Planet News

“American racism has many moving parts, and has had enough centuries in which to evolve impressive camouflage.”
Teju Cole / Black Body: Rereading James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” via The New Yorker



alternate names for black boys
By Danez Smith
1. smoke above the burning bush
2. archnemesis of summer night
3. first son of soil
4. coal awaiting spark & wind
5. guilty until proven dead
6. oil heavy starlight
7. monster until proven ghost
8. gone
9. phoenix who forgets to un-ash
10. going, going, gone
11. gods of shovels & black veils
12. what once passed for kindling
13. fireworks at dawn
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
15. (I thought to leave this blank
but who am I to name us nothing?)
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath
Source: Poetry Magazine (March 2014).

“For example, I remember reading Hemingway and loving his work so much—but then at some point, realizing that my then-current life (or parts of it) would not be representable via his prose style. Living in Amarillo, Texas, working as a groundsman at an apartment complex, with strippers for pals around the complex, goofball drunks recently laid off from the nuclear plant accosting me at night when I played in our comical country band, a certain quality of West Texas lunatic-speak I was hearing, full of way off-base dreams and aspirations—I just couldn’t hear that American in Hem-speak. And that kind of moment is gold for a young writer: the door starts to open, just a crack.”
George Saunders via Bomb Magazine

“When I read Flannery O’Connor, she really took the lid off my skull. Her blending of the grotesque and the comic as well as her reverence for mystery really affected me.”
Night Vision, Geoff Mak interviews Karen Russell – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

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