paper trail

Merve Emre on pedagogical criticism and community; Daphne A. Brooks in conversation with Jamila Woods

Merve Emre

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jonathan Russell Clark profiles academic, author, and critic Merve Emre. They discuss writing across modes, community, and Emre’s stance that good criticism should be pedagogic. For her, the appeal of writing criticism for general audiences lies in its flexibility: “you can think historically, you can use close reading, you can use personal anecdote, you can be artful, you can tell a story while also making an argument. And none of those things needs to detract from one another—they can all be totally syncretic, and add up to something that, yes, might be crowded and might be fast, but I think approximates what it’s like to be in a reader’s mind.”

For the New York Times, Audrey Wollen writes about Clarice Lispector’s newly translated 1949 love story, An Apprenticeship or The Book of Pleasures. The first word of the novel, Wollen notes, actually happens to be a comma: “An invisible, eternal sentence streams from both ends of the work, more meaning that precedes and follows what we are reading. The entire book is only a fragment. (This is less abstract than it sounds: Aren’t we all born into the middle of someone else’s life?)”

The Marshall Project explains its style policies for referring to people who are or have previously been detained in prison and the logic of “people-first” language.

Elias Rodriques interviews Mariame Kaba, the activist and author behind the Prison Culture blog, for The Nation. For Kaba, the project of prison abolition is explicitly feminist, global, anticapitalist, and collaborative. “My personal desires and views are interesting to me, but abolition isn’t Mariame Kaba’s vision of the world. I want to engage with other people, to learn from their ideas to refine my own and to change my mind, which I think more people should be open to.”

A previously unpublished novel by Richard Wright, The Man Who Lived Underground, will be available on April 20 from the Library of America. At the New York Times, Noor Qasim talks with Wright’s daughter, Julia Wright, who found the manuscript in his archives at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, about the “no-brainer” decision to publish the lost novel.

In the new episode of Bookforum and Artforum’s series “Artists on Writers | Writers on Artists,” scholar Daphne A. Brooks talks with poet/singer/songwriter Jamila Woods about archives as wellsprings, the lifeworlds of Black women and girls, and what it means to practice care in all its many registers.

Tonight, the Mark Twain House & Museum and Harper’s Magazine will host Christine Smallwood and Christopher Beha discussing Smallwood’s new novel, The Life of the Mind.