Category: Poetry & Drama

10 Thought Provoking Quotes by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, a literary genius, an advocate for feminists everywhere, a tormented, complicated soul, celebrates her would have been 138th birthday today. And on this special day, we want you to remember some of the remarkable sayings Woolf has blessed us with. So, here are 10 quotes by the prolific author, which makes us realize why she became such a profound figure worldwide.

1. On history

“Nothing has really happened until it has been described.”

image via bbc

 

2. on personal growth

“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

image via the new yorker

 

3. on comedy

“Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.”

image via buboquote

 

 

4. On feminism

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”

image via the new yorker

 

5. on fiction

“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

image via national portrait gallery

 

6. on aging

“The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.”

image via literary hub

 

 

7. on nature

“The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”

image via wikimedia

 

 

8. On diet

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

image via new statesman

 

9. on youth

“I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”

image via moniq’s artyfacts

 

 

10. on being authentic

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

image via Blogging woolf

These quotes make it easy for us to realize the impact Virginia Woolf has had on culture, feminism, life and writing, and why her significance is as prevalent to this day.

featured image via granta

 

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Literary Icons We Lost in the Last Decade

The 2010’s have been a notable decade for literature lovers. Starting with big corporate bookstores going out of business and making room for the indie bookstores, we also saw the rise of audio-books, as well as platform being given to strong female protagonists with books like, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl , The Girl on the Train and so on. But in the past ten years we’ve also lost a number of prolific icons from the literary world and here are some of those authors and poets who have touched our lives with their iconic works, which will continue to influence us and the generations to come.

J D Salinger

Image Via Independent

We’ve all read his famous book in high school, The Catcher in the Rye, which is a fantastic piece of work tackling many pressing issues such as identity, loss, and sex. Salinger also exhibits relentless talent in his short stories, such as in A Perfect Day for Banana Fish. The writer lived until the long age of 91, and breathed his last on January 27, 2010.

 

 

Maurice Sendak

Image Via PBS

Even if you can’t immediately recognize this talented author by his name, I’m certain we are all familiar with his famous book, Where The Wild Things Are, which is a celebrated children’s picture book, teaching kids about imagination, independence and overcoming fear. The author/illustrator left us on the 8th of May in 2012.

 

V.s naipaul

Image Via BBC

Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner, V. S Naipaul left the world on 11th August, 2018. His book In a Free State won him the Booker Prize and he was also awarded the Trinity Cross in 1990, and was also made a Knight Bachelor in 1990.

 

 

maya angelou

Image Via Read it Forward

It was a tragic day when the world lost literary legend Maya Angelou. Not only was she a prolific, talented poet, singer and memoirist, she was also a famous civil rights activist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Her book of poems, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie won the Pulitzer Prize and her autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, garnered much critical acclaims and went on to be made into a TV movie with the same name in April 1979. Her departure was a great loss for the entire world, but her legacy will continue to live on within her works.

 

stan lee

Image Via Esquire

On November 12, 2018, we bid farewell to the creator of The Amazing Spider-man, X-Men and all the other Marvel heroes who continue to dominate our lives since we were children. This man’s legacy cannot be put in words, as movies after movies continue to wow us with the foundations Stan Lee had built during his long standing career. When he passed at the ripe age of 95, it was when we thanked our stars for being born during his era, to enjoy the fruits of his creativity.

 

 

william goldman

Image Via Consequence

This remarkable American novelist, playwright and screenwriter left us on November 16, 2018. By the end of his career, William Goldman had received his first Academy Award for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and another for All the President’s Men. He also won two Edgar Awards, and was eventually given the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1985. But perhaps his most notable work is The Princess Bride, the popular fantasy-romance novel which came out in 1973, and was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1987.

 

 

fred bass

Image Via New York Post

While not everyone recognizes Fred Bass without a quick Google search, but be sure to know that this man has changed the lives of millions with his contribution to the book industry. Bass left us on January 3, 2018, but he made sure to leave the world a little more educated and tons more curious, with his creation of The Strand Bookstore in New York City. As one of the most popular bookstores in the world, with its eighteen miles of books, Strand has not just become a common household name for New Yorkers, but has won hearts of people all from over the world, all thanks to this kind and intelligent soul.

