newspaper, magazine, etc,) and use white-out, ink, paint, or anything you want to systematically and carefully obscure certain words. The result is a few, intentionally chosen words floating on the page to create an entirely new work. Ruefle defends the beauty of erasure in this essay with the line: “life is much, much more than is necessary, and much, much more than any of us can bear, so we erase it or it erases us, we ourselves are an erasure of everything we have forgotten or don’t know or haven’t experienced, and on our deathbed, even that limited and erased “whole” becomes further diminished, if you are lucky you will remember the one word water, all others having been erased; if you are lucky you will remember one place or one person, but no one will ever, ever read on their deathbed, the whole text, intact and in order.” From Quarter After Eight.
Where the Words Grow on Trees, by Paul Constant, is the story of poet Shin Yu Pai and her ongoing public art project, HEIRLOOM, that is site-specific to Piper’s Orchard in Seattle. The words of her poems are “tattooed,” through a process that Pai developed, onto the apples in the orchard. Her work is meant to connect the observer with the agricultural process, and inspire reflection on their relationship with food. “Until you see a word printed on the side of an apple, you don’t really ever quite realize how unnatural words are. Most adults can’t separate the word from the object without strenuous mental effort: sky, water, leaf, orchard, apple, person, word. But to find a word like this in nature? And not even the right word? If the apple was labeled “apple,” that would make more sense, somehow. But even so, it feels wrong, an artificial juxtaposition that makes the juices of your brain effervesce in alarm.” Published in Lithub
Here is a Kirkus review of the forthcoming memoir, Don’t Suck, Don’t Die, by Kristin Hersh. The memoir centers on Hersh’s long-term friendship with musician Vic Chestnutt. Having experienced a tragic car accident at the age of 18 that left him partially paralyzed, Chestnutt spent the majority of his musical career in a wheelchair with limited movement in his hands. The music he made is gut-punching; it embraces a seldom expressed type of sorrow. Hersh’s account of their friendship is at once endearing and painfully devastating.
From Kenyon Review comes the poem, I Try to Peel An Egg While Reading A Book, by Thea Goodrich. It’s about peeling an egg and reading a book and I really like it.