Posts Tagged: Paris Review

Mark Strand, 1934–2014

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And when you report back to your own daily world after experiencing the strangeness of a world sort of recombined and reordered in the depths of a poet’s soul, the world looks fresher somehow.

To pay homage to the passing of Mark Strand last Saturday, The Paris Review opened its archive and published a manuscript page of the poet’s “A Piece of the Storm,” as well as some interview quotes and a poem from 1992.

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Discovering a Smart Poet

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Smart was known, with his “disturbed mental state,” for his loud, feverish, constant praying, and you can read some of that catatonia in Jubilate, with its litany of “for”s and its incantatory quality. 

Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring introduces us to Christopher Smart, an interesting, unknown poet from the XVIII century who is featured in the Public Domain Review‘s very first print anthology, the newly published The Book of Selected Essays, 2011-2013.

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Crashing on Ice

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The sound you hear when you put ice cubes into warm (but not hot) water—that subtle but quick crackling—is the sound all around you in the summer fjords near glaciers. There is ice everywhere in the water, the size of your fist and the size of small islands, and because the water is only a few degrees above freezing, the ice cracks slowly, abundantly.

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Summer Camp for Book Nerds

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For the burgeoning field of Critical Bibliography, “the study of the physical characteristics of books and the process of bookmaking,” Rare Book School is the highlight of the year. The Paris Review’s Benjamin Breen reports from the annual conference out of UVA, where old-school book enthusiasts gather to share in the examination of woodcuts, medieval manuscripts, and specimens like a gold-edged copy of Encyclopédie with Diderot’s handwritten notes in the margins.

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Hallelujah

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Listing our literary patrons of sex-ed, Leonard Cohen doesn’t immediately come to mind. And yet:

Cohen, who turns eighty on Sunday, is exceptionally good at drawing out those moments of sexual crystallization. It’s a skill that, along with his gravelly voice and poems about women’s bodies, has given him a reputation for being a “ladies’ man.” Judging by the adoring crowds at his shows, it’s a reputation he deserves.

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Simply and Swiftly

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In 1906, aged 21, D.H. Lawrence wrote to his future fiancée Louise Burrows with writing advice after reading an essay on art she’d sent to him. Among many other remarkable lines, the British author told Burrows that “[l]ike most girl writers you are wordy” and suggested not being “didactic; try and make things reveal their mysteries to you, then tell them over simply and swiftly, without exaggerating as I do.

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Seriously Serious

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Over at the Paris Review, Jason Novak has taken up the pen again; this time, he’s turned to authors and their eccentricities. Among his observations:

“Somewhere Hemingway is sitting quietly at his desk. Pouring another bull. And fighting another drink.”

Other targets include Don DeLillo, Jane Austen, Hegel, Nabokov, Heidegger, and the state of Publishing itself.

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Spellbound

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Unaccustomed, vicious, onomatopoeia… We all have that one word we can never spell correctly. Paris Review blogger Sadie Stein’s was “Wednesday.” “It’s like a mental block,” she writes, “or maybe, an increased reliance on technology.” Read the rest of the mini-essay here.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Let’s dedicate this week to the publications, editors, and benevolent marketing gurus who unleashed a whole bunch of quality FREE short fiction to us. Under the shadow of the FCC’s impending decision as to whether or not net neutrality will continue, these all-you-can-read buffets taste even sweeter.

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Word of the Day: Nubivagant

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(adj.) wandering through or amongst the clouds; moving through air; from the Latin nubes (“cloud”) and vagant (“wandering”), c. 1656.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Coming off the holiday weekend, the trusted dispensary of short fiction, Joyland, published “The History of Hanging Out“ by Kevin Mandel. Mandel’s story lives up to its title, encapsulating the bundled, sparking energies of a group of young creators.

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Letterpress and Pictures, Literature and Art

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Should art and literature be treated independently? The Paris Review Daily reports that the British Library has recently released an online collection of 1,200 Romantic and Victorian texts in the first phase of a plan to digitize various literary periods. Notably included is The Yellow Book, a literary quarterly that strictly distinguished between the two mediums.

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You’ve Got (Chain) Mail

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What do Amish Friendship Bread, poetry and chain letters have in common?

Sadie Stein opened her inbox the other day to find an email about a poetry chain, she writes at the Paris Review.  Although participating in the chain left her “feeling a bit like someone’s aunt,” the email project was ultimately inspiring, and reminded Stein of the last chain she’d taken part in—the act of baking and passing along to neighbors strange bread made from instant vanilla pudding.

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A Family Tradition

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“Maybe it’s the glow from the new miniature lamppost from the Caroler collection my brother ordered that literally cast my mother’s dolls in a new light or the realization that they’ve been with our family for so long, but I’m regarding the arrangement on the bay window sill of my parents’ house—their own and no longer in Germantown—with less skepticism this year.

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