Posts Tagged: New York Times

The Voice of Secondary Trauma

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In his review of Bilal Tanweer’s The Scatter Here is Too Great, Jess Row writes about the trauma that’s influenced so many of Pakistan’s novelists:

Pakistan is a country where the fact of suffering is indeed irrefutable, whether we’re speaking of the horrific treatment of women and religious minorities, the use of terrorism — both insurgent and state-sponsored — as a tool of political strategy or simply the persistence of the most extreme poverty in a country that wastes billions on a state of perpetual war.

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Works to Watch Out For

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If Alison Bechdel’s Genius grant weren’t reason enough to celebrate, she’s got another graphic memoir due in 2017. As the New York Times puts it:

“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” is Ms. Bechdel’s third graphic memoir and chronicles her decades long obsession with various fitness and exercise fads, including downhill skiing, uphill skiing, rollerblading, martial arts, running, hiking, weight lifting and home workout videos and currently, yoga.

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Writing Tomorrow Better

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Find yourself at the New York Times for Nick Bilton’s most recent article, a piece on the ways in which the sci-fi of the past has affected our real-life present. Moreover, Bilton highlights a recently formed group of writers, aware of literature’s future-shaping effects, interested in writing more auspicious future fiction:

One thing writers are pushing back against in particular is Hollywood’s depiction of the future.

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Life-Changing Books

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In the latest installment of “Bookends” at the New York Times, Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose discuss whether a book could ever change a reader’s life in a negative way. While Jamison thinks that “[n]ovels might not make us worse, but they can unlock parts of us that were already there, already dark, already violent or ruthless or self-destructive,” Prose recounts not being the least affected by “inappropriate” reading material as a little child.

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Automated Authorial Voice

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New autocorrect software is beginning to suggest sophisticated word alternatives that go beyond simply correcting typos, reports The New York Times. With such complicated options, the software is beginning to influence authorial voice. This automation also poses a threat to saying anything meaningful at all:

“The more we don’t autonomously struggle with language, grapple to find the right word, muscle through to bend language poetically, the less we’re able to really treat conversation as an intentional act.

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Word of the Day: Atelier

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(n.); artist’s studio or workshop; c. 1840, from the old French astelier (“carpenter’s workshop, woodpile”)

“Part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn’t obtain,” [Lerner] says, “how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself.”

From “With Storms Outside, Inner Conflicts Swirl”

How the old French word for a splinter of wood (astelle, likely from the Latin astula) evolved to eventually refer to an artist’s abode may be fodder only for the most archaic linguist.

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Another Station

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When the The New York Times asked for his background, Ben Lerner answered the best he could:

“Suburban-white-kid crime, Columbine High School sort of thing,” he said. “A violence of numbness and identitylessness.”

In the Parul Sehgal’s piece, the author of Leaving the Atocha Station also touches on parenthood, Joan of Arc, and his upcoming novel, “10:04”.

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The Unteachable Dark

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Writers Rivka Galchen and Zoë Heller, over at The New York Times, discuss the question that will never go away: can writing be taught? They raise valid points about whether teaching writing is fundamentally different from teaching something like science and the rigid way American high schools teach essay writing.

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Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow, Nobrow

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Critics have been locked in debate over the Internet’s effect on cultural production and reception for as long as most millennials can remember, exclamations like “democratized content” and “death of the novel” appearing at every click and turn. In this week’s New York Times “Bookends” column, two writers discuss whether dated categories are still applicable to a cultural conversation that draws on media high and low, in which both elites and “the masses” take part.

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Amy Bloom, Clearly and Persuasively

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In the latest “By the Book” over at the New York Times, Amy Bloom talks about the books on her nightstand, which writers she’d invite to a summer picnic (even if they wouldn’t get along), and the book she wishes someone else would write:

I wish someone else would write a book that clearly and persuasively articulated why women’s reproductive rights are so important to this country, on both moral and legal grounds.

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Keep Failing

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Don’t let that stack of rejection letters get you down. For writers of all kinds—would-be, struggling, under-appreciated, even critically acclaimed—failure is part of the job description. At the New York Times, Stephen Marche describes a writing profession riddled with disappointment and missed connections, from the ever-frustrating publishing world to a reader’s power of interpretation.

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Does Poetry Matter?

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Yesterday’s New York Times posed this question to poetry superstars Tracy K. Smith, Martin Espada, William Logan, Paul Muldoon, Sandra Beasley, Patrick Rosal, and our own David Biespiel. Whether by “educat[ing] the senses,” combatting irony, or “ritualiz[ing] human life,” suffice it to say, the answer is Yes.

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