I've been reading a lot more poetry lately for class and I was assigned 'Another Mistake,' Nicole Antonio's book. She writes like Lora Mathis, a longtime favorite and I really appreciated the poignancy of her words.
"Another Mistake is a powerhouse chapbook. This is a hyper-awake, penetrating, gritty, humane, fearless literary voice. Each of these poems displays exemplary control of the pressurized energies at its core.Another Mistake bears fresh, deeply affecting witness to the speed at which Nicole’s generation lives, loves, hooks up, slaves and suffers. Our need to embrace dark urges and our fucked up origins, to understand and master pleasure and pain, to be wildly alive but also to face the music, it’s all here, articulated with the perfect mix of distance and immediacy. I am an avid fan who hopes a full-length collection is in the pipeline."
Read 'Another Mistake' for strong words about the stuff we don't talk about.
Quote from here
My roommate recommended I read this feminist manifesto, and I'll admit, I'm only partially through it, but it's incredibly interesting, and hugely inspiring. Amazon describes it as:
Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution.
Photo not our own, from Amazon
For your weekly dose of pint-sized rockstar, Bruised Knuckles would like to introduce you to Marley Dias. Dias is 11 and already much much cooler than we are. After getting bored with what she was reading, #1000BlackGirlBooks was born.
“I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” Dias said, pointing specifically to “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the “Shiloh” series. “‘What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.” (from Philly Voice)
Representation is super important, and when Dias wasn't finding it, her quest was born. She aims to collect 1000 books where black females are the protagonists by February 1st. Her story has gone viral and I'm sure she's far beyond that by now.
Oh yeah, did we mention this isn't even her first major project? She's worked with orphaned children in Ghana and Disney even gave her a grant. Are we allowed to #careergoals at an 11 year old? I think so...
Dias serves as a major inspiration to Bruised Knuckles (we'd love you to write for us <3) and we'd like to take her lead into 2016 and remember to note injustices and attempt to change them instead of letting them slide.
Book and cash donations can be mailed here:
GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052
Note: Photo from Huff Post and not our own
Danny Mullen followed my personal twitter the other day out of the blue, and I was curious, so I checked him out. A young writer hailing from California, Mullen has released personal essays and a book (probably closer to a long essay) for free on his website. I was interested, as his twitter is full of wonderfully twisted little bits of humor. I downloaded his book as a pdf for free and breezed through it. At 26 short pages, again, it's not a fully developed novel, and Mullen has some growing to do as a writer, but it's an intriguing debut, and Mullen is someone you should have your eye on in 2016. Mullen periodically releases essays, (Territorial Pissings, When Your Girlfriend Bangs A Black Dude, and He's Not My Buddy, He's My Boyfriend) so follow his twitter for updates, as well as fun little tidbits like:
Mullen's book is good, it's fun, but occasionally he tends to overwrite and seems to try to use more complicated phrasing than necessary just for the sake of using 'better' words. Personally, I believe Mullen will continue to grow and come into his own as a writer, learn to trust his instincts and go with the flow a little more.
Regardless of the technical side, Mullen's work is worth your time.
Furiously Happy By Jenny Lawson is an absurd book that will have you laughing embarrassingly loudly and prompt your roommates to ask in hushed tones 'Wait, is something wrong with her...?' Or maybe that's just me, but you should definitely read Furiously Happy. It details what life's like while struggling with anxiety and depression, among other mental illnesses. Lawson says:
"Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.
Again, it's well written and very very funny, but I will concede that the book is best read in spurts rather than all at once, or the humor might lose it's oomf. Also, Lawson's experience with mental illness isn't your typical experience, and readers must acknowledge that a bestselling author's experience isn't everyone's experience. This isn't to say that her experience isn't valid or interesting, or should be respected, because it is and should, however acknowledging the difference is important.
Photo from Amazon, quote from Lawson. Just look at that raccoon, he wouldn't want you to sue us for copyright infringement because we clearly don't intend any. Trust the raccoon, we're cool.
I was first introduced to this illustrative book of Edgar Allen Poe short stories when I was in middle school. Even to this day, I still remember my fascination with the morbid tales. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a book of some of Poe’s most notable horror stories, with accompanying drawings by Gris Grimly.
My favorite story in this book is “The Black Cat,” a classic and one of his most well-known publications, aside from “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” The illustrations by Grimly really bring the stories to life, even more so than Poe’s words do.
If you’re as much of a fan of Poe as I am (or just generally enjoy dark stories), I suggest purchasing this book, as it is my favorite one from any of his collections. You can purchase it through Amazon or Barnes & Noble if you’re interested.
Humans of New York (HONY) just released another series of photographs about refugees traveling through Europe from Syria and Iraq.
