Welcome to Blurbed, a round-up of literary recommendations from the editors and contributors at the Columbia Journal! Each month, Blurbed features a curated list of things to read, events to attend and news from the Journal.
What to Read
“The Passionate, Progressive Politics of Julia Child,” The New Yorker
My first memories of Julia Child are from weekend lunches, when my dad and I ate in the living room and watched her cooking shows. When I went off to school and then started working in journalism, I took on a new appreciation for the chock-full life she led. The appreciation still grows by the day.
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, Patrick Radden Keefe
I first came across the story at the center of this book in Radden Keefe’s 2015 reporting for the New Yorker. I’ve been waiting for this book ever since. Most of all, it shows how completely a society can be swallowed by conflict.
The Octopus Museum, Brenda Shaughnessy
It is of course a gross reduction to say this collection imagines a future where cephalopods lord over humans, but also, an incredibly compelling case why you should pick up these poems. Shaughnessy seamlessly blends the grotesque and erotic, the high and the low of human experience, while still tackling those most immediate issues we face.
“At 82, Glenda Jackson Commands the Most Powerful Role in Theater,” New York Times Magazine
This was a delightful profile on how Glenda Jackson is reinventing the role of King Lear. Just read it.
What to See & Do
April 4: Epic Voices: The Long Poem of the Anthropocene
I love collections that show us the trajectory of a place, on a time scale unnatural to our day-to-day lives. If this description sounds up your alley, I think this event will be: “[Allison] will discuss how the long poem and multi-genre writing embody ‘the networks in which we are enmeshed: from the particle of smog out of China that settles deep in the lungs of a Californian to the piece of plastic from World War II found in the belly of an albatross chick 60 years later.’”
April 14: On the Poetic License of Maps
Maps real and imagined are one of the archival rabbit-holes I go down regularly despite there being no practical reason for it. This extends to anything Susan Schulten writes.
April 24: The Rational Creature Volume 5 Launch Party
TRC’s V5 celebration at Poets House in Tribeca will feature readers, vegan-friendly food, and the launch of a femme arts literary journal focusing on this issue’s theme of displacement and exile. Perfect opportunity to check out amazing new work from women and nonbinary writers and artists.—Rachel Gilman, First Year Nonfiction Student
Words to Write By
“I think the writer has to be responsible to signs and dreams. Receptive and responsible. If you don’t do anything with it, you lose it. You stop getting these omens.”