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  • Spotify’s “daylist”, a New Way to Discover New Music

    By Alexis Frorup If you’re anything like me you’re listening to music on Spotify all the time. For a while, I had the issue of not being able to find the right “vibe” for the music I wanted to listen to at that moment. I made countless playlists with the same twenty songs and a few others mixed in and while those were good, they got a little old after a while. So when Spotify introduced the “daylist” this past September my problems were quickly solved. Spotify’s daylist is a personalized playlist made by Spotify for you specifically based on what you usually listen to at that time of day. It updates six times a day, from early mornings to late nights, giving you a new playlist each with a different vibe. It throws familiar songs in with new recommendations, giving you a new experience every time. One of the most entertaining parts of the daylist is the different playlist names they give you, some of my personal favorites of my own daylists being “lounging jazz hip hop night” and “soft angelic Monday afternoon”. They’re often fun and a little too accurate to the vibe I want to listen to at the time, filling my “liked songs” at a way faster rate than before. Spotify’s almost intrusive analytics result in enjoyable playlists with new recommendations that you never get too bored of, and if you do, all you have to do is wait for the next update of the day.

  • Letter From The Editor in Chief: Anjoleigh Schindler

    Dear AmFam, The space that AmLit has taken up in my life is greater than I ever thought it would be. I entered AU in 2020 as an International Relations major. Despite my extensive background in media in high school, I thought IR would be where I fit into the world practically. I fumbled my way through my freshman year; pretending, masking, and scraping by. I'm more creatively inclined, and found the lack of it in IR suffocating. So, when I entered my sophomore year, I knew I had to find an outlet. I was scouring Engage looking for a club to join, when AmLit came across my path–a place for all people who share a love for the arts. I felt a bit out of my element at first. I don’t feel qualified to critique anyone’s art. I don't have a single ounce of formal training. Who am I to decide what should make it into a magazine and what shouldn't? But I learned that nobody else did either, and so AmLit felt like a safe place to rest. I went from art assistant to photo editor in my second year, all the while wanting to burn my International Relations career to the ground. I wanted change; I wanted passion, and I wanted to feel it in my hands immediately or I was going to explode. I wasn't doing what fulfilled me. So that summer I switched my major to Journalism. It was necessary. Finally, people could see the inside of my brain. Changing my major meant that other things had to change––my participation in AmLit. I had entered the club while it was gasping for air, and it just couldn’t catch its breath that whole year. Additionally, I had been struggling to make friends or any kind of connections within the AmLit community. This was nobody’s fault: the pandemic had essentially stepped on in-person interactions, and the community naturally migrated online. Engagement was never the same, even after we all returned to campus. But I couldn't participate with it in that state. I loved this magazine, and I was watching it shrivel up right before my eyes. So, I walked away. I spent the fall semester of my junior year focusing on my new major. I was behind the other kids, and there was a big question mark around my anticipated graduation date. I had no intention of returning to AmLit, not with the trajectory the club and my life were taking. I just wanted to graduate and get out. But as you know, here I am. In December, I shockingly received a text from our former EIC, asking me to apply for her position. I had to think about it. To be honest, my first inclination was to say no. I was extremely busy managing my academic, social, and work life, and I did not have enough faith in the organization (I know, boooooo. You can throw tomatoes at me.) But it kept eating away at me. Here was that change I so deeply craved, right in my lap, staring me in the face. This was a real, tangible opportunity to make a difference at this school, and future Anjoleigh would beat me the hell up for not taking it. So I jumped in and tried not to think too hard about it. I couldn't help but wonder if I was biting off more than I could chew. This was a magazine that had been running as long as my parents have been alive, and I was now in charge of it? But I wasn’t alone! I have Charlotte, my co-editor! Charlotte is the organization I need in my life. I have big dreams, and Charlotte molds them so that they’re not just reaches, but actual things we can accomplish. She is the right side of my brain, that sometimes I think I'm missing. We are complete opposites, not only in how we approach work, but in how we navigate life. And for some insane reason, it works perfectly. She is my rock. Which is crazy to think about, because we only met four months ago. Charlotte and I both had the same larger goal for AmLit: rebirth. Which if you couldn’t tell, has been the common theme throughout my time here at AU. Change is scary. How do we know the grass will be greener on the other side? What if we’re trying to salvage the unsalvageable? What if the changes aren’t embraced? I think I've spent more time this semester doing things for AmLit than my actual school work. So many late nights where I wanted to scream into a pillow. I want to emphasize for all of you, that at no point was this smooth sailing. A lot of how Charlotte and I navigated our new roles was not some master strategy. We guessed. A lot. Nobody showed us the ropes. We truly were thrown in blind. So the only thing we could do was put some feelers out and see how it went. Miraculously, it went. Some of my favorite things this semester were the fancy new website that you’re reading this on, a revamping of the Instagram, and hosting a super successful flea market! All of this could not have been done without our brilliant staff. I am in love with every single one of you. Thank you for breaking your backs for us. I made so many beautiful friendships this semester on our team, and I'm hoping that there will be more in my final year at AU. To our contributors––you lovely people. There would be no magazine without you. Please keep submitting. Your works bring us joy, and they should be on display for everyone to see. The last thing I'll say is that when Charlotte and I took on our roles the fall magazine was missing and incomplete, and that felt like a cloud that loomed over us the entire semester. I understand how this was disappointing for many of you. It was disappointing for me too. But I want to assure you, we have not quit on that mag, nor do we have plans to. It will be here. Thank you for your love, trust, and patience. Okay, AmFam, I've stood on my soapbox for long enough. You've made my spring semester glorious, and lit up my life in ways I thought impossible. This was the change I needed. I can say with all my heart that I'm proud to be your co-editor-in-chief. Yours, Anjoleigh

