CWILA Links: The Mainly White Room, What I Wanted To Wear & Drunk Confessions.


Welcome to the latest edition of CWILA links, dear readers. It’s been a busy few weeks in North American literature. We have a lot to think about and many voices to listen to—so let’s plunge into it.

In case you missed it: Jenny Zhang’s “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” is an important, powerful, and brilliant featured essay at BuzzFeed—necessary reading on the enduring racism of the literary establishment and MFA programs. Zhang writes: “To be Other in America is to be coveted and hated at the same time.”

Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young conduct extensive research in “The Program Era and the Mainly White Room” to try and understand and uproot systemic racism and sexism in contemporary North American literary programs.

Poet Kai Cheng asks “Would I still be a trans woman, still be revolutionary, if I didn’t try to look pretty?” in “What I Wanted To Wear.”

Michelle Dean prods at romantic notions of alcoholism in literary history and examines contemporary women’s memoir in “Drunk Confessions”

Cosmonauts Avenue features an interview roundtable with Jennifer Tamayo,
Monica McClure, Marisa Crawford, Becca Klaver and Krystal Languel on contemporary writing and feminism.

Plenitude interviews Sassafras Lowrey on Lost Boi and queering Peter Pan.

The Millions takes a look at how The National Book Awards longlist in non-fiction stacks up this year in comparison to past years.

CBC Books recommends 12 graphic novels/comics by Canadian women.

And finally, dive into Hoa Nguyen’s poem “Do I Plunge” over at Lit Hub.

“It’s the last day of the Horse year
Does this mean the ass-end
or a wisp of the tail?” – Hoa Nguyen

Did I miss something? I’m open to suggestions! Feel free to let me know what you’re reading and I’ll try to include it in our next dispatch. Email links to:

– Adèle Barclay

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