Sunday Staff Picks: October 13th

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong It is a pleasure to read a sentence that makes language new; it is a revelation to read a book full of such sentences. Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous creates a language of longing. The novel is framed as a letter from the…

Sunday Staff Picks: October 6th

Dunce by Mary Ruefle Mary Ruefle’s Dunce examines “the museum of / everyday life.” Throughout the book, Ruefle narrows her poetic gaze on the subjects and objects of the quotidian, and in turns unexpected, deeply funny, and wildly lyrical, exposes the ostensibly dulled or hidden mysteries that lie within. I am most enraptured by the earnest and insistent belief in language’s efficacy that Ruefle’s speaker marvels of throughout. In “Super Bowl,” Ruefle writes of a woman overheard on a plane, “I felt such joy over the unknown / outcome of her words.” I too, not knowing how Ruefle’s artful line…

Sunday Staff Picks: September 15th

Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch Trying to capture “Appalachia” is impossible, but Madeline ffitch’s Stay and Fight steers clear of the desire to capture an entire region and paints a singular portrait of rural, Appalachian Ohio with detail, complexity, and sincerity. Readers are introduced to Helen, a Seattle-bred millennial who reluctantly follows her boyfriend…

Bops and Bans: Leila’s Ten-Year Dance

Mashrou’ Leila, which translates roughly to the Nighttime Project or The Overnight Project (or perhaps it means Leila’s Poject, with Leila meaning night and also being a popular girl’s name in the Levant) as an ode to all-night jamming (or, as I like to think, a cheeky nod to nighttime “fun”), is a Lebanese indie-rock band that formed in 2008 on the campus of the American University of Beirut. The band is popular (dare I say, considered basic even) amongst the Middle Eastern studies/indieovers’ community in the West since their inception 11 years ago, and have been dubbed “The Arab world’s most influential independent…

A Defence of Science

Growing out of a Fall 2017 project initially submitted for Professor Richard Sacks’ “The English Sonnet” course at Columbia University, Emily Sun’s essay is an analysis of a critical edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Sonnet—To Science.” The edition was produced by Sun herself from a number of existing editions of the poem, and is contained…

Falling for You

The two halves of my heart collided when Netflix released You: a terrifying and nail-biting thriller that seems designed for the English major in all of us. Originally based on a book of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, You is about Beck, an NYU MFA-candidate, and Joe, a bookstore clerk who’s pursuit of her is deeply unsettling. His dorky affinity for literature adds to an overall charm that renders his stalker behaviors even more startling. But the best parts were the literary easter eggs that spark hours of conversations and the craziest analyses I’ve ever seen. To start with…

It’s National Jazz Poetry Month, Kinda

If you’re reading this, you probably know that April is National Poetry Month. But did you know it’s Jazz Appreciation Month, too? Even if it’s a total coincidence (there are only twelve months, after all), as a jazz musician and something of a poet I’ve always naturally linked the two media. And you don’t just find the connection in beat poetry. Sidney Bechet, one of the greatest New Orleans jazz musicians of all time, once described jazz music as “a lost thing finding itself.” Isn’t that exactly what poetry is, too? The Romantics’ longing for childhood innocence—that’s what jazz is…

A Harried Review of Captain Marvel

Even with the wild costumes, breathtaking special effects, and badass fight choreography in Captain Marvel, I couldn’t take my eyes off Brie Larson’s hair. I did not want to be looking at her hair—this was, after all, the first time Marvel Studios had produced a movie with a female superhero headlining. I had watched each…