  • Letter From The Editor in Chief: Charlotte Van Schaack

    Dear AmFam, It’s all over. The Spring 2023 AmLit magazine has transformed from an assortment of Google Docs sorted in a spreadsheet, to a PDF outlining all of the works, to a physical book we can hold in our hands. I could pretend that I’m Italo Calvino as I describe the book to you (How did you get this book before you? You must have picked it up from a newsstand. You feel the gloss of the cover and the slick of the pages as you lick a finger to flip through.). But I am not Italo Calvino, I am Charlotte and I am writing about my personal journey with this magazine, giving a miniature memoir of our relationship, if you will. Before I even decided to attend American University, I knew that I wanted to be involved in my college’s literary magazine and I knew that I would do what I could to become Editor-In-Chief. I found the name “American Literary” tucked away on the student media website, hunted down their instagram, and applied to be an assistant my first semester. I jumped from prose to poetry to representing AmLit in the student media board work group. I even joked in a contributor bio once that I had “completed step 1/? in [my] plans to take over the (literary) world.” Well, as a sophomore, that opportunity to be EIC came much more quickly than I expected. I applied. I was accepted. And I found out that someone named Anjoleigh Schindler was to be my new partner in crime, my confidant, and my friend. I can not imagine this semester, or the state I would be in, if I didn’t have them by my side. Maybe I would be foaming at the mouth and ready to drop out. What nobody told me was that running a literary magazine, even a college mag, feels like a part-time job. You spend hours every week answering texts and emails, scheduling meetings, organizing a Google Drive. There were a lot of fun parts too: sitting in review sessions and watching my peers defend and debate the pieces submitted to the magazine filled me with joy as I watched sparks fly in their passion for art. Sometimes there truly is nothing better than reading a REALLY good poem (I hope the work in the mag this semester does that for you, the way it does for me). This position in the magazine has given me a gift of connection to others, and the realization of how much I enjoy working to bring creatives together. If you have read this far, I appreciate the consideration and time that you have given my words. This is all I have for now, but you will certainly see more of me, Anjoleigh, and Emma (our new co-EIC) in the fall. Until then, H.A.G.S. Just kidding. I wish you all the best with whatever lays ahead. Charlotte Van Schaack

