IN EVERY ISSUE

  • Summer Reads 2015
       May 2015
    Photo by Christian Holzinger/Unsplash The editors of WLT have each selected three books they’re looking forward to reading this summer. Peruse our selections to get ideas for your own summer reading list! Jen Rickard BlairDigital Media Editor With visions of sitting poolside or on patios in the afternoon sun, I’ll be turning to the following reading selecti...
  • Summer Reading List
       May 2015
    Summer is here, and that means one thing: vacation! Whether you’re on a grand exploration or simply relaxing with a staycation, WLT is here to provide a getaway that you can hold in your hands. For “Supernatural” Junkies Ipsita Roy Chakraverti Spirits I Have Known   (HarperCollins)    For the Year-Round Classics Disciple  Toni Morrison God H...
  • The Silent History
       March 2015
    If a written, spoken language is one of the characteristics that distinguishes humans from other animals, what would happen if the ability to speak—to even comprehend the spoken word—suddenly vanished? Would we still be human? The Silent History digs deep into these question, moving through more than thirty years of history in which children begin to be born without the ability to speak...
  • Clip from Honey Moccasin
       March 2015
    A still from Shelley Niro’s Honey Moccasin. We are all painfully aware of the dominant cinematic representations of Native women—the princess, the sexualized maiden, the work drudge (sq**w). Following a hundred years of cinematic tropes, films like Avatar (2009) utilize the Native woman as an exotic accoutrement to the white male hero, an access point into another culture, a wa...
  • The Last Soldiers of the Cold War: The Story of the Cuban Five
       March 2015
    Bridging Enigma: Cubans on Cuba Edited by Ambrosio Fornet This special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (vol. 96, no. 1, Winter 1997) presents Cuban reality as seen by sixteen of the country’s scholars with different points of view.   Cuba Defendida Roberto Fernández Retamar Some of Cuba’s problems are seen here from a revolutionary perspective. The book’s two...
  • Tesla
    Happy Are the Happy Yasmina Reza  John Cullen, tr.  A short advance excerpt from Yasmina Reza’s new novel fairly crackles with electric wit and precise comedic timing. Her award-winning talent as a playwright coupled with a lively prose style lends particular promise to Happy Are the Happy. I anticipate spending a highly enjoyable winter’s evening with this tantalizing little book....
  • Second Childhood
    Graywolf Press, 2014 How much of a poet’s biography can be read into (or behind) a book of poems? In the case of Fanny Howe’s latest collection, Second Childhood, the temptation to project a life onto the page is irresistible, but the author herself cautions against such a reading. In a recent interview, Howe admitted: “The ‘I’ in my poems is a stranger to me, someone ‘sent forth’ like...
  • Independent People
    Iceland enjoys a powerful literary tradition, underpinned by the old Icelandic sagas and Eddaic poems and also by the Icelanders’ struggle for emotional and spiritual survival during centuries of poverty, hardship, and oppression. A mere sixty years ago, Iceland was still a colony, and a century ago it was the poorest country in Europe. And yet, despite their impoverished conditions through the c...
  • The Poetry Deal
    Still writing “on this earthquake fault” in San Francisco, feminist Beat poet Diane di Prima continues to create her revolutionary verse. At eighty, aged out of the thirty-under-thirty and forty-under-forty lists and writing from Silicon Valley—and where else is youth so brutally and uncritically worshipped?—di Prima’s concluding poem in her just-released The Poetry Deal is enti...
  • The Feast of the Goat
    A Ukrainian writer looks outside the country for three books that help illuminate what threatens modern Ukraine.  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Barbara Demick  This book by American journalist Barbara Demick, who has long lived in South Korea, caused a real explosion in 2006 and is, in my opinion, quite rightly considered one of the best nonfiction books of the...
  • Who is Martha?
    It’s the holiday season once again, and whether you’re shopping for Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas, WLT has a new book for every reader on your list.  For the Beatnik Diane di Prima, The Poetry Deal  (City Lights)   For the Big Bang Addict  Yannick Grannec,The Goddess of Small Victories, ...
  • Ih Tsetsn. Photo by Josh Eli Cogan
    The spectacular sounds and exoticism of Mongolian music often attract audiences outside the Mongolian cultural area—the rough, unreal human voice of khöömii (throat singing), the wide range and powerful vocal projection of urtyn duu (long song), and the harmonized sound, unusually familiar to the Western ear, of such traditional folk instruments as the horse-head fiddle. Almost...
