The “Magic” of Fairy Tales


Fairy tales take us to far away magical lands and introduce us to magical creatures. If you’re like me, you grew up with, or at least heard of classic fairy tales such as “Cinderella” and “Snow White.” These classic tales have been around for centuries and continue to be remade. I have always wondered why these tales continue to be so loved by so many, including myself.

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DIY Punk: Poetry Within the Music


I remember my first DIY punk show. It was in a warehouse that housed a makeshift stage, a halfpipe, and graffiti on the walls. There were hundreds packed into that 400 square foot space. It was nauseatingly hot and extremely difficult to catch a breath in the haze of cigarette smoke. The bands made their noise and racket while a sea of leather jackets and neon colored hair sang along at the top of their lungs. I was convinced the scene was a collection of individuals screaming obscenities and incomprehensible lyrics. Standing as far as possible from this commotion I never felt more out of place. I was the outsider and from that position I was convinced that this was the culmination of Bakhtin’s carnivalesque. I swore to myself this was my first and last punk show because I would never return. Continue reading DIY Punk: Poetry Within the Music

Creating an Absence: Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women

by Adam Timms

Several weeks ago, former president Barack Obama released his summer reading list. This collection of books was shared by us folks at New Forum several times and I was struck by its thematic diversity: speculative fiction, autobiographies, social commentaries, and short stories. One title struck me and stuck in my mind, “Men Without Women”. So I bought it, and I read it, and it made me feel silly.

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The World is Ending but Here Are Ten Poems that Give Me Peace

BY MISHA PONNURAJU · It is weird being a poet as the world seems to be on the brink of apocalypse. The time to reverse climate change is dwindling, the United States is continuing its tradition of human rights violations, and it’s likely that there will be another recession soon. When all of this is happening, I always wonder, “Why poetry?” What does it offer to the poet, to its readers?

Poetry can make everyday objects from ordinary life sacred, and I believe there is hope in everyday life. None of these poems may solve the world’s problems, but it teaches that there is beauty that can put the mind at ease, and enough of the world that is worth saving.  It is essential to take the steps we can protect our Earth from heat and hatred, but it is equally necessary to protect our hearts from getting cold. These poems bring warmth.  To begin New Forum’s summer blog, I thought I’d share some poems that fosters light in an ever-darkening world.

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East of Eden, North of Irvine: The Joy of Representation

BY MISHA PONNURAJU · Summer brings the promise of empty schedules and open books — many open books, hopefully. East of Eden has accompanied me on my quieter days, and my summer is more thankful for the still moments I can retreat into the narratives of the Trask and Hamilton families. East of Eden delicately and painstakingly renders several generations of two families who thrive and suffer on the soil of central California. This is an American story; American in the sense that this is an ‘American narrative’ which can typically exclude me and my family’s history.

I’ve accepted this exclusion. In order to love literature and my literary education, I have to accept this. It also helps that East of Eden has beautiful storytelling characterization. However, I cannot personally relate to the migration of European families who settle down onto rich farmland. As an Asian American, I don’t expect the great American novelists to tell stories that my family may recognize in ourselves.

So you can imagine the surprise I felt when I encountered, Lee — a character who’s deep introspection has given me joy beyond expression.

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The Craft of Stand-Up Comedy

BY YANIT MEHTA · Comedians at the very core of their craft are writers. Every comedian creates his/her own fiction (sometimes non-fiction) and delivers it to an audience. Just like any other writer the intent is to elicit a certain response in the audiences. Whether it’s laughs, gasps, dismay or disgust, a comedian must always write his/her way into generating an emotional response in his/her audiences. The one major difference between an average fiction reading and an average stand-up act is that if a comedian leaves with the audience silent for the entirety of his/her act he/she probably failed, or in industry jargon: bombed. Comedians not only, forge detailed narratives but also implement their own elevated fictitious personas to present these jokes after hours of introspection, and deliver them in a meticulously constructed set.

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