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Inventing a Nation: Jacques Roumain and Haitian Kreyòl

Haitian independence from France in 1804 led to a host of consequences for the first black republic in the world. Among them was a fraught relationship with the new nation’s…

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Meskwaki Warparty: an Oral History

This war story was written in the Meskwaki language by Alfred Kiyana in about 1915 on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County, Iowa. It is among some 27,000 pages of…

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Conversations: Rion Amilcar Scott and Bro. Yao

Rion Amilcar Scott I’ve attempted many times to render as fiction my first conversation with Hoke Glover III (or Bro. Yao as many know him). Such a scene has always…

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Harold Bloom on Alvin Feinman’s Self-limiting Transcendence

I first met Alvin Feinman in September 1951, the day before I encountered another remarkable young man who also became a life-long friend, Angus Fletcher. Alvin was twenty-two, a year…

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Tina Chow’s Articulate Silence

Tina Chow’s Kyoto and Saturn bracelets I was exuberant when I first imagined writing this essay. I have been obsessed with Tina Chow for years. When asked why, I was…

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Words and Flesh: Observations on the American Soul

When you land in the United States, you can observe from a distance the world you are supposed to enter. For more than thirty years I lived in the opaque…

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Something in My Pocket: Bakhtin, Freud, and South Park

  South Park is obscenely violent, purposely grotesque, it holds nothing sacred, it is racist, sexist, homophobic as well as heterophobic, and abuses people of every political and demographic persuasion,…

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It Sang Itself Utterly Away: the Presence of the Poet

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with memory. Maybe I shouldn’t say lately, because I’ve always been obsessed with memory—mostly my own memories. One second I am brushing my teeth and the…

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Land of Masks: the Enigma of James Brown

“Lemme tell you something, Rev. When you kill’em, Rev, you leave. You kill’em and leave. You understand that, son? Kill’em and leave.” —James Brown to a young Al Sharpton  …

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Home: 9 LGBTQ Writers Reflect after Orlando

Contributors: Scott Esposito, Rooze Garcia, Gabriel Garcia Ochoa, Melissa Febos, Jill McDonough, H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, Mary Meriam, Annie Won, and Hannah Baker-Siroty. Editor’s Note We at The Critical Flame shared…

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