I'm on a boat. Let's talk about water and air and land travel. Or sea creatures and rare insects. Or better yet, let's talk poets: Alice Notley, Harryette Mullen, Rosemarie Waldrop, William Carlos Williams, Anne Carson, Emily Dickinson, Frank O'Hara, Liz Waldner, Jack Spicer, and the list goes on...
...And here is some more inspiration.
You may not know it yet, but these are the short stories you’ve been waiting for. Celebrated performance artist and indie film maker Miranda July brings her quirky candor and fierce wit to the page. This collection reveals her unique power to make us wince, squirm, squeal, gasp and sigh, evoking everything from embarrassment and empathy, to anguish, ecstasy and delight. At the heart of July’s trademark style is an ability to expose human vulnerability and desire without limitation, to explore sexual taboos, private neuroses and interpersonal mishaps without guilt. The language and sentiment of her prose is brazen, the thought processes of her characters unpredictable and fascinating. Whether or not you have indulged in sexual fantasies about British royalty, gone searching for lost dogs, confronted a midnight intruder in your hallway, attended bizarre community craft classes, or struggled to make ends meet as a teen performer in a strip club, you will inevitably find some part of yourself in these characters. Caught between the mundane and the extraordinary or erotic, we find human nature reveling in its most awkward beauty.
The art of short story writing is too often underestimated. This is hands-down one of the smartest, funniest, most forthright story collections I’ve come across (along with Amy Hempel’s Collected Stories). Moore achieves a rare balance of heart, wit and tough love, while demonstrating a true command of language and dialogue—all characteristic qualities of her previous work. She brings to life charming, sassy characters I’d love to spend the afternoon with and brandishes some killer first lines with just the right dose of dry humor: “It was a fear greater than death, according to the magazines”... “I tell them dance begins when a moment of hurt combines with a moment of boredom”... “In her last picture, the camera had lingered at the hip, the naked hip, and even though it wasn’t her hip, she acquired a reputation for being willing.”
Bold and bizarre—a literary B-side well worth investigating. Don’t be thrown off track by the droll character and place names or the absurd shenanigans that arise. First consider some of the players: a dead California real estate mogul, an insecure radio DJ, a stoner surf band, a co-dependent psychiatrist, a reckless child-actor-turned-lawyer, countless secret societies, and the inquisitive, twentysomething protagonist named Oedipa. Before long, it becomes a pleasure to unpack Pynchon’s labyrinthine sentences in a plot playfully interspersed with characters bursting into song, a medieval tragedy, mad scientists and conspiracy theories gone awry. As the narrator observes, “Things then did not delay in turning curious.” With a deluge of fierce wit, impeccable pacing, and amusing nonsequiturs, this smart novella defies its 152 pages.
A mesmerizing graphic novel that follows a compassionate, intelligent, and rebellious girl coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Set alongside her own captivating black and white illustrations, Satrapi’s candid narrative seamlessly weaves together personal and political history, without avoiding or oversimplifying the brutal reality of the Shah’s regime or the effects of war (and without forgetting that even in the darkest hours there exist moments of humor). This young revolutionary proves herself wise beyond her years, actively shaping her own intellectual and political identity in the midst of the radical social change, violence and political oppression that surround her. A thought-provoking and important book for people of all ages.
You thought plays could only be enjoyed in an auditorium? Not exactly. Chances are you haven’t experienced the scope of contemporary drama until you’ve sat down with the extraordinary work of this poet-turned-playwright. In these unpredictable scenes you might find a disgruntled housekeeper searching for a joke so perfect it could actually kill, or a Greek myth reinvented alongside weeping stones, or a woman so depressed she turns into an almond. Regardless of what may appear to be happening, each skit is a clever concoction of tight dialogue and often impossible stage directions that reveal Ruhl’s keen ability to challenge dramatic conventions. Here, the illogical and imaginary world is your playground.