Peach Picks: Two Things to Read This Week

by / Feb. 13, 2018 6pm EST


“Mushroom” is all of us. It is staring at your phone screen waiting for the “…” in a text bubble below that thing that you maybe shouldn’t have said. After hearing Paige Melin read this poem aloud at our First Friday reading at Allen Street Dress Shop, I couldn’t wait for its feature at Peach and yesterday, just in time for Valentine’s Day, it was posted. Although there is nothing like hearing Paige read it after several “rage poems,” as I think she called them, “mushroom” is a dreamlike and hopeful look into a stage in a relationship that most people have trouble putting into words. “We’re not/ at emoji level yet but/ I imagine your eyes/ when you’re reading my words/ & that/ seems close enough for now.”


Feel Free 
by Zadie Smith

Penguin Press / 2018 / essays

Zadie Smith is arguably my favorite living author, and when I opened her new book of essays to one titled “The House That Hova Built,” I knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed with her latest collection. Smith writes about a dinner with Jay-Z (the essay was initially published in the New York Times Magazine in 2012), and she intersperses her experience with Jay-Z’s lyrics and his thoughts on Obama’s presidency, the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, the future of hip hop, and being a new father without missing a beat.

For those not interested in a meal between Zadie Smith and Jay-Z, the book is split into five parts: “In the World,” “In the Audience,” “In the Gallery,” “On the Bookshelf,” and “Feel Free.” When I say there is an essay for everyone, I mean it. In commentary ranging from politics to photos of Billie Holiday, to Geoff Dyer, joy, and Justin Bieber, Zadie Smith is an expert and will have you hanging on every last word.

“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo. For inquiries, contact the editors at