The summer of 1997 was immense for women in R&B and Hip-Hop...Read More
BY LEZA CANTORAL
Book: The Restored Ariel by Sylvia Plath
Hair Color: Ion, Sky Blue
It is incredible to see Plath’s notes on her poems. Frieda Hughes, her daughter, made this miracle happen. The restored Ariel planted a seed in my mind. The original order of the poems holds a certain power. The bee poems conclude the collection on an eerie note that also hints of spring and renewal.
This shade was ethereal. Probably my favorite blue of all time. It was gorgeous and surreal. I felt like I was not of this earth, like I was floating above it.
Book: Fire: From a Journal of Love by Anais Nin Hair color: Dark Red
Reading the diaries of Anais Nin was a revelation. It was like looking at the inside of my brain/heart/body. Those journals are lyrical, haunting, and so vibrantly alive.
I dyed my hair red very briefly. I had to bleach it out because red makes me oversexed and short-tempered.
Book: Belle de Jour by Joseph Kessel
Hair Color: Blonde
I related to the hunger of the protagonist for something more, not knowing what that is. This book is very French—and I mean that in the best way possible.
Going blonde made me more flirty and flighty. I felt more sexy, in a Marilyn Monroe kinda way. It made men laser in on me. It made me feel naked. There is a purity to blonde, but also a naughtiness.
Book: Village of the Mermaids by Carlton Mellick III
Hair Color: Black
I was writing a novelette called Planet Mermaid, inspired by The Little Mermaid. I was looking for inspiration. The mermaids in this book are spooky and dark and the general atmosphere of the book is very eerie and Lovecraftian. It was perfect.
Black was the first color I ever dyed my hair, back when I was 18 and goth. I was not feeling like myself in the blonde anymore. Going back to black felt like going back to myself. It was empowering.
Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Hair Color: Magenta
Flynn’s prose is powerful and her main character, Amy, is as compelling and she is horrifying. She is every man’s worst nightmare. There is a power in channeling these nightmare archetypes. I enjoyed this book maybe a little too much for my boyfriend’s comfort.
I went pink by accident in my quest to go purple or actually, lavender. It was very bright and vibrant and I felt like I was on fire with manic pixie dust.
Book: So Sad Today by Melissa Broder
Hair Color: Splat, Blue Envy
So Sad Today is raw, poetic, and devastating. As soon as I finished this I read Meat Heart and Last Sext. Melissa Broder is one hell of a poet and also a Twitter genius. I find myself retweeting any tweet I see from her @sosadtoday account.
In a moment of frustration about the surprisingly complicated chemistry involved in achieving pastel colors, I bought a bottle of blue Splat hair color. It looked pretty cool but blue makes me feel kinda disassociated and not quite human.
Book: Witch Hunt by Juliet Escoria
Hair Color: Overtone, Vibrant Purple
Witch Hunt is vivid, gripping, sardonic, and quirky. It is brutal and beautiful. My favorite part is actually at the end, where she describes various panic attacks she has suffered from. I love Juliet because she uses words to reveal, not to enchant. She opens up the dark places. Can’t get enough of that.
Like Goldilocks, I finally found the perfect purple. I did not achieve pastel but I found a gorgeous shade of vibrant purple. I stuck with this one for a while. Overtone is an amazing product for anyone who can’t commit to a color, or just wants a way to brighten a shade between dye jobs. Also, their conditioner smells incredible. Very minty and sweet.
Book: Glue by Constance Ann Fitzgerald
Hair Color: Aqua
Glue is a bite sized book that packs a big punch. No frills, just bones, blood, and blackouts. It is the story of a father, a motorcycle, an accident & a daughter who is trying to piece it all together. It’s heart-rending.
In my quest to achieve pastel purple, I gave my purple hair a bleach bath. Apparently, your hair turns green when you do that. It’s chemistry, and I still don’t understand it. I was horrified at first, but then I saw that it was actually a really petty shade, and it was a pastel shade, so that was one hair goal checked off, finally. It was a nice Xmas surprise to go along with the release of my short story collection Cartoons in the Suicide Forest.
Book: Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard
Hair Color: Manic Panic, Electric Banana
Sunshine State is a powerful collection of personal essays stringing together family history and the history of the author’s home state of Florida. Sarah has a way of peeking under the human skin that is unsettling and cathartic. I was floored and I was sobbing by the end.
