Leaves stacked against a black background

Eight Poems of Gratitude

Let us pause now and give thanks.
A devil shaking hands with a student

Rare 1969 Story from The Queen’s Gambit Author Walter Tevis

In this short story a graduate student makes a deal with the devil: Write my dissertation and my soul is yours.
Diane di Prima

Diane di Prima

The Italian American poet and artist's “willingness to speak” about what was culturally unspeakable was a liberation.
Photograph: Beah Richards in a still from the film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner."

The Poem That Inspired Radical Black Women to Organize

Beah Richards is best known as an actor, but in 1951 she wrote a sweeping poem that influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

How Trumbull Park Exposed the Brutal Legacy of Segregation

Frank London Brown’s 1959 novel, which presents a powerful story of white supremacist hatred, has been selected for the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
From From canal boy to president by Horatio Alger, 1881

The Creepy Backstory to Horatio Alger’s Bootstrap Capitalism

In a famous essay, a scholar uncovered difficult truths about Alger, whose name has been associated with the "rags to riches" myth.
Demonstrators march near the White House in protest following a Kentucky grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case on September 23, 2020

The Ethical Life of Euphemisms

Euphemisms can hide facts that need to be confronted. How do they work from a linguist's point of view?
Adolph Menzel -The Iron Rolling Mill

Life in the Iron Mills as Fiction of the “Close-Outsider Witness”

Rebecca Harding Davis had no firsthand experience of iron mills. Neither does her nameless narrator.
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s Operatic Life

Toni Morrison was renowned for the musicality of her prose, so writing lyrics for classical music wasn't a huge stretch.
Taylor Swift at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards

The Linguistic Evolution of Taylor Swift

If Taylor Swift shifts her accent in her transition from country to pop, does she lose the personal authenticity important to country music?