  • I Am (Not) an Artist

    By Ruth Odin This blog post might be a little different. I hope it reaches the right people. I was torturing myself over this post for a long time. What the hell was I going to write about? I’m not an artist- who am I to write a blog post for an art magazine? This may just be imposter syndrome, it may be a genuine understanding of the limitations of myself, or it may just be a self-indulgent pity party, but I really have never thought of myself as an artist. To clarify: I have played the violin and the viola for 15 years, I have been able to fluently read music for as long as I can remember, I always loved choir and orchestra more than everything except English class and philosophical thought, my notes app is filled with my own poetry and prose that may never see the light of day, I edit other people’s work for fun, and I have always had fantasies of one day having the courage to publish something. But I am not an artist. My majors here at AU are Communications and Philosophy. Communications is a means to an end and philosophy is my passion. Both will result in my receiving a “bachelor of the arts.” But I am not an artist. I think a lot about others out there who are like me, whose lives solely and completely revolve around art in various forms, but who will never consider themselves artists. I wonder what your passion is. What makes your heart happiest? What is it that you will never consider yourself good enough at to call yourself an artist of that variety? Maybe you’re like me. You enjoy editing, but not publishing your own work. You love playing an instrument, but only in an ensemble, not solo, and not for money. You love thinking, but not always expressing. Or maybe you crochet? Play ukulele and sing alone in your room? Teach yourself to draw, or journal, or sew, or paint, or cook, or collage, or take pictures? If you had to write a blog post like this, would you also feel out of place? I could say something cliché (and quite philosophical!) right about now – about how “everyone’s an artist” or “art is defined by the mind that creates it.” Great ideas, but I’m thinking more personally right now. I want to talk directly to the soul reading this. You’re reading the blog of a magazine. One for poetry, prose, art, and photography. So, you must have some interest as a consumer, contributor, or student. What I want to say now is this: take a look at yourself. If your list of passions and degrees is like mine, and you have always wanted to call yourself an artist? Do it. There will never be a point in your life at which you’ve “made it” enough to do so. Just fucking do it. Even if you never publish a thing. Even if you never make a living out of it. Even if no one hears your deeper thoughts about that concept. Even if your skill is only kept to yourself. You’re an artist. Deep down, you have always known you were. You’ve never loved anything like you love art. So say it. I’ll say it with you. I am an artist.

  • The Dilemma By B.A. Paris

    By Ava Stern This novel is 375 pages of pure anxiety. Surprisingly, it only took me two days to read this book despite it being not one of my favorites. The Dilemma tells the story of a family riddled with secrets that all start to explode at the main character Livia’s 40th birthday party. Switching point of view in each chapter, we get a look into the “dilemma” that seems to surround each character. This novel is a long-strewn-out misunderstanding and lack of communication that becomes annoying. Both Livia and her husband have earth-shattering secrets that plague the whole long scene that takes up the entire novel. I felt myself being disconnected from each and every character, failing to relate to or understand any of them. I missed out on B.A. Paris’ typical thriller books and was left feeling extremely disappointed and depressed after a heart-wrenching ending. If you like some deep characterization and irritation, you should read this book. But if you like fast-paced thrillers and something that is not just feeling sorry for and anxious for the characters, do not read this book. “I’m so close to the edge that I want to go out to the garden and scream at everyone to get the hell out of our house. To stop myself, I imagine the carnage it would cause– everyone staring at me in alarm, then Livia, my dad, Josh, Nelson trying to calm me, asking what’s wrong, worried that I’m having some kind of breakdown” (The Dilemma, 327). The whole book feels like this quote, but everyone is trying to pass off as calm and collected. In the end, I was feeling heartbroken and pissed off. Even though I didn’t like this book, I’m glad I read it and now know what I definitely do not like. 2.5/5 Stars

  • Three Art Podcasts To Listen To When You Need A Break From Finals

    By Grace Hill With finals closer than ever, here are my three favorite art and art history podcasts for procrastinating your work while still feeling like you're accomplishing something. 1. ArtHoles Probably the most unconventional art history podcast I’ve ever listened to, ArtHoles is an irreverent yet deeply emotional narration of the lives and work of artists by a self-proclaimed art-hater. Michael Anthony guides the viewer through a deep dive into the relationships and history of figures like Carravagio and Jackson Pollock, never leaving out the gritty details of their legacies in the art history canon. The Frida Khalo series is his best in my opinion and well worth the incredibly researched, nearly 14 hour listen. ArtHoles is perfect for someone who wants a sarcastic, witty take on the complex lives of art history legends and less so a technical analysis of their work. 2. The Lonely Palette If you don't have the time to commit to a series, The Lonely Palette offers around 45 minute episodes on specific pieces based at the Boston MFA. Tamar Avishai markets her show as “returning art history to the masses”, interviewing random visitors about their thoughts and feelings then diving into the visual and historical elements of the piece. Avishai’s commentary complements the beautifully human feeling of the podcast with her refreshing and poignant takes, making the listener feel like they're standing in the gallery with her. The Lonely Palette is perfect for someone who wants to expand their art history knowledge with a quick digest of an unknown work or artist. 3. ArtCurious The ArtCurious podcast is one of the more well-known on this list, and for good reason. Jennifer Dasal is an art historian and curator who explores famous conspiracies, myths, and legends in art history with hundreds of episodes broken down into specific series. Dasal investigates the scandals behind some of the most famous works of art in the world like Mona Lisa’s theft and Van Gogh’s potential murder, weaving her research in with her unique professional opinion. ArtCurious is perfect for someone who wants an accessible and exciting introduction to art history through a look at some of the most influential art and artists.

