Jamie Hood

  • Lady Lazarus

    IN THE POEM “POST,” from her posthumously published collection, The Cipher, Molly Brodak writes:

    The dead come back

    not for you,


    for themselves,

    to hear their own stories


    for the first time.

    I couldn’t shake the feeling while reading Molly—writer Blake Butler’s anguished chronicle of the decade he and Brodak, his late wife, spent together—that she was listening in, and that she and I had surfaced from some underwater place to bear witness to Butler’s act of witnessing, to choke down his story of her life

  • Come as You Are

    I WAS SEVENTEEN AND IN MY THIRD YEAR OF FRENCH when I learned the phrase la petite mort: “the little death.” The boy in class I had a crush on—what was it he called himself? Roland, Jean-Pierre, Henri?—informed me, whispering so Madame Chrétien wouldn’t overhear us, that it was meant to describe an orgasm, or rather (I discovered later, after experiencing more than the panicked fumbling of high school trysts), the untenanted feeling that comes after having had one. Of course, I thought, of course, great sex would be something like an annihilation of the self. In my diary, I wrote of my ache

  • Pictures from an Institution

    IN A VIRAL VIDEO from last October, Jamie Lee Curtis repeats the word “trauma” ad infinitum on the press circuit for Halloween Kills. The comedy comes partly from Curtis’s unorthodox pronunciation—trow-muh, not trah-muh—but also from the supercut’s temporal absurdity, how a word uttered repetitively and uninterruptedly misplaces meaning. The context of the slasher flick raised additional hackles: we’ll exploit trauma to elevate just about anything. The video appears, in hindsight, to be an early indicator that the tides were turning: now there was a slapstick, tacky sensibility to trauma’s

  • The Parent Trap

    ALL WOMEN ARE NOT UNHAPPY,” the Japanese writer Yūko Tsushima wrote in the Chicago Tribune, but women are made to suffer more “just because they are women.” By design, a system animated by capitalism and heteropatriarchy is especially cruel to single mothers. I remember nearly nothing of my childhood, yet I harbor acute recollections of my mother waitressing or bartending while I perched primly atop a barstool, memorizing my Mariah Carey cassette and learning what humiliation borne of economic necessity looks like. The phrase “to make ends meet” has one origin in dressmaking, meaning to gather