Cultural criticism: The Sears catalog might well be considered a great work of American literature, having influenced the syntax of advertising, transformed mail-order commerce, and catalyzed America’s (decidedly democratic) language of desire.
Writing craft: Studying a show’s pilot script is a useful way for aspiring scriptwriters to get a sense for how its creators chose to establish the world of the story, introduce its characters, and leave the viewer wanting more.
Poetry: “At least, not in the pages of Billboard Magazine / Which chronicled showbiz scuttlebutt in the days / When entertainments were an in-the-flesh affair.”
Sports commentary: As a die-hard fan, seeing your team lose in the postseason is a rich source of speculation and mythology. Seeing your team win it all makes for a much better story, save one key conundrum.
Cultural criticism: Steve Miller had a clear-cut legal case when the Geto Boys used his guitar-hook in their raunchy 1990 single “Gangster of Love.” The racial implications weren’t so simple.
Cultural criticism: The Geto Boys’ self-titled third album rattled America’s cultural gatekeepers, making N.W.A and 2 Live Crew look like a society luncheon.
Lyric essay: This prose poem jumbles passages from slave narratives and self-help books, Walden and the Hadith, online therapy forums and celebrity memoirs, weaving together a series of age-specific moments that shed light on the boundaries of memory and the complexities of self-presentation.
Satire: “Hey there, I’m a TV show set in New Orleans. I’m about art and integrity, and I don’t give a shit what you think of me.”
Found poetry: “I loved drawing out / the symbols / of the alphabet. / They were all / their own kind / of monster with / their own kind of tongue.”
Sports commentary: During Kansas City’s inspired 2014 playoff run, social media only heightened the gloriously irrational, neurotic nature of baseball fandom.
Graphic memoir: Aided by illustrations by his adolescent nephew, Rolf plumbs the humiliations, triumphs, and idiosyncrasies of his own adolescence.