 

anthony bourdain

Image Via Robb Report

Although we mostly know Anthony Bourdain from his popular TV shows and his celebrity chef status, but we can’t forget that he first emerged as a writer in the late 90’s when his column came out in The New Yorker, Don’t Eat Before Reading This. This later resulted in Bourdain’s first book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, followed by his second, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, which was published in 2010. His demise was certainly a tragic one, leaving his fans in utter pain and disbelief, but his perception regarding the exploration of international cuisine, culture and human conditions has taught us all a few great things about not being scared of the unknown.

 

 

harper lee

Image Via ABC

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American Classic, and Harper Lee was a legend for the creation of such an impactful book during a time of turmoil and distress in the Americas. Her revolutionary vision, through the eyes of the young protagonist of her book, is evident and speaks volumes about her life as a child growing up during the Great Depression in the South, exploring topics such as regionalism as well as racism. The book has garnered her several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, as well as awarding her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, which was very well deserved. The world lost a power-house figure on February 19, 2016.

 

 

ursala k le guin

Image Via Syfy Wire

Ursala K Le Guin had written over twenty novels and one hundred short stories, spanning a literary career for almost sixty years before her passing on January 22, 2018. She had won eight Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards, making her one of the most influential Science Fiction writers of our time, and that too as a woman, considering that science has always been a supposed male dominated field. Legends like her give us hopes to break barriers and march on.

 

toni morrison

Image Via Newsday

The beloved Toni Morrison, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved, left a gaping hole in the literary world as she left us on August 5, 2019. She gained further recognition as she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was also the first African American female editor at Random House in New York in the 1960’s. During her lifetime, she has inspired many people of all color to break free of stereotypes and to live their truth, whatever that may be. Her writing is so influential that her fan base continues to grow since her departure. Her writing has been critiqued by notable editors and writers alike and to this day, it is praised for its daring narrative. If there should be a legendary writer, Toni Morrison is deserving of that title.

 

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5 Poets to Remind You Poetry Isn’t Boring

Poetry is always around but never really fore frontal in the literary community. Poetry seems to be deemed as sort of the bastard child of the writing world, and you may be thinking.. well yeh, why should folks be paying attention to poetry anyway? Here’s why: poetry is everything we do in life, the beauty, the heartbreak, the frustration, the anxiety, the ugly.. all of it, literally all of it.  Poetry captures and encapsulates the human experience in whimsy and word play, in language and love. If you are adverse to poetry, ask yourself why? What turns you off to it? What makes it difficult to enter and linger and savor? Pinpoint that and push through it because the reward will be sweet stanzas of rhythm, abstraction and a retelling of the world around us in the most beautiful and complexly minimal way. Here are some dope poets to be on the lookout for as you challenge yourself to fall in love with this genre all over again or for the first time if elementary school acrostics never landed for you.  These 5 contemporary poets should find their way to your hearts and minds. Spread their gospel like wildfire to hopefully begin to turn the tide to the mainstream because poetry isn’t only for poets.

  1. Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker is as beautiful and kind as she is brilliant. I was put on to Morgan when she dropped There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and since have been steadily collecting all of her works. Why? Because she looks critically at popular culture and how it affects our identities and relationships. Every word she writes screams of intersectionality, relevance and finding beauty in awkwardness. I think if Insecure wasn’t a popular Netflix show and was a poem instead, it would be a Morgan Parker poem. She gives me chills when I read her poems and when I see her read in person I am comforted and warmed by her spirit. From the bio page on her website:

Morgan Parker is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of the poetry collections Magical Negro (Tin House 2019), There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House 2017), and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015). Her debut young adult novel Who Put This Song On? will be released by Delacorte Press on September 24, 2019. A debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a dynamic craftsperson” of “considerable consequence to American poetry.”

http://www.morgan-parker.com/

 

  1. Hanif Abdurraqib

I was introduced to Hanif Abdurraqib by the statement ‘he is probably your favorite authors favorite author.’  And well I’ll be damned, he certainly is. A sneaker and ice cream enthusiast, Hanif doesn’t need to command a room, or a stage, a mic or a page- but he does so organically with his quiet, thoughtful, rhythmic musicality. His writing is musically charged and often from a place of being an observer at venues and in love. But he is far from just a fly on the wall. He is the guy you would dream could write your biopic. He is intentional in his wall flowering. His writing skills pull the reader in and creates any scene viscerally to follow along and add your own subtext as you move through his words. What other author could write just as purposefully about Carly Rae Jepsen as  he does Wu Tang? Well that dichotomy is where Hanif thrives. He is just as fluid and real about pop culture in all forms and his brilliance spills across every page he graces. From the about page on his website:

