Claps and Cheers: The Power of No

by Ramona Pilar, Editor Claps & Cheers

This past January, writer and cultural critic Roxane Gay made the decision to pull her upcoming book How to be Heard from publishing with TED Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

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Noted author and “bad feminist,” Roxane Gay

The reason: not wanting to be published by the same publisher that would give Milo Yiannopolous, noted far-right writer and cultural instigator, a platform.

From a statement she gave to BuzzFeed News:

“I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book… I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo.”

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Are you really, really ready to attend an M.F.A. in Creative Writing program?

(I wasn’t, but I did learn some valuable lessons!)

by Sarah Rafael García

If you would’ve asked me about a year ago if I’d recommend Texas State University’s Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program to other writers (particularly women and writers of color), you would probably have to sit through a rant containing an array of emotions—anger, depression, regret and countless examples of microaggressions I experienced.

Although I still regret attending that program, I have also come to terms with the outcome. After all I became a stronger writer and mentor, not because of the MFA program but because the adverse experience forced me to seek support and resources outside of the MFA world, resources I’m not sure I would’ve sought otherwise. Continue reading

The Animal In Us

by Melissa Chadburn and Lauren Eggert-Crowe

One December night in Culver City, I, Melissa Chadburn, was talking to Lauren Eggert-Crowe about Kate Gale’s Huff Po missive about AWP’s inclusion and Carol Muske-Dukes’ defense of said article. Lauren said she’d wanted to write a response but it takes her time to write these things. I suggested we collaborate on a response to be read aloud at a Red Hen Press event. So on Thursday April 7th, rather than read the essay that Red Hen published in the Los Angeles Review, I read this:

MC:
I used to live in a group home. I used to wander the streets looking into people’s dining rooms with the worst kind of ache. I used to stand around with teenage boys on the street corner waiting for the stoplight to change color. I used to hitch rides through the Palisades to go to my group home for girls by the ocean. I used to worry about gonorrhea and feel like I was the worst piece of shit alive. I used to pat my mother’s hair between my hands like hamburger meat. I used to practice kissing girls by kissing the back of my hand or kissing my own shoulder just to see what my skin tasted like. I used to do graffiti on government issued desks waiting for my name to be called. I used to long to belong to a world of the ordinary.

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