  • Coffee Shops Recommendations? I Gotcha

    By Hope Jorgensen Looking for a place to grab a coffee and study near campus? Well, this is the blog post for you! Studying, writing, and making art all require some fuel and I, like most college students, get antsy spending some much time on campus. With finals and the end of the semester looming near, it’s a great time to move your studying off campus for a change of scenery and pace. I’ve scoped out four coffee shops, based on both location and the cafe itself, that are great stops to study at. 1. Compass Coffee Want to get off campus but don’t want to go far? Have two hours between classes and want to stay close to campus? Compass Coffee is the spot for you! Located in Spring Valley at 4850 Massachusetts Ave NW, Compass Coffee is a brisk 15-20 minute walk from campus. Across the street from AU’s Spring Valley Campus, the coffee shop has lots of seating options and a great drink menu. My favorite coffee is the Lavender Honey Latte, and their drinks change with the season so there is always something different year long! It can be crowded, but I’ve never had an issue with finding a corner to work on an essay in. However, their food options are more limited and it's best to find lunch elsewhere. 2. Tatte Bakery If you’re looking for more breakfast and lunch options to sustain your studying, I recommend Tatte Bakery. Along with coffee, they carry an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch selections such as the Croque Madame, Shakshuka, and great sandwich options ranging from lamb kebab pita to prosciutto and fig panini. There are locations across the DC area such as in Bethesda, MD and DuPont Circle. The closest location is just a 20 minute walk away, near Tenleytown. Located at 13 Ridge Square NW near Wegmans, this Tatte Bakery location is close enough to campus while still giving you a change of scenery. There are many seating locations inside, and it is far less busy than its DuPont Circle location on the weekends. It dies down in the afternoon, so it's a nice place to get off campus and work. 3. D’Light Bakery For my last recommendation, we have D’Light Bakery. D’Light Bakery is an Ukrainian owned bakery located at 2475 18th St NW in Adams Morgan. This is the furthest study spot from campus, but I had to include it! The coffee is wonderful and I always order an iced vanilla latte. Their menu is mainly Ukrainian food, and my personal favorite is the Eggs Benedict with Gravlax Salmon. I’ve also heard great things about their cottage cheesecakes. They have a great pastry selection, if you’re looking for a quick bite. It’s the perfect spot for a solid meal to give you energy for studying, or a nice latte to enjoy during work. They host fundraisers for the war in Ukraine, as well as other community centered events. I recommend getting there early on the weekend or going during the week, as this place can be crowded!

