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How Iowa Flattened Literature

Did the CIA fund creative writing in America? The idea seems like the invention of a creative writer. Yet once upon a time (1967, to be exact), Paul Engle, director of the Iowa Writers’…
PUBLISHED: Feb. 10, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5616 words)

“Why’s this so good?” No. 86: Ian Frazier and the hidden city

by Casey N. Cep | November 5, 2013 Don’t talk about the weather. Don’t ask anybody where they’re from or where they went to school. Oh, and don’t worry if they…
PUBLISHED: Nov. 5, 2013
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1756 words)

Mr. Bad News by Gay Talese

Let’s talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs, Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth Let’s choose executors and talk of wills —Shakespeare,…
AUTHOR:Gay Talese
PUBLISHED: Feb. 17, 1966
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4917 words)

Facebook Feminism, Like It or Not

Susan Faludi's takedown of "Lean In," and a brief history of feminism and its relationship with capitalism: "In the postindustrial economy, feminism has been retooled as a vehicle for expression of the self, a 'self' as marketable consumer object":

"In 1834, America’s first industrial wage earners, the 'mill girls' of Lowell, Massachusetts, embarked on their own campaign for women’s advancement in the workplace. They didn’t 'lean in,' though. When their male overseers in the nation’s first large-scale planned industrial city cut their already paltry wages by 15 to 20 percent, the textile workers declared a 'turn-out,' one of the nation’s earliest industrial strikes. That first effort failed, but its participants did not concede defeat. The Lowell women would stage another turn-out two years later, create the first union of working women in American history, lead a fight for the ten-hour work day, and conceive of an increasingly radical vision that took aim both at corporate power and the patriarchal oppression of women. Their bruising early encounter with American industry fueled a nascent feminist outlook that would ultimately find full expression in the first wave of the American women’s movement."

PUBLISHED: Oct. 17, 2013
LENGTH: 36 minutes (9021 words)

Annotation Tuesday! Gay Talese and “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”

by Elon Green | October 8, 2013
PUBLISHED: Oct. 13, 2013
LENGTH: 94 minutes (23649 words)


Colm T ib n on the Great Irish Famine The house at Coole has gone now; razed to the ground. They came like swallows and like swallows went, Yeats said in Coole Park, 1929 , imagining a time When all…
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3596 words)

“How’d you find that secret-compartments story, Brendan Koerner?”

Brendan Koerner’s recent Wired piece about Alfred Anaya, a “genius at installing secret compartments in cars,” was nothing short of delicious as a piece of storytelling and…
PUBLISHED: April 5, 2013
LENGTH: 3 minutes (815 words)

Allegorical Frieze

During a trip to Chicago a chance meeting on the Michigan Avenue Bridge reveals tensions between a young man and his travel companions, in this essay by David Griffith. The first time I thought I was…
PUBLISHED: March 4, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2798 words)

explore-blog: Gay Talese’s outline for the 1966...

explore-blog: Gay Talese’s outline for the 1966 classic Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, one of the best long-form magazine pieces ever penned, written on a shirt board.  (↬ The…