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"The interest in ‘brain matters’ in the contemporary novel shows that people have come to accept that what we know about the brain is an interesting route to understanding who we, as human beings, are -- perhaps the route, the one with all the charisma -- and they don’t want to miss out on that, or be thought to be unaware of the brain debates. But they are so mesmerised by the white coats that they don’t seem to see that it is a two-way street. What we know about human beings from philosophy and the arts is equally essential to understanding what the brain is. There is no fixed, unimpeachable place to start one’s exploration. I’m afraid that far too many scientists are philosophically naïve: they believe it is transparent that if you can make the machine model fit what you are looking at, it is a machine."
I don’t think any reader will part with Baba Yaga Laid an Egg without joining, or fearing, the proletarian Hag International, the crazy army of score-settling Baba Yagas. The question is, how to begin? Maybe we’ve already begun.
The cover issue is only one aspect of a much larger problem: why it is acceptable to still believe (and use as a business model) the notion that Caucasian readers will not relate to Kids of Color in general titles? Is this an issue that originates with publishers, or does it lie with “gatekeepers” like librarians, large booksellers, and big-box stores? The widely perceived misconception has resulted in a pigeonholing of ethnic characters, and has provoked a backlash on the issue of book covers.
"I think my poetry is a lot freer, or something. A lot less structured. My poetry is usually about personal experiences that are either too brief or confusing for me to be able to write about in prose. Sometimes it will be a combination of personal experience and other things. I have also written poems that were sort of reviews, of businesses or movies. One time I wrote a lot of poems about Jay-Z and then later a lot of poems about Young Jeezy, I think. I want to write a book-length poem about the Rolling Stones. That’s something I think will happen some day."
These three poems are some of the latest from Linh Dinh’s newest book, Some Kind of Cheese Orgy. Linh Dinh’s work has been described as both “surreal” and “straightforth.” As with his photography published on his State of the Union blog, Dinh’s poems abound with raw humor and unapologetic grit. They reveal the grotesque without overstaying their welcome in the scatological.
"I’m worried about this drive to uncover narrative. Or maybe I’m worried about the word 'narrative' as it implies a starting point, a stopping point & that, in between, something happens. Obviously this book has a beginning & a middle & an end but I also think those are arbitrary distinctions. . . . My poems do not narrate; they annotate; they exist alongside of."
"A huge number of novels are to me unconscionably boring. They don’t have an idea in their head, and if they do, they do absolutely nothing with that idea. We’re on the planet for a very short time. Writing is our one chance, or perhaps our best chance, to understand what is really going on in another person’s consciousness."
"You know, people will tell you that in places like the Caribbean, West Africa and so on, we have two distinct elements. We have history which is written in books about the white people -- how they came to Guadeloupe, how they colonized Guadeloupe, how they became the masters of Guadeloupe -- and you have memory, which is the actual facts of the people of Guadeloupe and Martinique -- the way they lived, the way they suffered, the way they enjoyed life. We are trained to rely more on our memories and the memories of people around us than on books."
Yes, there are staples here of the wide-eyed-American-meets-exotic-culture variety. Rudiak-Gould writes about ingesting the rubbery intestines of the green sea turtle; recalls the past period when women’s bare Marshallese breasts were acceptable but their bare knees were risqué; and marvels at the vanishingly small fleet of planes maintained by the national airline, which adjusted flight schedules to accommodate mourners heading to family funerals. Ujae’s people embrace both traditional Micronesian ways and imported Western ones, so that “the same person who shared with you the ancient meaning of the colored lines on the back of a crab could also recite Snoop Dogg lyrics.”
Barbara J. King
I wanted to write the kind of book that people would turn to when they can barely move, when they’re stuffing themselves with white powdered donettes and watching The Notebook
four times in a row -- I had a student who did this. He wrote about it in his notebook, saying he was in an 'emotional coma' and only Rachel McAdams could help him. Well, I wanted to replace Rachel McAdams; I felt my poems should be able to do a better job of speaking to this guy’s pain. Or else why write?"