Mattresses, artificial fires and AC/DC. 

Darcey Steinke’s novel, Sister Golden Hair, an extract of which you can read in Granta, is published this month by Tin House Books. Here, she shares five links of what she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.


1. PetalWar is a Brooklyn-based band that consists of four young women, and one of them, Abbie, happens to be my daughter. The band started with two of its members at nine years old screaming AC/DC lyrics along to YouTube videos at sleepovers. Last summer they played with Kathleen Hanna’s new band Julia Ruin at Union Pool in Williamsburg. All members are at college now, Brown, Bard and Hampshire, but come next summer they will rage again.

2. I have been sad and angered to hear about the cases of sexual assault on campuses across the country in the last year. But I have been thrilled and proud to witness the rise of a new wave of young feminists. I teach at Columbia and I have seen Emma Sulkowicz carry her mattress across campus in protest of the way her own case has been handled. You can read more about Emma and the movement at the Woman Under Siege Project, started by Gloria Steinem. And if you are in the New York area and want to help Emma carry her mattress, click here.

3. I have always been fascinated with the French Oulipo movement since I saw one of its founding members, the writer Harry Mathews, read from poems that used their methods. Here is a site that puts one, N+7, into practice. You type in a line and the computer changes your nouns to the nouns lower down in the dictionary. So ‘I am a woman’ becomes ‘I am a wombat’, ‘I am a wonder’, ‘I am a woods’ and finally ‘I am a woodcutter.’

4. Killing the Buddha is a website about religion for people who are fully alive and possibly doubt-filled. The site, started long ago by Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau, is a vital forum on our complicated relationship to the divine. Recent articles have concerned why the Occupy movement should ‘occupy faith’ and if intuition has religious roots.

5. Once the leaves start to change and I can wear a sweater I tend to read by the fire – ‘The Fire’ being a virtual YouTube fireplace. I find the crackling soothing and I love to look up from my book now and then and gaze into the flames.


Photo © Eric LaPrice, View from ICP June 12, a.m., 2013

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