  • Creatures of Passage

    Celebrating Women’s Fiction with a Haunting Tale of DC By Thais Carrion “Creatures of Passage” pays tribute to an unseen DC, a magical, dark, humid space where the dead walk amongst the living and intuition rules the land. Blending together Egyptian mythology and the strong Black history of Anacostia, Morowa Yejide gives us a world where there are no states or counties, instead kingdoms and fiefdoms spread out along the east coast and a cast of characters who all find themselves inevitably drawn to the mystical realm of Anacostia, a place where “Dreams come true even when you don’t want them to”. An endlessly dark story, the tragedies faced by each character interconnect and tie together in a heart-racing climax, in which many must finally confront their ghosts in order to move forward with their lives. We are first introduced to Nephthys Kinwell, a mysterious driver with a half-finger and a supernatural sense for lost souls. Much like the egyptian goddess whose name she shares, Nephthys is summoned by the wandering hearts of Anacostia’s residents and never fails to show up in her haunted 1967 blue Plymouth Belvedere, which never breaks down, runs out of gas, or gets pulled over despite the inebriated state of the driver. She is a somber character, constantly on the move to avoid the ever present pain brought on by the loss of her twin brother, Osiris. Nephthys, her nephew Dash and his mother Amber Kinwell - the death witch of Anacostia whose ominous dreams never fail to come true - are simultaneously reviled and rendered indispensable residents of Anacostia. For all the fear and mysticism generated around the family, the Kinwell’s guide the wandering hearts of Anacostia through the painful journeys that each resident’s individual tragedies force them through. Helplessness plays a large role throughout the story and Yejide masterfully cultivates dramatic irony across every new scene and character we meet. The reader constantly suffers with knowledge that will forever remain elusive to the characters who blindly trudge their way forward through hardship only to be met with further irony and heartbreak. Jumping through timelines, the narrator never fails to include the developments of the future that render our characters present conflicts and worries futile. Much like the inevitable nature of death and rebirth, futility and the promise of change plays a big role in the undercurrents of the story as characters are swept along their respective paths and ultimately forgotten by the future, with the gentrification of Anacostia’s black history mentioned throughout the novel further underscoring the main themes. Along with the palpable anguish throughout the novel, Yejide’s intensive use of dramatic irony acts as a nod to our own privilege as readers of the story. Us, the reader, an entity capable of consuming the story from the comfort of our own sofas, able to skim through the trauma and pain with empathy, but not bearing the burden of understanding. Thinking about places of privilege within the structures that govern so much of our daily lives is a topic Yejide navigates subtly but clearly, drawing a line in the sand between the reader and the realities of her characters that is felt throughout the story. Much like a ride through the river Styx, “Creatures of Passage” starts off with a seemingly clear purpose, loses its way in the tragedy of the lost souls along the path, and finds purpose anew as these tragedies weave together and move forward towards closure and release. Yejide takes care with telling the story of her characters, providing histories and complex inner worlds for each one that quickly overtakes the underlying plot. That being said, the dynamism of each character keeps readers absorbed as we slowly find our way back to the trajectory of the novel. The magical kingdom descriptions of the east coast and the states neighboring DC work to further separate Anacostia in the 1970s from our own understandings of the United States and its history. Yejide removes the reader from the setting described in the story, Anacostia’s black heritage feels like an otherworldly, anachronistic event, one fully separate from the development and gentrification that has taken over the area today. Photo by: Sarah Fillman Author Bio: MOROWA YEJIDÉ, a native of Washington, DC, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Time of the Locust, which was a 2012 finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, long-listed for the 2015 PEN/Bingham Prize, and a 2015 NAACP Image Award nominee. She lives in the DC area with her husband and three sons. Her most recent novel, Creatures of Passage, was shortlisted for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and a 2021 Notable Book selection by NPR and the Washington Post. PRONUNCIATION: Mo-RO-wa YAY-je-DAY. →

  • You Must Remember This by Joyce Carol Oates

    By Ava Stern Recently, I have been going through the pile of books I stole from my parents during winter break. I started with You Must Remember This by Joyce Carol Oates. I get super obsessed with books that I know my parents read because it feels sort of like a legacy. When reading this novel, I felt ethically challenged because of the deep storylines of incest and suicide. I understand that it is more than crucial to read the uncomfortable but it always is a little hard to read detailed scenes of incest and suicide. This novel explores the realness of a 1950s family and secrets that tear the individual apart, as well as uncomfortable sexuality. Joyce Carol Oates’ prose is impeccable garnering her critical acclaim and fame. Her controversial topics and public commentary fuel an army of supporters and haters that make reading her work even more fun and introspective. I tend to like books where I cannot decide if I love or hate the characters and JCO does a great job of creating “real” people who have lapses in judgment and moral dilemmas. I found myself being invested in this family: the Stevicks, whose youngest daughter has an epic coming-of-age story. “Though it was a truth Warren had picked up somewhere that things once said within a family cannot be unsaid. And things done but never named might well be forgotten” (You Must Remember This, 147). An uncomfortable look into family and growing up, You Must Remember This was an excellent read that pushed me to think about family and the sometimes deeply agonizing parts of growing up. 4/5 Stars.