I went yellow for a hot minute. It looked really bright and cool but it was more of a lime yellow because of all the green that was baked into my hair follicles from all the dyeing and bleaching. I went to an LGBTQ benefit dance and my hair was definitely the star that night.
Book: i can remember the meaning of every tarot card but i can’t remember what i texted you last night by Elle Nash
Hair Color: Arctic Fox, Neverland
These poems are raw and mystical, vulnerable and tough as nails. They breathe on the page, like Tarot cards come to life. They swept me away to other galaxies and selves and lives never lived. It is an experience that makes you naked to your true self. Pure poetic magick.
I decided to embrace the green and found a gorgeous minty shade by Arctic Fox. I mixed in a tablespoonful of Siren Song by Manic Panic to brighten it up. It turned out amazing. The dye also smells like bubblegum, is vegan, cruelty free, and they donate 15% to help prevent animal abuse. I gotta say, I feel pretty damn magickal in this color.
Leza Cantoral is an author and editor from Mexico. She writes for Luna Luna Magazine and her first collection of short stories, Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, was published by Bizarro Pulp Press. She is the editor of Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath, coming out in December 2017 through CLASH Books. Her poems appear in A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault published by Civil Coping Mechanisms. (Twitter @lezacantoral)
Eventually, I would look at my stomach for another reason. Not to contemplate its size because of my BDD (or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, as a plain-faced therapist would later tell me) but because of something more important. A child, or a baby, or a mass of cells. Something that didn’t make it into the safe spot of life. We spent hardly any time together before the clotting started. Then just as fast as it came, it was gone. In disbelief, I watched the toilet water stained and swirling unsure of what to do with my shame. Eight weeks and I was just another body again. My hand must have hovered over the lever on the toilet for minutes before I could convince myself to let go.Read More
Terri Muuss’ poetry has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies and been nominated twice for a Pushcart. She is the author of Over Exposed (2013) and the one-woman show Anatomy of a Doll, named “Best Theatre: Critics’ Pick of the Week” by the New York Daily News and performed throughout the US and Canada since 1998. Muuss also co-edited Grabbing the Apple (2016), an anthology of New York women poets. As a director, actor, author and licensed social worker, Muuss specializes in the use of the arts as a healing mechanism for trauma survivors. Muuss frequently speaks, performs and runs workshops at colleges and conferences around the country. www.terrimuuss.comRead More
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Summer is a time of rebirth—everyone says so. Even if you dread the heat and all those bodies locked up next to one another, and even if you can’t stand the sweat and the toil, the summer is kicking up all that stuff inside of you that needs to be released or confronted. Sometimes, for some of us, it takes a summer to realize beauty and goodness again, while for others, it takes a summer of thinking-thinking-feeling-feeling to finally allow yourself to rest and blossom during the cooler months.
Whatever you feel, the summer is a character in our lives, and it has an impact—whether direct or not.
There’s also something about the summer that makes prose even more seductive. Sure, the winter has had its moments, but it’s the summer—and all its summery things: cool wine, perspiration, dark, hot nights, loud light, white fabrics, the sand and the sea, fever dreams, inescapable lust, suffering—that pools us in. Here are a few of my favorite read-again-over-the-summer books, not just for their content, but for the perfect way they pair with the heat and light. Some books you just must read at the kitchen window in that hot yellow light.
These are a few of my favorite summer reads over the past couple of years.
The Sailor from Gibraltar by Marguerite Duras
Holy shit, this is beautiful and heavy, like wet clothes, or like a wine-fueled dream. I started this one years ago and never quite finished, and then I started it again and finished it. Why? I don’t know why. Duras is exceptional—her language is like falling asleep and waking up in the most elaborate palace. This book follows a French man who feels his life is all sort of pointless—and so he finds himself in Italy, and then on a yacht sailing with an American woman who is searching always for her sailor. The language is a dreamy, hot, violent, thrashing animal. Read more about my love for this book here.
The History of Violets (translation) by Marosa di Giorgio
Marosa di Giorgio makes me weep. Every time, without fail. She is a Uruguayan poet whose voice has transcended style or genre. She pulls me into a place in myself that makes sense. By reading her work, I can experience two worlds: the one we see, and the one we feel. It’s like she makes the ghosts come out. It’s like she haunts me from the inside, always there, sprinkling a little magic into my life and work.
