Posts Tagged: the new yorker

At Heaven’s Gates

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At the New Yorker, Richard Brody shares a eulogy for director Michael Cimino:

Cimino’s life work is a cinema of mourning, an art of grief, a nightmare of memory that finds its sole redemption in ecstasy—the heightened perception that transforms experience into a grand internal spectacle, which finds its own embodiment in Cimino’s own profound visual imagination.

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Trump Alchemy Examined

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“Get more, that inner music seems to be telling him. Get, finally, enough. Refute a lifetime of critics. Create a pile of unprecedented testimonials, attendance receipts, polling numbers, and pundit gasps that will, once and for all, prove—what?”

George Saunders patrols the Trump campaign trail and notates the surreal political phenomena known as “The Donald.” Here is what he discovered.

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The Evolution of Adrienne Rich

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Over at the New Yorker, Dan Chiasson marks the publication of Adrienne Rich’s collected works with an examination of the incredible arc of her life and career. And instead of condemning her many transformations as a kind of flightiness, he reminds us how admirable it is for a person to be able to change as they learn and grow:

Perhaps no American poet who started in the mode of accommodation so abruptly broke ranks, inventing for herself a new kind of discipline whose ethical rigors demanded fresh forms.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, Karen Russell of Swamplandia! fame has a new story in The New Yorker that unearths the self-deceptions beneath what we often think is love, and also unearths a body. In “The Bog Girl,” a teenage boy named Cillian digs up the 2,000-year-old body of a girl that has been perfectly preserved by a peat bog and then, with Russell’s classic flair for the imaginative and the creepy, falls immediately in love with her.

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The Important Queerness of Frog and Toad

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At the New Yorker, Colin Stokes lauds the classic Frog and Toad’s “amphibious celebration of same-sex love” and discusses the ways in which it may have been inspired by Arnold Lobel’s life experiences:

Lobel never publicly discussed a connection between the series and his sexuality, but he did comment on the ways in which personal material made its way into his stories… Knowing the strains of sadness in Lobel’s life story gives his simple and elegant stories new poignancies.

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Imagining the Past

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Over at the New Yorker, Lucy Ives writes about how some recent works of fiction challenge conventional definitions of historical fiction by “offer[ing] a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices.” Citing works by Danielle Dutton, Marlon James, and John Keene, Ives notes:

These fictions do not focus on fact but on fact’s record, the media by which we have any historical knowledge at all.

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The Moment of Change is the Only Poem

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In poetry words can say more than they mean and mean more than they say.

Over at the New Yorker, Claudia Rankine writes about the transformations Adrienne Rich underwent in search of ethics and the willful “I,” from the brief attempt at objectivity in her earliest poems to her refusal of the National Medal for the Arts, and the constant urgency and relevance to the here and now in her poetry.

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When Life Gives Critics Lemons

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In the New Yorker, Richard Brody laments how little coverage there is of independent film in mainstream media. If film culture is to change for the better, he argues, critics need to step out of their comfort zone and focus less on wide releases:

It’s up to critics and editors to acknowledge what was already clear in 1969—the realm of movies, their substance and their distribution, has changed drastically, and the practice of criticism needs to catch up with it.

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The Psychic Sasquatch

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Most libraries have limited physical shelf space, so if they want to purchase new books for their collections, often they have to remove some old ones. Two librarians, Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, know this can be a tough pill for book lovers to swallow, so they’ve been working to bring attention to the issue through their blog, Awful Library Books:

They often feature books with outlandish titles, like “Little Corpuscle,” a children’s book starring a dancing red blood cell; “Enlarging Is Thrilling,” a how-to about—you guessed it—film photography; and “God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents.”

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Poetry in Paradox

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The title of experimentalist poet Rosmarie Waldrop’s new book, Gap Gardening (New Directions), is “classic Waldrop, a phrase that asserts its meaning by undoing itself,” writes Dan Chiasson for the New Yorker. Waldrop is among those who “track the nanotech of language, the little words that bind big concepts,” and simultaneously spin off memories, questions, mysteries, and paradoxes. 

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A Poet’s Arrival

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The New Yorker profiles Ocean Vuong, who muses on the English language, growing up around women, Frank O’Hara, and the vestigial nature of clichés. And with his first book of poetry published just last week, he addresses the feelings of strangeness that accompany the act of making poetry and writing into a career:

When the poet-novelist Ben Lerner joined the faculty, he introduced Vuong to the notion that a life of writing might be possible.

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Self-Help

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Self-help books, like diet books, are ever-popular. But, according to Louis Menand at the New Yorker, they aren’t necessarily making us better human beings—just workers who better fit current business practices:

It’s not surprising that every era has a different human model to suit a different theory of productivity, but it is mildly disheartening to realize how readily we import these models into our daily lives.

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Rich Enough That I Don’t Have to Tell ‘Em That I’m Rich

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Since its publication twenty years ago, Frances Mayes’s memoir Under the Tuscan Sun has transformed its namesake Italian setting into a sort of synonym for a wealthy lifestyle. Travel writer Jason Wilson revisited the work only to discover exactly the charms it so frustratingly popularized:

However I feel about Mayes and her privilege, and the marketing phenomenon that has flourished in her wake, there’s no denying that her prose brings Bramasole to life.

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Poet Kathleen Spivack

The Rumpus Interview with Kathleen Spivack

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Poet Kathleen Spivack discusses releasing her debut novel Unspeakable Things at age seventy-seven. ...more

The Many Libraries of the New York Public Library

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Not every library can be a grand palace. Consider for a moment the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library, a far less glamorous workhorse than the more famous cathedral of books located at Bryant Park. Over at the New Yorker, Ada Calhoun recounts her experiences in some of the smaller library branches around the city.

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