The truth is that the horror of being eaten outpaces the horror of death by any other means. Microbe, animal, another human: being consumed feels sharper, entirely visceral. But why?
Over at Guernica, Lance Richardson writes on Peter Gorman’s Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming, an ethnographic account of his experiences in the Amazon....more
Sometimes I worry that New York changes too quickly. I find myself clinging to things, silly things I wouldn’t have imagined, like the Kentile Floors sign or Joe’s Superette. “Brooklyn as brand has overtaken Brooklyn as place,” I remember reading in the New York Observer months ago.
For the Atlantic’s “By Heart” series, Vikram Chandra discusses the influence of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” highlighting what makes for good “minimalism”:
It’s not about what you say. It’s about what you leave out—and the intelligent reader will be able to sense the weight of all that’s been omitted.
A story is different from an event . . . The event is what happens. A story is the mythology that rises from what happens. Often this mythology is where the real story, the truest story, lives.
As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person....more
Meander to Hazlitt for Linda Besner’s recent reading of Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Besner’s critique is particularly concerned with the role of anonymity in a new, social-media-dominated landscape:
Social media, in other words, is a gift economy, in which we share information both in the expectation that others will share important information with us and in the hopes of increasing our social capital .
There is this (correct) notion that the world is speeding up of late, that we no longer have the attention spans to wait for a story to get going. But even decades ago, Elia Kazan, award-winning director and novelist, said that film audiences gave him seven minutes to capture their interest.
Becky Tuch, founder of The Review Review, talks about the growing diversity in literary magazines, badass female protagonists, and the problems with telling writers how to be good literary citizens:
The writing world is rich and varied and it needs every one of us.
Maybe killer whales and dolphins are talking to each other? Maybe a lot of things.
Hey but also, whales just wish we would quiet down.
The question is: what is the worst way to die (scientifically speaking)?
Important news: vikings were avid skiers....more
Reflecting on what might become of Roberto Bolaño, and his fame, John Yargo covers two biographies of the Chilean writer for the Los Angeles Review of Books, noting that these scholars had to “face a unique problem”:
The seductive popular image of [Bolaño]—something like a better-read Burroughs—is at odds with the voice of his fiction and his essays, which tends to be more generous, expansive, and penetrating than his image suggests.
The Daily Beast takes a look at the history of the female essayist from Didion to Dunham:
From cultural critic Susan Sontag and journalist-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelist (and Dunham’s mentor) Nora Ephron, and on through to the host of talented female essayists writing today, this is clearly a flourishing genre that the following women writers—in my mind some of the best writing today—are very much making their own; as Carol Hanisch famously declared in 1969, the personal is political; if, that is, one’s personal experience is mined eloquently and intelligently enough.
For the New Yorker, Jon Michaud reveals how S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, a staple in middle school and high school classes, came to define the young adult genre:
“The Outsiders died on the vine being sold as a drugstore paperback,” Hinton told me, but her publisher “noticed that in one area it was selling very well.
Four years ago, LA Weekly called Steven Ellison’s music “spiritual electronica.” Today, in the wake of his fifth release, Your Dead!, the artist known as Flying Lotus is still just as difficult to categorize. The experimental producer and beat-making virtuoso is known for creating hard-to-describe musical landscapes in the tradition of predecessors J-Dilla and Madlib....more
The Paris Review blog discovers that in publishing the “sky is always falling.”
Every year is an abysmal year for books and a terrific year for books. Editors no longer edit, except when they do; publishers care only for their bottom line, except when they don’t; the three-martini lunch is always dead, always quietly continuing.
Look we’re not saying that you can’t get to Mars, just that you’re going to starve to death very quickly.
But I bet you’d like some midcentury space design now.
Staying in orbit for one more: back in dino days there were hella active volcanoes on the moon....more
Vela Magazine is hoping to raise $25,000 to pay its women writers and editors. With less than a week left, they have $7,059 to pry from your gender-netural credit cards....more
I always find something to write about. I mean, you always have some emotion inside of yourself. Sometimes the only emotion you feel is shame or disgust or embarrassment or whatever—it’s not always the sexiest emotion—but as a living, breathing person, you always have something going on inside of your brain and inside of your heart.
At Book Riot, Amanda Diehl brings an optimistic anecdote to the often-bleak conversation on the value of book blurbs (typically rife with accusations of corporatism, cronyism, and empty praise). If the form can rise to the artistry of Margaret Atwood’s one-line praise for Laline Paul’s The Bees—“[A] gripping Cinderella/Arthurian tale with lush Keatsian adjectives”—perhaps there’s hope for the blurb yet....more
At the New York Times, Margalit Fox shares a moving tribute to poet Carolyn Kizer, who passed away last Thursday. Characterized by impeccably crafted sound and meter, and an understated warmth, Kizer’s poems brought out a softer side of feminist poetry from the 1950’s through the present:
Where the poems of Ms.
Only 20% of children in the neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens, New York, can read at grade level. That number is astoundingly low, but three enterprising young individuals hope to change that through a new non-government organization. They’ve created an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for things like after-school and weekend programs, as well as obtaining their 501(c) non-profit status....more
A panel discussion with Steve McQuiddy, Vladimir Dupre, and Steve Dickison, celebrating McQuiddy’s recent book Here on the Edge, which is the story of a World War II conscientious objectors camp on the Oregon Coast that became a center of activity for artists and writers and a major influence on the Beat Generation and beyond (Free, 7 p.m., City Lights)....more
Desire is transformative, and transgressive: whether it’s an unpeeled onion or a noble lover, to want something, especially for women, can never be entirely benign. A common consequence for careless appetite in fairy tales is monstrous birth– a child that is less, and more, than the mother bargained for.