Essay Filter
  1. The Darkest Town in America

    “Hundreds of miles from anywhere else I’d ever been lies one of the darkest places in the country, tucked away from the bleeding glow of civilization.” A FiveThirtyEight writer visits Gerlach, Nevada, one of the few areas in the US mostly untouched from light pollution.

    Essay
  2. “So those who hold the privilege and control the decision-making process need to push until they’re bordering on discomfort, and then they will know they’re headed in the right direction.”

    Commentary
  3. Curating punk rock

    Can and should punk rock memorabilia be on display in museums — or does that defeat the purpose of punk’s ethos in the first place? Aging punk Matthew Barlow explores the question.

    Art
    Image by tigga666 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  4. The Diversity Deal

    In the wake of the #MuslimBan Executive Order and the airport protests that followed it, London-based writer Ali Abbas calls on Muslim communities to forge stronger, more reciprocal ties with other marginalized groups.

    Commentary
  5. My Father Worked for Both Parties at Seven Inaugurations. I Can’t Stand Trump — But I’ll Be There For Dad.

    From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, Michael Estrin’s father taught him that patriotism transcends partisanship.

    Essay
  6. Avidly

    Avidly, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, is a weekly publication that specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to thinking and feeling about culture.

    Culture
    Photo by Roger W. CCB-BY SA 2.0
  7. Thoughts on Belonging

    Writer and educator Monna McDiarmid, a Canadian based in Yokohama, Japan, reflects on her shifting sense of belonging to the various places she’s lived in.

    Culture
  8. Authors Talk: Randon Billings Noble

    In this podcast, author Randon Billings Noble discusses her essay “The Sparkling Future, the Eternal Present” and how older work can continue to have value for readers. “The writer might no longer be the same person by the time the writing is published, but its message can still be relevant to those who read it.”

    Authors
  9. Art, Animal, Essence: The Drawings of Charley Harper

    “To this day, animals are my guides to distant lands and fantastic realms beyond my urban experience and human reality.” Isaac Yuen describes drawing animals as a child and explores his favorite nature illustrations from the late Ohio artist Charley Harper.

    Animals
  10. “We will not wake up with hangovers and crock pots full of black eyed peas and feel suddenly settled or resolved, there will be no obvious solutions to our problems. No matter how resolute we may be, the date on the calendar is not an enabler.”

    Essay
  11. Big Night

    Jill Sisson Quinn’s essay, “Big Night” — on the process of adopting a child and her fascination with salamanders — was recently selected for the “Best American Essays 2016” anthology.

    Essay
    Illustration by Phillip Taylor
  12. The Best of Tropics of Meta in 2016

    The editors at Tropics of Meta compile their favorite posts from 2016, on topics including architecture, hip hop, and politics — both tragic (the Orlando shooting, the US presidential election) and inspiring (struggles for social justice).

    Commentary
  13. On not writing Christmas cards

    Helen Hayward on not writing Christmas cards: “I’ve always struggled to describe an entire year in a hundred words inside a Christmas card. I find it even harder this year. Because this year it’s clear to me that my life isn’t going to plan.”

    Essay
  14. Pulse shooting’s youngest victim left teammates with a mission

    At ESPN’s The Undefeated, journalist Timothy Bella tells the story of Akyra Murray, the youngest victim of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and how her high school women’s basketball team in Philadelphia is honoring her memory.

    Essay
  15. Looking Back on Thirty Years in the Warehouses of Oakland

    “This marginal life, this DIY life: in it, they created themselves. We created ourselves. This is why spaces like this matter more than ever now, as gentrification scours the creative life out of Oakland.” Kaya Oakes reflects on the Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people in December 2016.

    Essay