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Ashley M. Jones becomes Alabama’s first Black poet laureate; Marlowe Granados and Rachel Tashjian in conversation tonight

Marlowe Granados

Ashley M. Jones has been named Alabama’s poet laureate. Jones is the state’s first Black poet laureate and the youngest writer to hold the title. She recently talked with NPR about her new book of poems, Reparations Now!: “What I mean when I say reparations is that I want what we are owed, which means for me as a Black person, I want to be able to walk into a room with my hair however it is fixed, with my skin as dark or as light as it is, and not feel immediately targeted.”

Tonight, Powerhouse arena in Brooklyn hosts Marlowe Granados and Rachel Tashjian to talk about Granados’s new novel Happy Hour. It might not be a typical bookstore reading, as Granados tweeted: “I am only doing one in-person event in New York and I hear all the party girls are coming to attend their ‘first book party.’"

At Esquire, the story behind “The Falling Man,” an essay from the magazine’s September 2003 issue. The original piece, by Tom Junod, was about Richard Drew’s photograph of a man plummeting from a World Trade Center tower on 9/11. Junod and reporter/editor Andrew Chaikivsky worked to find out who the falling man was and to process the meaning of his very public death. Reflecting on the story nearly twenty years later, Alex Belth writes, “It’s an inquiry—a mystery that compelled one writer and would not let him rest until he had tried to give that mystery a proper resolution—for the man’s family, yes, but for all of us.”

A consortium of more than fifty newsrooms is banding together to highlight stories and issues in rural American communities.

In Jewish Currents, Claire Schwartz reviews a new book of paintings by George W. Bush. Surveying Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants, Schwartz observes: “In one sense, this volume doesn’t matter; if these unremarkable paintings were not the work of a former president, they would never have made it off the family estate. But in another, the book is a curiously revealing document—an artifact that betrays liberal empire’s role not as fascism’s alternative but as its co-conspirator.”

Karen Tei Yamashita will be honored by the National Book Foundation with this year’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, a lifetime achievement award. Yamashita is the author of eight books, most recently Sansei and Sensibility, and numerous plays.