In the 1920s, a man passing through Washington, D.C., noticed something about the city in September: It was sweltering, and there were few places to seek relief. He figured you could make a lot of money selling ice-cold drinks.
That first business venture set J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. on a road to riches.
I remember riding the bus to school in the early 2000s, listening as the older kids argued passionately about was going to happen on that night's episode of Friends. In the background, radio ads on the local Top 40 pop station dramatically intoned that maybe Rachel was finally going to admit she really loved Joey and not Ross, but you wouldn't know unless you tuned in to NBC at 8:00 on the dot.
Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.
For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?
Christian Wiman has "a cancer that is as rare as it is unpredictable." A poet and the former editor of Poetry, Wiman has found himself, when overwhelmed by the painful disease and pain-inducing treatments, praying not to God or for language to express his condition, but to the pain itself: "That it ease up ever so little, that it let me breathe. That it not — but I know it will — get worse."
The French painter Renoir, one of the creators of impressionism, is the subject of a French film that's in release across the U.S. It imagines the last years of the painter's life — surrounded by glorious rolling hills, doting housemaids and a new young model who becomes his muse. It's at least the second film to capture the master in motion.
Names are possessions that we carry with us all our lives. But we seldom think about what goes into picking the right one. Some choose to change their first names in adulthood, because of family history or pure disdain for a moniker. For Silas Hansen, the reason was that he's transgender.
And next, the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphor. We're celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing your poetic tweets. We've been hearing your poems that are 140 characters or less. We call our series Muses and Metaphor.
Today's poem comes from Christina Lux of Lawrence, Kansas. She's the assistant director of the African Studies Center at the University of Kansas. Our series curator, Holly Bass, says this tweet reminded her of how poetry can help us sort out difficult emotions and share personal pain. Here it is.