Posts Tagged: Paris Review

Figuring It Out En Route

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Growing up does not mean we stop reading Marxist critiques or hating ourselves or feeling the grotesque contrasts writ large on every page of our petty lives.

At the Paris Review blog, Sadie Stein offers a hilarious peek into her thoughts during a flight to San Diego, addressed to the teenage boy she sat next to who was reading Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason.

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Publishing’s Culture of Positive

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Recently, Jessa Crispin shocked the literary world by announcing she would be closing Bookslut, the literary blog she started fourteen years ago. Since then she has stirred some controversy, calling the Paris Review “boring as fuck” (the Paris Review took the critique in stride, offering a 10% discount with the code BORINGASFUCK) and attacking online literary culture for being overly positive.

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Credit - David Plakke Media NYC, 2015 - MarkLeyner_GONEWITHTHEMIND

The Rumpus Interview with Mark Leyner

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Mark Leyner discusses his new novel, Gone with the Mind, about a failed novelist, Mark Leyner, who gives a reading to his mom in an almost-deserted food court. ...more

Remembering Paul West

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The Paris Review remembers Paul West, an absurdist author of over fifty books. Excerpts from his satire, Portable Peoplecan be found here:

Fat men are the wisest dreamers. I always ate up sleep, on my back or side virtually weightless, and here in a cell on the lip of oblivion I still munch the same creamy finitudes, doting on sleep’s huge maternal billow, lurching downward only to heave myself back among the living for a final hug.

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The Old Sad Soak

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The Old Soak is a hauntingly one-note character, and one wonders exactly what about his alcoholism made him such a bankable franchise. Imagine the pitch meetings that followed: “He’s a lush, see? He wants to booze it up, but he can’t, because of that cursed eighteenth amendment!” Yuks ensue, contracts are signed, and everyone has a glass of whiskey.

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I Have Wasted My Life

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Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring talks about James Wright’s famous epiphanic poem Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, in conjunction with Ann Beattie’s new story Yancey, and the general discussion and controversy of the poem’s famous last line: “I have wasted my life.”

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How to Buy Heidi Julavits’s Self on eBay

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Author Heidi Julavits’s predominant self is hiding inside this matryoshka doll.

Over at the Paris Review, in an interview with Leanne Shapton, Julavits answers each question with an eBay auction listing. What listing would you choose to answer the query, “What sort of highly valuable or beloved object would you feed to a shark to save your life?” Hopefully not your copy of Women in Clothes, coedited by Shapton, Julavits, and Sheila Heti.

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The Multitalented Victor Hugo

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Although Victor Hugo is best known for his novels, the author had an avid interest in the visual arts as well. However, Hugo didn’t publish his visual artwork, fearful that his drawings might interfere with his literary projects. According to his son’s notes about his father’s process, Hugo would often complete his drawings “with a light shower of black coffee” directly onto the paper.

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Searching for Cervantes

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After a Times article last March criticized Spain (and its literary establishment) for failing to unravel the mystery of the precise location of Miguel de Cervantes’s grave, a reinvigorated search may have finally yielded results. Cervantes was buried in Madrid’s Trinitarias convent, but the specific site was not marked (or not marked well); the discovery of a casket with the initials M.

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Word of the Day: Frigiferous

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(adj.); bearing or bringing cold; from the Latin frigus (“cold”)

There’s no denying it, as much as we might wish to: the Northern Hemisphere is in the midst of the coldest part of the year. We temper the icy storms with romantic images of thick woollen scarves and roaring fires and leftover roasted chestnuts, but the cold truth of the matter is, it’s frightfully frigiferous out there.

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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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