Our most popular articles this past year were our resource articles, Where to Submit Your Writing This Summer, Where to Submit Your Writing This Fall, and Where to Submit Your Writing This Winter. Because our readers have found those posts so useful, watch out for even more amped-up resources this year in the Resource tab in the main navigation, but for now, leaving out our resource posts and Best of 2014 lists, our 10 most popular articles of 2014.
1. Some Thoughts on the Signal by Janice Lee
In the end, the pieces fall into place in a way where everything, after all, is exactly as it seems, and simultaneously, nothing is as it seems. But isn’t that the nature of reality? Are we back in The Matrix? After all the familiarly serene and authoritative nature of Laurence Fishbourne’s performance adds that tinge, and of course as the past arbiter of red pill vs. pill, we are already suspicious of his character simply because of the context of his past role in a warped version of reality.
Ironic, but one of the most intimate acts
of our body is death.
So beautiful appeared my death – knowing who then I would kiss,
I died a thousand times before I died.
‘Die before you die,’ said the Prophet Muhammad.
Have wings that feared ever touched the Sun?
I was born when all I once feared – I could love.
3. On Trigger Warnings, Part I: In the Creative Writing Classroom Curated by Megan Milks
Many people throw the word “trigger” around fairly cavalierly these days, but that doesn’t mean the concept itself is meaningless. On the contrary, we live in (and help make?) a culture which seeks in every way to undermine survivors of trauma, who so often are speaking pretty uncomfortable truths to power. How can we help make a new culture, which actually listens to those affected by toxic heteropatriarchy, racism, capitalism—a culture which makes possible healing and witness and powerful art?
4. Cosmopolitan Moonshine: The SoGoth Populism of the Drive-By Truckers, Part One by Jason Gubbels
Take it from this Katherine Anne Porter / Zora Neale Hurston fan – some of the finest contemporary short fiction to come out of the American South hails from the shaggy-haired and power-chord festooned likes of Athens, Georgia-based rock outfit Drive-By Truckers. Two decades into a songwriting career informed by both country music’s rural/urban divide and the cultural semi-bohemianism of indie rock’s club circuit, lit majors and Tin House subscribers remain largely absent from a rowdy Trucker fan base that can rival fellow classic-rock bards The Hold Steady in the beer-chugging department.
6. 25 Novels On Failure by Janice Lee
Might the novel, as a form, signal a sort of failure inherent in its own slightly paradoxical but insistent existence? There is something that a novel, often in its ability to pause, or in its longness or sheer density, can achieve that other forms cannot. But in the ambition to get at something so indescribable that the mere attempt requires an entire novel to represent the attempt at its description, this is a failure in itself, the epic as a sort of fabrication or proportional importance to conduct or heartbeat or sunrise, the achievement not in page count or arc but in intention, hope, courage, the mere attempt at something impossible.
7. On Trigger Warnings, Part II: Generational Tensions Curated by Megan Milks
I don’t know about Gay’s history with content warnings, but as I came of age in the 80s, the mandate to provide content warnings and to rank artistic material on a scale of “normal” to “harmful” came from the far right. So I associate trigger warnings with the content warnings that artists’ products were labeled with, and that meant the difference between having one’s visual art, film, or record distributed or not. That was one of the many material results of the institutional mandate for content warnings. One of the less-visible results was a reiteration of what content was helpful and what content was harmful. So of course, we would want to ask, “helpful for what or whom?” and “harmful for what or whom?”
8. WARNING: HUGE RANT ON SEXUAL PREDATION & VICTIM BLAMING by Sueyeun Juliette Lee
Sexual predation in the various offshoots of the home I call “poetry” or “writing” are hitting mainstream media outlets, now. Some of the chatter I’ve witnessed around those communities makes me want to say this: I think that victim blaming and the blinders around sexual assault are frankly tied to a totally insufficient understanding of what constitutes “violence” or “coercion,” as well as “resistance.”
9. YOU MAKE ME FEEL #2: JACKIE WANG by Gina Abelkop
What was it that made me receptive? I don’t want to credit Lars von Trier! It could have been the blood moon. It was also the night before I had to make a decision that would determine the course of my life. What a fucking headspace, right before having to make a big decision. It’s its own kind of madness. The dizziness can create an opening. Time accelerates. Life moves in leaps. Everything was moving very fast beneath my feet and the film caught me in that moment. The smallest cinematic details were so vivid to me.
10. How to Win the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition by Thomas Cook
1. Be number 109.
2. Don’t submit your manuscript in 1943.
3. Do submit your manuscript in 1920, 1921, 1922, or 1923.
4. Be a man.
5. Change your name to John.