Worn down by years of challenges to the persistence of To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn in school curricula, schools in Duluth, MN have decided to retire the books from lesson plans. In particular, it is the books’ reliance on racially-charged terms which seems to keep the debate perpetually swirling; the local NAACP chapter president has commended the school system for creating inroads for more “universally appropriate” choices to take their place, saying: “Let’s move forward and work together to make school work for all of our kids, not just some, all of them.” The books will continue to be available in libraries and as optional reading choices.
Johnny Cash’s secret literary aspirations were discovered after his death by family members, and the resulting poems were released in 2016 under the title Forever Words. This April, fans will get to find out what those poems sound like as songs, thanks to interpretations by Chris Cornell, Elvis Costello, and many others (this was apparently one of Cornell’s last recordings before his untimely death last year). Follow the link for a “trailer” of the album, which isn’t being promoted as some kind of “lost Johnny Cash album,” so much as an artistic tribute to a man whose artistry knew fewer bounds than most of us realized.
The search for a sense of queerness in Afro-Caribbean religion and literature has yielded interesting results for Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley. Writing for LitHub, she delves into the canon of Ezili, the divine figure who presides over love and desire in all their myriad forms. “Ezili, not queer politics, not gender theory—was the prism through which so many contemporary Caribbean authors were projecting their vision of creative genders and sexualities,” observes Tinsley, who has since taken up the cause in a book of her own: Ezili’s Mirrors: Imagining Queer Black Womanhood, due out this year.
What if e.e. cummings had happened to be snapped up to be an advertising copywriter for Red Bull? This and other absurd pairings are here for your consideration thanks to McSweeney’s “Iconic Marketing Campaigns Rewritten By Famous Authors,” which reveals how many of these missed connections would actually prove to be missed opportunities — such “Charles Bukowski on behalf of L’Oreal,” which one could almost shed a fat, alcoholic tear over. Enjoy!