Their first post in the series starts off with this;
(This image and screenshot was taken from here)
I love when Brandon Stanton, the creative mind behind HONY, spotlights certain groups of people or events. In this case, he interviews refugees from the Middle East who are now in Greece. Many of these people (some with their families) left their homes because of ISIS or escalated violence in the region (some of which is from the U.S.).
Stanton has truly outdone himself with this series. It is heart-wrenching and personal, and gives a very small look into the lives of refugees and the challenges they face. I could never imagine going through half of the obstacles these people have been through.
It is easy to say you don’t support these refugees coming into Europe and the U.S., but I hope many people are swayed by Stanton’s insightful new series of interviews and photographs. These are people who have been through tragedy and trauma, who need our support. I hope that anyone reading this who was once against helping these Syrian and Iraqi refugees will reconsider their positions.
You can read some of the series below, and the rest are linked via their location from HONY’s website.
(This image and screenshot were taken from here)
(This image and screenshot were taken from here)
These are all of the stories from HONY’s Facebook page as of September 30th. To read the rest, I suggest reading HONY’s blog or checking out their Facebook. The remainder of the series is linked here in chronological order by location; Kos, Lesvos, Lesvos (Part 1 and 2), Lesvos, Lesvos, Lesvos, Tovarnik, Hegyeshalom, Vienna, Vienna, Hegyeshalom (Part 1, and 2, and 3), Salzburg, and Salzburg.
To conclude the series, HONY posted the following message from here;
I hope these stories helped change your mind about the status and perceptions on refugees. If you are interested in becoming more involved with the cause, I suggest looking into these organizations and donating to the United Nations work with these refugees. You can also donate to the UN through here.
NOTE: All images in this post were taken from Humans of New York’s website or Facebook page. We have no intention of stealing or unlawfully claiming any of HONY’s work, we only mean to share this important series and encourage donation.
I just finished Lorrie Moore's Self-Help in one sitting. My name is Susan and I might be addicted, All joking aside, Moore's Self-Help is a fantastic collection of stories that I would highly recommend. Highlights include 'How to Be an Other Woman,' 'What is Seized,' and 'How to Become a Writer.'
According to Amazon:
"In these tales of loss and pleasure, lovers and family, a woman learns to conduct an affair, a child of divorce dances with her mother, and a woman with a terminal illness contemplates her exit. Filled with the sharp humor, emotional acuity, and joyful language Moore has become famous for, these nine glittering tales marked the introduction of an extravagantly gifted writer."
Moore masterfully creates scenes and finds subtle humor in the absurd. She grapples some of the most painful and interjects moments of joy so well that her words feel like reality.
This was my first introduction to Moore, but I'll soon be reading Anagrams, Birds of America, Like Life, Bark, and Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?
Note: photo not our own, from Amazon.
Edited 10/8/15 7:30 pm for updated citations and to correct a misattributed quote
Lora Mathis has been one of my favorite people for a long time. I reblogged their poetry on Tumblr a few years ago and decided to find more out about whoever was writing such beautiful words. I found someone, not much older than myself, using platforms as innocent as Tumblr and Facebook to share haunting words that kicked up the dust in my soul. Since then, Mathis has published two books, both of which I quickly purchased and treasure. Mathis works with Ink/Paper Press, Where Are You Press, and Persephone's Daughter to publish physical and digital works.
Mathis has recently created the phrase 'radical softness as a weapon' to describe the phenomenon of 'abrasively feminine' content (think Virgin Suicides) to show what the femme ***please correct me if this term isn't as inclusive as it could be*** condition is like, as well as acknowledging how debilitating it can be to be a woman with mental illness. Mathis speaks more about this in this interview. Mathis says:
"radical softness is the idea that unapologetically sharing your emotions is a political move and a way to combat the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness. "
Add Mathis on Facebook for inspiration to be a better human being and please look at The Women Widowed to Themselves and consider supporting this incredible artist. Also, check out Mathis' website here.
Note: None of these photos are ours. The first three from Hooligan Mag were found on Mathis' website here and the next three were from their Facebook page. The last photo is by Logan Delaney feat. a shirt made by Mathis.
James Baldwin isn't a new name in the literary game. Born in 1924, and died in 1987, Baldwin has been renowned up and down for the way he tackles racism, with powerful scenes that mimic the way reality unfolds.
Sonny's Blues is a short story in Baldwin's collection Going to Meet the Man. It details a man's relationship with his brother, Sonny, and the hurdled that have prevented them from becoming close. Read for an account of the affects of addiction on those close to the addict. Check pages 114-115 for a really beautiful, well-written scene.
Also read The Rockpile and Going to Meet the Man, also in that anthology.
Note: photo from Amazon, and very much not my own