  • Feminine Abjection: Daisies (1966)

    By Emily Barnes Věra Chytilová’s Daisies is an experimental and philosophical feminist film, employing absurdism to explore the truths of reality. The film follows two young women, Marie and Marie, in Stalinist Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring. The Maries insist that the world is spoiled, a fact that they feel excuses their bad behavior as they become increasingly apathetic and detached from what would be considered socially or morally appropriate. Their rebellion descends into surreal madness, and the film concludes with devastating and self-inflicted consequence. While Daisies can and has been interpreted in a myriad of ways at the hands of its striking and disruptive symbolism, it is also crucial to analyze the feeling of the film. The film elicits a a feeling that is at once particular and difficult to place. The closest I get to naming this sensation is through Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection. Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection defines abjection first vaguely, as a disruption to the binary understanding of self and other. The abject lies in the liminal in-between, eliciting often a sense of discomfort and occasionally a sense of utter horror. Kristeva’s examples range from recognizable to downright Freudian, from the kind of disgust that seeing one’s own vomit might evoke, to childbirth, the act of initial separation from the womb. It could be easy to write off the theory of the abject when bodily fluids are objectively gross, but abjection refers instead to the feeling of dread that seeing something gravely out of place produces— stomach bile should remain in the stomach, and therefore seeing it on the floor or in a toilet bowl is fundamentally wrong. While this example of human vomit feels innate in some way, other senses of misplacement are often socially constructed. The construction of female gender roles provides space for abjection in several forms, namely the subversion of the expectations of girlhood and femininity at large. There is another theory that works in parallel with the feminine abject: the feminine grotesque. The etymology of the word “grotesque” is the foundation for the theory of the feminine grotesque; the earliest forms of the english grotesque come from the Italian grottesca, ‘resembling a grotto’. A cavernous space, arcane and illusive, both repugnant and desired— a word that, at the time, was used to describe vaginal anatomy. And thus, our modern grotesque. Even worse yet, as a grotto is a space that can be explored and conquered, so is a women’s body, though both of these acts must be exclusive to men. Therein lay mechanisms for subversion, critical to understanding the Maries in Daisies. The feminism of Daisies relies on its leads being overtly abject women. The Maries date with the sole intention of overindulging on food bought for them by men, telephone these same men with no intention of giving them what they are undoubtedly expecting, live in disarray, cram their mouths with food not meant for them— doing so with dainty fingers in fashionable dresses and styled hair, with practiced seduction and performed naïveté. The note on food is particularly revealing of the abject. Although the film is heavily underscored by the political unrest of the 1960’s in Czechoslovakia, and the eating of food in excess also points to a disregard for the food shortages and rationing of the time, I believe that we as viewers would not derive such discomfort were we watching men engage in the same rebellious behaviors. Instead this overindulgence works in parallel with the Maries’ generally incendiary behavior, and the feminine abject takes hold; these girls ought to be more lady-like, ought to treat these men better. Allusions to the Garden of Eden are also frequent, depicting the girls prancing around an apple tree early on in the film, later subverting expectations of girlish innocence as the Maries eat the apples and other fruits, never actually finishing but instead tossing scraps aside to rot. We understand the girls to be cunning and knowledgeable almost immediately, even in the absence of an explicit 'snake'. The presence of the feminine grotesque is sustained by the fact that the food is often presented as a phallic symbol, reminding us that these girls also ought to ‘fill’ themselves in other ways, most notably the point at which bananas, pickles, and sausages are mutilated by the Maries with scissors. It is not only food that is mutilated by the Maries; Chytilová’s surrealism arrives at a point of chaos by the midpoint of the film, apparently granting them with immortality as they essentially deconstruct themselves with the same scissors. Moments later they are pieced back together, leaving viewers to question their reality to the point of questioning their existence. The Maries have otherworldly agency in the film, situating Chytilová’s work as not only feminist but abject in the way she proves their power. Daisies was briefly banned in Czechoslovakia in 1966 after its release due to the flippant disregard for rations, an ironic response to the film’s last shot stating “This film is dedicated to all those whose sole source of indignation is a trampled-on trifle”. Chytilová is a master in evoking discomfort in viewers that demands a personal reconciliation, a signifier of great art through film. Daisies is currently available to stream on HBO Max and Criterion Collection.