This book is all summer—it’s about the farm di Giorgio grew up on, and where the supernatural and the real converge in a playground of greenery and life and death. It is also a book about memories, which in its own way, is deeply rooted in the tenants' summertime. That we’re hot and moving through this intense heat, and that our childhoods were filled with long days and weeks often without direction, that we remember these things, those long hours, and that we fill them with our feelings and fears. In Marosa’s farm, the ghosts and vines mingle, and it’s a splendid look at how prose can encounter remembering and truth and family.
Ps: I have a tattoo on my arm from one of her poems. It reads, Recuerdo la eternidad (I remember eternity).
Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
Because summer is sex embodied by nature. Because Anaïs Nin's work is sweat and blood and feverish heat. If you haven’t read Delta of Venus, you are in for it, because this book is resplendent and erotic and musical. Nin is basically my other mother, so I’m biased. Full disclosure.
This book was written in the 1940s (sigh), and it’s filled with stories of want and hunger and fetish and desire. It’s also very daring, which, if you were a woman in the 1940s, was not an easy thing to be. It’s also refreshing to read about sexuality from a woman’s goddamn perspective.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
I’ve read The Stranger about 10 times, and it’s changed for me every time. The first time I read it, I was in 11h grade, and our teacher had us focusing on existentialism. It was then, in that classroom, that my understanding of literature changed. Yes, I had read from the canon, and I’d read beautiful books—but none that mocked me like The Stranger did. It was slow and strange and I could not understand Mersault. I loved and hated him. I felt this oppressive, hot, swampy suffocation take over as I read it. I could feel the summer of the book on me; I could feel the sun and the sand and the sea and the violence and madness. I didn’t know what to think. I often felt fatigued while reading it. And still do.
The Mystical Rose by Adélia Prado
I adore this book for so, so many reasons. Prado, firstly, was an inspiration to me when I first started writing. Having visited Brazil (with family from her town, Minas Gerais), I feel an even stronger connection. Prado was a devout Catholic, which you can feel in her work, blended into her ideas of the body, the imagination, the mystical and the sexual. Breasts, fruit, light, and dark—it’s all here, and to me, it smells of summer. Of all the bad and beautiful smells of the human body.
You can find some translated poems here: http://bombmagazine.org/article/3056/four-poems.
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
I reread this magnificent this book on the beach recently, and it struck me that most books about young women are sadly quite trite and full of melodrama. Not this one. Kincaid’s writing is so alluring and unique and bold, and this story—about an au pair from the West Indies, Lucy—is a transcendent coming of age story. It’s set in the backdrop of a wealthy white family’s home, where Lucy is alone, without her family, dealing with issues of race, identity, cultural loneliness, and the developing self. It’s like summer itself; there is a change occurring, as Lucy experiences, and reading her story comes at you in full force with all the heat of its weight and terribleness and power and reflection.
My Summer of Love by Helen Cross
You may have seen the movie, but have you read the book? It looks at the love-lust-obsession between two young girls who, very different, fill their achingly hot summers with one another. The two girls delve into the darkness of death and loneliness and sensuality and power, and their relationship becomes a sort of power play. It’s heady and I’m obsessed by it. I can smell the rivers and the sheets and the skies the book inhabits.
The Present Tense of the World by Amina Said
This book is drenched in summer in that the Tunisian shore, and other lands, lap you up as you read. Said writes that she "was born on the shore, of the sea of the setting sun." But it’s more than that; there’s a sense of fleeting transience, and discovery of the self through place, and the sea outlining the lands and cultures she travels to. Said writes in French (you can read more about that, and the implications of colonization in language here) and there’s a definite sense of the political in all of her work. It’s a beautiful, heavy read, and one that I believe is required, especially for any poet who wants to understand place and the self within it. I found, reading it in the summer on the shore in dead-heat, that I was drunk on its dripping, begging language. I can’t imagine reading it in the winter; it’s too urgent for coolness.
Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) by Françoise Sagan.
I literally read this book while sunbathing nude. It’s about a girl who spends her summer in the French Riviera, surrounded by her father and his lovers and their sensual antics. She then develops a relationship with a boy from a villa over, and the book becomes one of sex and jealousy and dreams of death. The book is a drug, and reading it, you feel high and full and languid, like you’re hiding behind a hot, vulgar, strange veil. More than that, it is a feminist book, one that isn’t afraid to explore a young woman’s sexuality from her perspective.
