“What Were They Like?” was published in British-American poet Denise Levertov’s 1967 collection The Sorrow Dance. It is an anti-war poem. Levertov had been active in the movement against the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The war gave rise to massive...

Home is American novelist Toni Morrison's 10th novel, published by Alfred Knopf in 2012. Morrison has been forthcoming about the various influences on the germination and the writing of the novel. She wanted to critique the faddish affection for...

The Cat in the Hat, published in 1957, seems like a simple, straightforward text. After all, Theodore Geisel, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, wrote beloved picture books for young children, and he used a total of 236 different words—most of which...

Written in the form of a villanelle, "Mad Girl's Love Song" is a poem by American poet Sylvia Plath. She wrote the poem in 1953 when she was in her third year at college. The poem was published in Mademoiselle magazine in 1953, where she completed...

Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film Contagion tells the frightening story of a deadly pandemic. It is an ensemble film that examines the disaster from multiple angles, as different characters grapple with the effects of the pandemic in their personal...

Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore is a surrealist novel about Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who leaves home to escape an Oedipal curse that predicts he will murder his father and have sex with his mother and sister.

Murakami alternates...

Kanthapura (1938) is Indian author Raja Rao’s most famous work, and especially notable for it being a debut novel written when Rao was only 21 years old. Rao sought to, Alpana Sharma Knippling writes, “experiment with the English language,...

Walk Two Moons, published in 1994, was Sharon Creech's first novel to be published in the United States. The novel began, in the drafting stage, as a sequel to Creech's 1990 novel, Absolutely Normal Chaos, until, while writing, Creech came up with...

"Cozy Apologia" is a poem by American former US Poet laureate Rita Dove. It was first published in 2004 and is dedicated to her husband, Fred Viebhan.

Dove uses the poem to explore the world-building that happens hidden inside the mundanity of a...

“The Phoenix and the Turtle,” first published in 1601, is one of William Shakespeare’s non-dramatic poems. While Shakespeare is most famous for his plays and sonnets, he also wrote a number of shorter poems. Of these, “The Phoenix and the Turtle”...

“Fever 103” is a poem written by Sylvia Plath in the dark hours of the early morning on October 20, 1962, three months before her death. It was first published in the magazine Poetry in August 1963, and was among the poems Plath selected for...

Mumbo Jumbo is the third novel by Ishmael Reed, and many consider it to be his best. The complex plot and rich historical narrative portrayed full-bodied in Mumbo Jumbo grew out of just a minor digressive element of Reed’s previous novel, Yellow...

Normal People, the 2018 novel by the Irish novelist Sally Rooney, tells the story of a romance between two young people in contemporary Ireland. The novel was received extraordinarily well by both critics and readers, garnering Rooney an...

In the summer of 1937, Daphne Du Maurier’s husband was assigned as the commanding officer of the Second Battalion of the Grenadier Guards in Alexandria, Egypt. Du Maurier left her two daughters with their nanny in England and accompanied him to...