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He released Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, and was met with critical acclaim. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster, is being released by Tin House Books in September 2019.

http://www.abdurraqib.com/

 

 

 

 

  1. SamSax

sam sax’s writing is gritty, unforgiving, explorative and the slap in the face the 21st century needs in regards to couch surfing homosexuality and pill popping tendencies. His themes hit hard for most millennials and captures so much of the pain, happiness, misery, and loneliness that stems from medicine, love and relationships. sam uses poignant language to explore the depths of homosexuality in ways we often stray away or cringe from. He makes us look in the mirror and examine what we see. You can usually catch him with pretty sparkling nail polish and a hat that reads simply, homo. He is poetry in the human form. From sam’s website:

sam sax is a queer, jewish, poet, & educator. He’s the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017) winner of The National Poetry Series and ‘Bury It’ (Wesleyan University Press, 2018) winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, & the MacDowell Colony. He’s the two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion, author of four chapbooks & winner of the Gulf Coast Prize, The Iowa Review Award, & American Literary Award. His poems have appeared in BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Nation, Poetry Magazine + other journals. He’s the poetry editor at BOAAT Press & will be a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University this Fall.

https://www.samsax.com/

 

  1. Ross Gay

Ross Gay literally make you feel happiness even when life is throwing a poop storm your way. His beautifully intricate, complex writing finds ways to highlight the positive by using nature, small moments and connections to emerge as our purpose and silver lining. I came across Ross in a writing workshop in college where he shared two versions of Bring Down the Shovel- one where the boy killed the dog with a shovel and the other where the boy fed the dog with the shovel. Both were chilling and complex and visceral. Ross is the poet that can take a horrible moment and remind us why life is still worth living and ultimately beautiful. He works tirelessly to find beauty in anything and that’s honestly what poetry (and life) is all about. Ross makes you want to be a better person without the guilt or heavy handedness that typically comes with that sort of ask. Cause to be real, he isn’t asking you, he just is.  From Ross Gay’s about page:

Ross Gay is the author of three books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His collection of essays,The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019.

Ross is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.”  He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.  Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

https://www.rossgay.net/about

 

  1. Danez Smith

Danez Smith was hands down one of my favorite poets when their first and second book dropped but has slowly been losing my fandom as they skyrocket in fame. Some authors maintain that humble, mousy space that many writers embody. While other poets have more of a stage/ performance presence and in this case Danez can sometimes eclipse themselves. Danez’s poems are undeniable and the readings are also chilling, vibrant, poignant and necessary. Tackling content around friendships, AIDs, sex, masculinity, homoesxuality and stages of love their first two books were really groundbreaking in the layout, artwork and content and while the fire has died down a bit for me, I am still holding on and extremely engaged with their moves. It’s like when your favorite underground band makes its way to the top 10 list and becomes a household name and you yearn for those days the world and the band weren’t aware of themselves. From Danez’s website bio page:

Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of “Don’t Call Us Dead” (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award, and “[insert] boy” (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez’s work has been featured widely including on Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez has been featured as part of Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list and is the winner of a Pushcart Prize. They are a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, “Homie”, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020.

http://www.danezsmithpoet.com/bio-encore

 

Check these poets out, share their poems, hear their readings. Help bring poetry back into the mainstream and remind us all that we are all poetry. I promise they will never bore you or lose you. This list will help break down the stigma of stodgy old white dudes writing in metered rhyme about misogynistic, unrequited love.

Honorable mentions:

Jasmine Man

Terrance Hayes

Mahogany Brown

Roger Reeves

Jamaal May

Courtney Lamar Charleston

Nate Marshall

Matthew Zapruder 

 

All In-text Images Via Google.


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5 Poems To Get You In The Mood For Winter

The seasons have always been a point of interest for poets, writers, and artists. Winter, of course, is no exception to this rule.

So, to get you in the mood for winter, here are five poems (with links provided) that you should read this season.

 

 

1. Winter: My Secret by Christina Rossetti

 

image via Britannica

I tell my secret? No indeed, not I;

Perhaps some day, who knows? But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,

And you’re too curious: fie!

You want to hear it? well:

Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.

 

 

2. The Snow Fairy by Claude McKay

 

image via poetry foundation

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,

Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,

Whirling fantastic in the misty air,

Contending fierce for space supremacy.

And they flew down a mightier force at night,

As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,

And they, frail things had taken panic flight

Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.