Lisa Marie Basile is an editor, writer and poet living in NYC. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine and the author of APOCRYPHAL (Noctuary Press, 2014), as well as a few chapbooks: Andalucia (Poetry Society of New York), War/Lock(Hyacinth Girl Press), and Triste (Dancing Girl Press). Her bookNYMPHOLEPSY (co-authored with poet Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein), was a finalist in the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards.
Molly Tolsky gets stuff done. She's an editor extraordinaire: She was a former editor at Kveller (a women's site focused on Jewish parenting) and is also currently the senior editor for No Tokens (a literary magazine). But now, she's started another lifestyle brand: Alma. The official site just launched today, which is, as the site says, "for ladies with chutzpah."Read More
I fell in love. Fell in love with the sadness and the mystery, the make believe and the darkness, the dead and the living, the monuments, the reverence for the lost, and the eternalness of myth.
Follow me through this photo diary of just a few of my favorite sites from my recent travels—places of heartbreak and glory, mist and fog, warrior queens and poets.Read More
Roberto Carlos García's book, Melancolía, is available from Červená Barva Press. His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, The New Engagement, Public Pool, Stillwater Review, Gawker, Barrelhouse, Tuesday; An Art Project, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, and many others. He is the founder of Get Fresh Books, LLC, a cooperative press. A native New Yorker, Roberto holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His website is www.robertocarlosgarcia.comRead More
From Austin, Texas, Colleen Blackard is based in Brooklyn, NY and creates drawings inspired by the light of the Texas night skies of her youth. She received a BA from Hampshire College, MA, and her drawings have been shown in London, Moscow, Tokyo, New York City, and more. Her work has been featured in such venues as Fountain Art Fair, ACA Galleries, Rush Arts Gallery, Family Business Gallery, Owen James Gallery, and Brooklyn Fire Proof. She was featured in the Brooklyn episode of the Japanese travel show, Hotel no Madokora, and is represented by ISSO Gallery in Tokyo, and Aberson Exhibits in Tulsa, OK. Her drawings are in Pierogi Gallery's Flat Files in NYC, and she was interviewed for their Artist's Q&A. Her work is featured in the current publication of Drawing Magazine, with an interview published on their website: Why Colleen Blackard is an Artist to Watch.Read More
Obviously I was head over heels for THE VVITCH and the coven in that. MALEFICENT is another hero of mine and I still can't believe that Disney made her film anti-patriarchy rape survival story. I love Faye Dunaway in SUPERGIRL as the witch who lives in a funhouse. My very favorite kind of witches are the earthy Satanic dirt witches who live on the outskirts of society and exist solely to terrify and oppose men—women like Meg Foster in LORDS OF SALEM, the witch in the '80s classic SUPERSTITION (it's amazing, try to find it and watch it!), and Gaga in AMERICAN HORROR STORY. I personally identify as a Satanic feminist witch and these ladies give me life. But so do the Sanderson Sisters in HOCUS POCUS. From the witches of childhood stories to the witch heroes in the movies I love today, I can't get enough of powerful women existing in spite of society, being fabulous, and twisting mens' folly to their will. And, like I and three other drag queens endlessly argued over in our intro to THE CRAFT, I am indeed the Nancy.Read More
...bookbinding, activism, and mothering brown boys in these tumultuous daysRead More
I love all music, but if I'd have to choose a favorite decade in the music scene, it would undoubtedly be the 80s—a time I wish I was transported to right now. My heart just skips a beat whenever a new wave song comes on the radio, my whole body boils with passion and energy when I hear an 80s album remixed beautifully. And so, I created a listicle—albeit abridged—of some of my beloved musical artists with lesser known songs that are nonetheless deliciously tuneful and timeless, with a bit of a background on my favorite genres—gothic rock and new wave.Read More
Nadia Gerassimenko is the assistant editor at Luna Luna Magazine by day, a moonchild and poet by night. Nadia self-published her first poetry collection "Moonchild Dreams" (2015) and hopes to republish it traditionally. She's currently working on her second chapbook, "at the water's edge." Visit her at tepidautumn.net or tweet her at @tepidautumn.Read More
Gillian Cummings is the author of My Dim Aviary, winner of the 2015 Hudson Prize (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). She has also written three chapbooks, the most recent of which is Ophelia (dancing girl press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Boulevard, the Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Verse Daily and in other journals.Read More
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.Read More