Tag Archives: essays

Taking My Time: On The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

I hope you will capture Today

Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies

Randon Billings Noble author photo

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times; Brain, Child; The Georgia Review; Shenandoah; The Rumpus; Brevity; Fourth Genre and elsewhere.  She is a nonfiction editor at r.kv.r.y quarterly, Reviews Editor at PANK, and a reviewer for The A.V. Club.  You can read more of her work at www.randonbillingsnoble.com.


30 April

Today I read to page 32 in The Folded Clock and loved it so much I started writing a letter to a friend – a real letter, not an email or message or text – to tell her about it.  This friend and I used to live in the same city, but now we don’t, so we write letters to each other maybe once a month or so.

I like to write letters. I like addressing the envelope, picking out a stamp that fits the…

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Dear Academia: Opposing Views Are Not “Discursive Violence”

This is worth sharing. Perhaps you agree.

liberal left behind

One of modern liberalism’s biggest problems is that we have taken after the Bush Administration in allowing euphemisms to redefine concepts that are already well-defined.  Why, the U.S. doesn’t torture because we don’t “torture.”  We engage in “enhanced interrogation.”  Unfortunately, the left-wing engages in this bastardization of Webster’s in a distinctly Orwellian way.  Once we co-opt a word or concept, we can use it as a weapon.  You see this in online communities.  Tweeting someone without asking for permission is “harassment.” (Not to mention a Catch-22.)  A doctor engaging in lifesaving measures during childbirth is “birth rape.”  You oppose harassment and rape, right?  So you better agree with us or you are a harasser or rape apologist.

Noted “equity feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers spoke at Oberlin College.  Ah, college.  The marketplace of ideas, where young people go to try out new thoughts and to figure out what they really…

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Do Book Review Bloggers Need Credentials?

Thought provoking commentary about an LARB piece.

Los Angeles Review of Books

The Misfortune Of Knowing

Graffiti Reviews_Courting SamiraThis week, the blogosphere and Twitter have been abuzz about a pompous piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books* by William Giraldi that likened book bloggers to leeches on literature and our medium—the internet—as “a bog to wiggle around in.” If you want a good laugh, read his description of the current climate of literary criticism as:

a climate in which the Net has spawned a cacophony of gabble impersonating literary comment, palaver and vulgate enough to warp you. Literature has always had its leeches, except now the Net has given every one of them a bog to wiggle around in. This wouldn’t be any more of an issue than it is to ignore the wastrel on the corner dispensing pamphlets on anarchy, but as respectable print publications either prune their space for book commentary or else go extinct altogether, more and more criticism — like more and more…

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On Ben Affleck and Slavery

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Matthew Barlow

A few years back, I was contacted by the producers of Who Do You Think You Are?, a popular TV genealogy show, to help them with an episode.  The show was predicated on tracing the ancestry of celebrities, attempting to capitalize on the boon in genealogy amongst the masses, and was based on a popular British version.  For an upcoming episode, they were working with Rosie O’Donnell, whose Irish ancestors had passed through Montreal, living for a time in a long-defunct neighbourhood in the city’s east end.

So I met with people from the show when they came to Montreal, spent the good chunk of a day with them, showing them what mid-nineteenth century architecture in the city looked like, using Pointe-Saint-Charles in the stead of this defunct neighbourhood, which was destroyed by the expansion of rue Notre-Dame in the 70s.  Not surprisingly, the majority of the Montreal part was excised…

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The Guitar

A Word Of Substance

 L anthony

Photo by L. Anthony and Lance Heard

Sweet swallowing eye lids of coal, why won’t you unstick? Switching memories for dreams, you take me on a ride where objects are particles of brain dust puffed up into imaginary ‘things.’ The kind that people don’t want to look at. An abandoned guitar. A torn out sheet of paper. A photograph too bright from exposure. What things are left burning from memory to sight? When will eye lids lift their vision to the light? I can’t tell what’s there when everything is white. A shine shifts in practice. 

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