For the New Yorker, Hilton Als reaches across Edward Albee’s long career to take the pulse of the themes and concerns of the late, great playwright. Memory, attachment, cruelty, and Albee’s sense of himself as an outsider all informed the dramas....more
Posts Tagged: the new yorker
For the New Yorker, Peter Moskowitz talks to poet Tommy Pico about anger, juxtaposition, and inheritance:
He told me that he uses poetry to square two identities that don’t fit together well: being a poor, queer kid from the rez, and being a pleasure-seeking, technology-addicted New Yorker who would rather chase the boys he meets on apps than think about centuries of pain passed from one generation to another.
The Underground Railroad has always fascinated Americans, and recently it has exploded in popularity, with books, TV shows, and even representation on United States currency. But does the mythologized version of the Underground Railroad live up to actual history? In a recent New Yorker article, Kathryn Schulz examines recent media incarnations of the Railroad:
But, as more recent work has made clear, they should also incite our curiosity and skepticism: about how the Underground Railroad really worked, why stories about it so consistently work on us, and what they teach us—or spare us from learning—about ourselves and our nation.
Supposedly, the best way to master a foreign language is to fall in love with a native speaker. Language, in delineating a boundary that can be transgressed, is full of romantic potential. … If first languages are reservoirs of emotion, second languages can be rivers undammed, freeing their speakers to ride different currents.
Two recent novels, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, explore privilege and entitlement, and what happens when wealth disappears. It can be hard to feel sorry for trust fund kids when you live paycheck to paycheck, but:
From some distance, it’s a parable about the current age, in which an increasingly fraught vision of American prosperity abuts the realities of stagnation and loss.
If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life.
Poet Basil Bunting had an unconventional life full of interesting journeys and experiences....more
Irish author Danielle McLaughlin didn’t start writing fiction until 2010, but in the years since she has amassed an impressive collection of writing awards, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and has twice placed stories in the New Yorker....more
Our VW van had a Porsche engine, other modifications that made it good for tough Mexican roads.
Gorgeous photographs accompany Lucia Berlin’s own account, with an introduction by Cressida Leyshon, of her travels in Mexico, drugs, and family life. Memories are ordered as episodes, or “sketches,” and readers of her short stories will find great resonance between the forms....more
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.
Do you love this shit? Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous? Quizzes are everywhere these days, from meandering author interviews to hard-hitting investigations to exactly which Disney princess corresponds to your introverted spirit animal. Read about the now-ubiquitous model’s Proustian origins over at the New Yorker....more
“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....more
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.
Carmen Maria Machado reflects on her experience reading Lois Duncan’s novels in her youth, and explains why she continues to return to Duncan’s work to this day:
Duncan has sometimes been grouped with writers like Christopher Pike or R. L. Stine, but her novels lack the comic, pulpy luridness of their work.
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....more
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.
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.
Our entire body, like it or not, enacts a stunning resurrection of the dead just as we advance toward our own death. We are, as you say, interconnected.
For the New Yorker, Nicola Lagioia, author of the forthcoming novel Ferocity, interviews Elena Ferrante about Ferrante’s own forthcoming novel, Frantumaglia....more
After all, the essay, in its American incarnation, is a direct outgrowth of the sermon: argumentative, insistent, not infrequently irritating.
Minimalist prose. Maximalist ideas. A long tradition of anti-intellectualism. Adverbs. At the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham asks what makes an essay American?...more
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....more
But dip into nearly any of Stevens’s poems, to the last, and be braced by a voice like none other, in its knitted playfulness and in its majesty.
For most of his life, Wallace Stevens worked a day job as an insurance executive, and yet he still found time to become one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century....more
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.
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.”
Check out Deborah Treisman in lively conversation with Lara Vapnyar on the “miracle of a New York City adventure,” the bewitching, wish-granting power of Leonard Cohen’s songs, and Russian immigrants.
Vapnyar’s forthcoming novel, Still Here, explores Russian culture in the US, friendship, and eternal life on the Internet....more
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....more