  • My Five Favorite Looks From The 2023 Oscars Champagne Carpet

    By McKenna Casey Positivity Only Here!! Number One Sandra Oh in Giambattista Valli and statement Briony Raymond necklace The moment I saw Sandra Oh step out in this gorgeously colored, perfectly draped, Grecian goddess gown, I knew nothing else could top her look. Her messy-look hair was cute and understated, leaving the statement to that Briony Raymond necklace, which looks like it could give you magic powers if you knew the right words to whisper. Flawless, no notes. Number Two Angela Bassett in Moschino gown with a Bvlgari snake necklace Mother Angela Bassett, you have done the thing. The royal purple on her? Amazing. Waist snatched but a fun silhouette? Achieved. Neck? Icy. Hair? Looking windswept and romantic. An Oscar won for her stellar performance? Do not talk to me. Number Three Malala Yousafzai in Ralph Lauren Malala looked absolutely immaculate in this sparkly hooded gown. Modest fashion has always been fun, funky, and fresh, especially when it reflects enough light to navigate a small cave system. I love how the tapering shows off her figure, and how her emerald ring and bright red lip adds a splash of color. Number Four Rhianna in Alaia Yes leather, yes sheer, yes mock neck, yes train. I love how her nails match her lip and her fun updo. This picture doesn’t show it, but there are slits in the leather bands on the sides of her thighs… sexy. I wish people would wear more chocolate brown because clearly it can be done and done right. Rhianna, I bow before you. Number Five Monica Barbaro in Elie Saab This one honestly took me by surprise with how much I loved it. The eggplant skirt and sheer baby blue are the perfect combination. I think it’s just the right length for drama without looking uncomfortable. I wish she wore a necklace, but if she wanted that classic plunging V to speak for herself, she certainly achieved that. In movement, this gown comes to life. Just lovely. Runners Up Bonus: Men Who Didn’t Disappoint Me

  • An Interview with David Keplinger

    By Emma DiValentino David Keplinger is the author of seven collections of poetry: The World to Come, Another City, The Long Answer: Selected and New Poems, The Most Natural Thing, The Prayers of Others, The Clearing and The Rose Inside. He has received numerous awards for his work including the Minds on Fire Open Book Prize, the 2019 UNT Rilke Prize, the Colorado Book Award, the 1999 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Cavafy Prize from Poetry International. In addition to his work as an author, he is a professor of literature at American University. Q: How do you deal with writer’s block? A: I don’t believe in writer’s block, because it’s never happened to me in the way it’s talked about—the writer staring at the blank page and empty of thoughts. What happens when you chase after it is that the work finds ways to elude you, to keep the chase alive. It’s when you’re looking in from the margins or distracted by something else like form or the chatter of voices at a cafe that poetry sneaks up on you. Q: What is the book that you think everyone should read? A: The Divine Comedy is pretty wonderful, and full of lasting truths. Q: Who inspires you the most and why? A: I’m inspired, very seriously I mean this, by my colleagues in the department of Lit at AU. Since we’re talking about CW, I’ll mention the MFA faculty, because otherwise the list would grow too long. They are Kyle Dargan, Rachel Louise Snyder, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Stephanie Grant, Patricia Park, Melissa Scholes Young, and Sandra Beasely. Not only are each of them distinguished writers but they are gifted teachers and mentors who have marked our department as one of the finest on campus. Q: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? A: As you get older you tend to surprise even yourself when, after such a question is asked, you kind of don’t have an answer. Or, it’s an answer I never would have fathomed thirty years ago. Maybe my biggest accomplishment is some passing comment I made in class that stuck with a particular student who went on to touch the lives of thousands of people in some way; or maybe I just listened well one day to someone who needed to be heard. We can’t say really what that moment of accomplishment is. History might write it for us, but it’s rarely the real one. Like how the Buddha said, “Whatever you think it is, it’s not that.” But we all have one great moment. In that vein, my biggest accomplishment must be connected to my choice to become a teacher. Writing gave me a platform to speak and bear witness to a life; teaching gave me the opportunity to listen to and connect with many lives. Q: Why did you become a professor? Why have you stayed in the role? A: I think I answer that above. But also, it’s a job that keeps you emotionally and mentally fit, sands away your rough edges, helps you to grow patient with people and processes, to see individuals where they’re at, and it keeps you reading, keeps you engaging. Q: If you could speak to your younger self, what advice would you give them? A: Only to trust that you’re not to be judged by the last poem you wrote, or the last bad or excellent thing you did. That person was filled with ambition and self-doubt, an anxious-making combination. The best things that happened I couldn’t have planned on. Encounters and coincidences and long journeys away and home again. What would I say to him? You could do better, I think I would say to that person, but you’re on your way, you’re doing good.

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