Why Hillary’s Loss Still Hurts

By Ani Kokobobo

A friend of mine masochistically watches the DNC video of Hillary Clinton shattering the glass ceiling after the succession of male presidents. It hurts to watch because it reminds us of what this past Friday might have been. Ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election, nobody talks much about her. There is justifiable, growing anxiety about how a Trump presidency will affect women, and how it is empowering misogyny. But already, Hillary’s disappearance from the public eye has cost us a desperately needed and fragile narrative of ultimate feminine achievement. Continue reading

KB - Blacklist

The Korean President’s Artist Blacklist, Product of an Insecure State

By Colin Marshall

The notion of an artist blacklist evokes the ugliest chapters of the Cold War more than the practices of a developed 21st–century democracy, but South Koreans have recently had to come to terms with the fact that, for nearly the past four years, they’ve lived under a state that has seen fit to maintain one. Or at least they’ve lived under a president who felt she couldn’t do without one, and now that she faces impeachment, the names of over 9,000 people her administration has secretly denied official support have come out. They include Han Kang, author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning The Vegetarian, popular filmmaker Park Chan-wook (whose crowdsourced collaboration with his brother Bitter, Sweet, Seoul we featured on the Korea Blog last year), and poet Ko Un, South Korea’s best-placed contender for the Nobel. Continue reading

Hanging Chad

True Lies

By David L. Ulin for the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “The Future of Truth” conference

Sixteen years ago, in another moment of crisis for the republic, I found myself in South Florida, watching the presidential vote recount at the Emergency Operations Center in Palm Beach County, where I had come as both tourist and something more. I was in Florida for Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law, which made the recount a respite in the most fundamental sense — and yet, I knew all along that I would write about it. I spent two afternoons wandering around, taking notes, and on the evening of the second, emailed an editor with whom I worked to see if she’d be interested in a piece. She was, and so I wrote it up, 1200 words that made an argument about displacement, comparing my own dissatisfaction with the process to that of the people on the other side. Continue reading


The Politics of Optimism

By Kate Jenkins

On the night of the election, I’m embarrassed now to admit, I wore the white uniform so many women donned in honor of the suffragettes: white t-shirt, white jeans, white sneakers, topped off with a vintage fur and red lipstick, because I was expecting a party, after all. I arrived at a women’s event space at around 9:45, just a commercial break or two before the future came into focus, and left at about 10. I wanted to be alone. I biked home fast, standing up out of the seat the whole way, tears streaming behind me in the wind. Continue reading


For The Future of the Truth: An Excerpt from Nothing Ever Dies

By Viet Thanh Nguyen for the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “The Future of Truth” conference

As a Gook, in the eyes of some, I can testify that being remembered as the other is a dismembering experience, what we can call a disremembering. Disremembering is not simply the failure to remember. Disremembering is the unethical and paradoxical mode of forgetting at the same time as remembering, or, from the perspective of the other who is disremembered, of being simultaneously seen and not seen. Disremembering allows someone to see right through the other, an experience rendered so memorably by Ralph Ellison in the opening pages of Invisible Man. Continue reading


We Wish You Great Harm

By Dan Sinykin

I listened to Barack Obama’s first inaugural address on a bus, in the desert, in Israel, while jets flew overhead to bomb the Gaza Strip. I was with 35 other American Jews and a half-dozen Israeli soldiers. Next to me sat Amit, who had, not a week earlier, killed Palestinians as part of the ground siege in Gaza. “It’s not like I looked them in the face,” he told me. “We were all shooting.” To avoid nightmares, he hadn’t been sleeping. “When I close my eyes,” he said, “I see things.” Yet he carried himself lightly, had perceptive eyes, a kind face. Continue reading


Dreaming of Uncommon Languages: An Interview with Poet Jordi Alonso and Illustrator Phoebe Carter

By Lauren Kessler

I met Jordi Alonso at a writers’ conference in New York in the summer of 2013. At the time, he was working on a series of erotic poems inspired by the Greek poet Sappho that would become his first book, Honeyvoiced, published by XOXOX Press. Jordi studied literary translation and poetry at Kenyon College, where he graduated with an AB in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing, in the spring of 2014. He went on to receive his MFA from SUNY Stony Brook, where he was the Turner Fellow in Poetry, and today he is a PhD candidate and a Gus T. Ridgel Fellow at the University of Missouri. Continue reading