  • An Unnecessary Woman
    With a dose of wit and self-deprecation, Aaliya is a narrator who doesn’t fail to entertain. Rabih Alameddine invites the reader into Aaliya’s late-life crisis where—after a few glasses of red wine—she has dyed her hair irreversibly blue. From here, her present days are often uneventful and filled with solitude, but the novel itself is far from stagnant. Aaliya’s ruminations on her past seventy y...
  • What to Read Now: Egypt
    The following books offer insights into the hot, gritty quotidian of a desert nation and the machinations of an authoritarian power structure as integral to Egypt’s character as the Nile. The Committee Sonallah Ibrahim Mary St. Germain & Charlene Constable, tr.  The effects of Egypt’s control-obsessed upper echelon on the psyches of everyone occupying the base of the pyramid is hilar...
  • Daniel Simon
    From our vantage point here on the Oklahoma plains, we’re constantly reminded that we live in “Native America” (every time we look at the license plate of a car in front of us), but few probably realize that not only is most of the state’s Native heritage rooted elsewhere, it is actually transnational in origin. Centuries before the interstate highway system, trails leading to and through the te...
  • Summer Reading: On the Beach
    Digital media editor Jen Rickard Blair’s summer reading picks range from multiethnic mystery to dystopian sci-fi. We suspect she’ll read these in a lawn chair or on the couch with her new dog snuggled up into a somewhat precarious position on Jen’s knees, shoulders, head, or toes.   Nest of Worlds Marek S. Huberath. Michael Kandel, tr. I recently read one of Ma...
  • Seven Lives and One Great Love: The Memoirs of a Cat
    Cat people: we aren’t known for much other than spinsterhood, paranoia, emotional and social disconnection. Our one spokesperson who’s more than quaint at best is Catwoman. But lately there’s been a surge of authors speaking out for us, writing literary cat fiction that, as one reviewer said of a book on this list, “even dog lovers should read.” If you need more bonding time with your kitten...
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North
    The Watchtower Elizabeth Harrower The Watchtower, first published in 1966, is a psychological novel of class and power set in Sydney in the 1940s. Laura, the elder sister, had ambitions to be a doctor like her father (or else a singer), but when her father is on his deathbed, she is removed from her boarding school and enrolled in a Sydney business school. She finds a job as a typist in...
  • Daniel Simon
    [Borges’s] Argentinians act out Parisian dramas, his Central European Jews are wise in the ways of the Amazon, his Babylonians are fluent in the paradigms of Babel. – Anthony Kerrigan, introduction to Ficciones The issue you hold in your hands is actually two in one: our regular May issue, in the pages of which we had planned on featuring international eco-literature...
  • Statue of Anne Frank
       March 2014
    Photos by Laura Hernandez Climbing up the steep and narrow staircase to the hidden apartment is when it hits me: Anne Frank lived here; this is where she spent two years, secluded, waiting for the war to end. Anne, along with seven other people, inhabited this secret annex from 1942 to 1944. Located in the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam, the house was made into a museum in 1960 to con...
  • The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals
       March 2014
    Wilfred Price has established himself as a respectable, reliable member of his small and tightly woven rural community of Narberth, Wales. He performs his duties impeccably as the town’s undertaker, conveying a sense of calm and propriety. A momentary lapse of judgment, just a few unguarded words, manages to propel Wilfred into a life he doesn’t want and can’t quite manage to get back under contr...
  •    March 2014
    Over thirty-something years of music video, we have gotten what we might have expected of a new (?) art (?) form (?): the sedimentation of practices, followed by the stirring up of new possibilities; an ever-changing relationship with the technologies of production, distribution, and consumption; the formation of unanticipated links with other media forms; and an uneven but steady proliferation w...
  • Song for Night
       March 2014
    It should go without saying that children bear the brunt of war as a nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Yet Graça Machel’s 1996 UNICEF report on the impact of war on children was new in both scope and topic. Why have we neglected this issue?  In my own explorations, I’ve been struck by how exile is a universal experience of young people who spend all or part of their childhood in a war zone. Exil...
  • The Dailiness
    While working on the “Classics Rekindled” section that appears in this issue (page 35), I was struck by the following words from Anne Carson: “Every time a poet writes a poem he is asking the question, Do words hold good? And the answer has to be yes: it is the contrafactual condition upon which a poet’s life depends” (Economy of the Unlost: Rea...
  • Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise
    Translated literature is for grown-ups—or so goes conventional anglophone wisdom. And yet there are excellent translated titles available for younger readers, offering them a broader literary palate.  Since 1968 the US-based Mildred L. Batchelder Award has celebrated translated literature for young readers. This year, Lebanese author Zeina Abirached’s graphic novel A Game for Sw...

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