An interview with Marlena Chertock, sci-poet extraordinaire

The first time I was introduced to Marlena Chertock was with her short story “Wonder Women,” an intimate construction of two friends as they don costumes for a comic convention. The real wonder woman, however, is Marlena herself. In addition to being a stellar short fiction writer and the poetry editor of District Lit magazine, Marlena has published two chapbooks: On that one-way trip to Mars from Bottlecap Press, and Crumb-Sized, out this year from Unnamed Press. Marlena writes with a clarity that makes sci-poetry digestible and as informative as it is relatable. After picking up her collections, you’ll feel smarter and stronger as you stand in solidarity with Marlena’s brilliant mind.

Curling up with Oprah and Emma: The Faux Intimacy of Celebrity Book Clubs

In the mid-’90s, book clubs took a new form with Oprah. Oprah has been a uniquely influential personality in several ways, not the least of which is her culture of accessibility. Her book club selections are, as Anne Helen Petersen describes them in her book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, decidedly “midcult”—that is, not quite high art, but not quite lowbrow culture. They reflect a diverse authorship, often discover new and overlooked talent, and remain unintimidating to her substantial fandom.

An Interview with Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah is a Nigerian writer living in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, GRANTA, and other publications. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, her debut collection of stories, was published in April by Riverhead Books. 

MASTERWORKS: The Raft of the Medusa

“Please,” your father says once we’re aboard, wrapping my hand over his. “Call me Hugh. Or, hey, call me Captain de Chaumareys.” When I withdraw, the palm of my left hand is indented with the shapes of his rings: a hexagon with a diamond within it, an egg, and a five-pointed star. 

An Interview with Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé is the author of THE BORDER OF PARADISE: A NOVEL, named one of NPR's Best Books of 2016, and is the recipient of the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, Esmé lives in San Francisco.

Introducing Paper Darts Volume Six

A team of women from flyover country created this bag of tricks out of imaginary money and never enough time. Because we also feel the deep urge to grasp onto another human’s experience of the world, even for just a small moment, even for just a small story. 

Pretty, Pretty Printed things

To train for Volume Six, we've been running up and down the digital stairs of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. We've sucked in all the design porn we possibly can. We've also littered our apartments with the most artful magazines and zines around, hoping their sophistication and beauty might rub off on us a bit. You'll find eleven of those real, live magazines here—eleven pretty printed things for you to buy, read, and love on.

MASTERWORKS: Christ Stilleth the Tempest

Our feeble protective spells go haywire. The rain comes. And comes. Dogs and cats slap down into the streets below and bury them to the first-story windows. We move to the upper floors. It’s strange to be back in the old building where so much happened, where so much ended, like returning to a childhood home still stocked with your old possessions, each of them charged with emotional memory, unexpected resonance. I rescue what I can—I carry up the stairs the remains of the plants, boxes of books and supplies, an old ice chest, the smaller canvases—but there’s too much of it, there’s not enough room for the stuff and the three of us.

Sweetly Afflicting: An Interview with Anna Leventhal

The funny thing about Leventhal is that she makes the unfunny, the upsetting, the annoying, and the unremarkable funny. Leventhal explores the subtle shades of meaning in her characters, many of which are women, and picks at the awkward hilarity that makes up our lives. It is funny to be judged for picking up a pregnancy test. It is awkward to encounter a rapist at a dinner party. In Leventhal’s stories these things happen, as they do in the lived lives of women, woven into the fabric of days. Leventhal evoked such a visceral reaction from me that I laughed out loud on a plane surrounded by strangers, because it is truly funny when someone’s fictional musings feel more real than your own life.

Don’t Just Read Books

The logic of Book Twitter is: Books are inherently good. Therefore, if we’d all just read more books, Donald Trump wouldn’t have been elected. If you believe that books have the power to do good, you also have to believe that they can do just as much harm. 

Most humanoids seem to be in agreement: 2016 was a twisty, turn-y rollercoaster ride of a year. So, in order to cap it off in the most joyful fashion possible, we're counting down some of the loveliest, weirdest, and most innovative stories we published this year. Listed in no particular order, we hope these ten stories will bring a little bit of light into your life and into the New Year.

9 E-newsletters for the Lazy Lit News Gatherer

Email is making a comeback. Or maybe it’s just e-newsletters. Or, at the very least, maybe it’s just our own e-newsletter. To celebrate our dedicated return to your email inbox (sign up here), we put together a list of some of our other favorite literary e-newsletters. With newsletters like these, who needs Twitter? (Just kidding. We love Twitter.)

 

The Latest in Simon Jacobs' Exclusive Series: MASTERWORKS

Simon Jacobs had an idea for a recurring series: flash fiction pieces in which the characters reenact famous works of art. Being a home for art and lit to meet and clash and mix, Paper Darts couldn't say no.

Welcome to MASTERWORKS. This serialized content is delivered exclusively to Paper Darts e-news subscribers each month. If you don't want to miss out on the next one, sign up for the Paper Darts e-news.