I went to bed and rose at early dawn

To see them huddled together in a heap,

Each merged into the other upon the lawn,

Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.

The sun shone brightly on them half the day,

By night they stealthily had stol’n away.

 

 

3. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.

 

image via Britannica

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Very much so a classic!

 

4. A Winter’s Tale by Dylan Thomas

 

image via walesonline

IT is a winter’s tale

That the snow blind twilight ferries over the lake

And floating fields from the farm in the cup of the vales,

Gliding windless through the hand folded flakes,

The pale breath of cattle at the stealthy sail,

 

 

5. Winter Love by Linda Gregg

 

image via the new yorker

I would like to decorate this silence,

but my house grows only cleaner

and more plain. The glass chimes I hung

over the register ring a little

when the heat goes on.

I waited too long to drink my tea.

It was not hot. It was only warm.

 

 

Featured Image Via Public Domain Pictures

 

 


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Do You Know the Story Behind Your Favorite Song?

Happy National Jukebox Day everyone! We all know that songs are are used to tell stories of the past. From tribal chants that tell tales of ancient civilizations to even nursery rhymes that describe the horrors of the plague that ravaged Europe. So let’s take a look at five songs that are either inspired, retell or based on a written story. 

 

5-Love Story by Taylor Swift

Image result for taylor swift love story

Image via FLICKR 

 

We can’t make a list without discussing Taylor Swift Love Story. Taylor sings to the boy she is pining after that all he has to do is “just say yes,” even though its against her dad’s wishes because it’s a “love story.”  The song is re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s most famous play Romeo and Juliet. Taylor envisions herself as Juliet Capulet and her star-crossed lover as Romeo Montague try to begin their love story despite their family’s long standing blood feud. Even in the video she portrays herself as a princess in a castle waiting to be saved by her prince.

 

4-November Rain by Guns N’ Roses

Image result for november rain

IMAGE VIA WLUP.COM

 

November Rain is one of Guns N’ Roses most famous songs within their amazing catalog of music. Its music video depicts the story of a musician (played by Axl Rose) who’s lifestyle leads to the death of his wife (played by then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour.) Interestingly, this larger than life song is based on the short story Without You by Del James within his book The Language of Fear: Stories, a story about alcoholic and drug addict musician Mayne Mann, lead singer of a band named Suicide Solution, whose lifestyle causes the deterioration of this relationship with his wife. I won’t spoil the end of the story but I recommend reading it!

 

3-Xanadu by Rush

Image result for rush xanadu

IMAGE VIA PINTEREST

 

Rush’s song, Xanadu to one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s three great poems, Kubla Khan or a Vision in a Dream. The poem was written after Coleridge had an opium-influenced dream after he read a work that describes a man named Kubla Khan that travels Xanadu and found a fantastical amount of wonders. Xanadu was the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China, Kublai Khan. The song categorized as progressive rock that, spends approximately five of its eleven minutes with instrumental filled with synthesizers before getting to a retelling of the poem where a man who describes himself as a “mad immortal man” that waits for the world to end that came to Xanadu because he searched for immortality.

 

2-For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica

 

Image result for for whom the bell tolls metallica

IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE

 

The song For Whom the Bell Tolls, written by Metallica, is not retelling of the story of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, but it does describe the process of modern warfare as does the book that takes place during the “Spanish Civil War” which is viewed as the ‘dress rehearsal’ of World War Two. The song mainly borrows from chapter twenty-seven when the scene of five men are obliterated by the airstrike, as they wait for their death. The book follows Robert Jordan an American Spanish Language instructor that volunteers and involves himself with a Republican Guerilla Group.   

 

1-I am the Walrus by The Beatles

Image result for i am the walrus

IMAGE VIA NOW I KNOW

 

The song, I am the Walrus written John Lennon and Paul McCartney was a reference to ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter a poem written by Lewis Carroll that was told in his book, Through the Looking-Glass. The poem is about a walrus and a carpenter that trick a group of well dressed young oysters, so that the can eat them. The poem is recited to Alice by Tweedledee and Tweedledum. After hearing the poem Alice tries to decide which of the two characters were the more sympathetic. The funny part is that when John Lennon was asked why he used the Walrus, he admitted that he regrets using the Walrus because he didn’t realize that he was the villain of the story.

 

 

So next time you listen to your favorite song, take a look at the lyrics. Don’t be afraid to look up background information on the band as well. the You never know what story might find that inspired it.

 

Featured Image Via Now I Know

 

    

 

 


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