weekend links: poetry scandal, the power of stories, sadcoms

Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag. Courtesy of T Magazine/Peter Hujar Archive LLC and the Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

The poetry world was rocked by scandal this week when it was revealed that The Best American Poetry 2015 selectee Yi-Fen Chou is actually the pseudonym of white male Indiana resident Michael Derrick Hudson. This act of cultural appropriation put BAP 2015 editor Sherman Alexie in a bind, as he chose the work in part because he believed it was written by a poet of Chinese descent. Alexie’s defense is well worth reading, as is this piece, which takes him to task for his decision. [Jezebel]

Yesterday was September 11th, and so it was a good time to revisit John Hodgman’s words, as McSweeney’s does each year. Remember the power of stories. Stories make sense when so much around us is senseless—and even when they don’t, we can rest assured that somebody put some thought into writing them, that there was some sort of purpose in their creation. [McSweeney’s]

Speaking of stories: are you a Narrative or a Non-narrative? That is, do you construct and experience your life as a story? And if so, are you but one logical, coherent character, or a number of disparate, seemingly incompatible ones? This essay explores the concept of narrative as a lens through which one views personal identity, and doubles as a literary kaleidoscope in the process. [Aeon]

Remember the glory of late ’70s New York? Robert Mapplethorpe. Jasper Johns. Patti Smith and Susan Sontag. The birthplace of punk. The apogee of glamour, especially in gay circles, before the AIDS crisis put an end to the party. Nostalgia is a dangerous thing—but the danger is what makes it all so alluring. [T Magazine]

How do you feel about sadcoms? I, for one, am a huge fan. Who would have thought that one of the few television programs I relate to would be a show about a washed-up, alcoholic, anthropomorphic horse? The world is a crazy, disappointing, meaningless but ultimately beautiful place. [Vulture]

Austin fans—the Best of Austin 2015 awards have been announced! Although fields did not win for “Best Local Non-Chronicle Publication,” we want to congratulate Kelly Dugan and the rest of the Peach Fuzz team, along with all of the other winners, especially our dear friend Maggie Lea. It’s good to know that sometimes the popular favorites really are the most deserving. [Austin Chronicle]

—Sean Redmond

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