When you read Roger Angell, you can (it’s cheesy, but true!) smell clover and hear the crack of a baseball against a baseball bat. Angell is synonymous with baseball writing, and this week, he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame....more
Posts Tagged: the new yorker
Those little blue padlocks are gone for good. Starting this week, newyorker.com will release all its content to the public, free of charge, until summer’s end. Unfortunately for subscription commitment-phobes, the site will then transition to a metered paywall system (think New York Times) come fall....more
Karl Ove Knausgaard has been making waves with his six-part book My Struggle. The popular series shares a title with another famous book, Mein Kampf, Hitler’s treatise written from his prison cell. The New Yorker explores the reasoning behind Knausgaard’s choice of title:
Knausgaard sometimes speaks in interviews and public appearances of an irony inherent in the name of the book; where Hitler is all ideology and rigid perfection in “Mein Kampf,” Knausgaard’s struggle as a middle-class dad is quotidian, messy, faintly ridiculous.
Njong Emmanuel Tohnain, imprisoned in a Chinese factory that produced shopping bags for Saks Fifth Avenue, wrote notes (some in English and others in French) inside five bags pleading for help from the wealthy consumers on the other side of the world....more
Without boring everybody further, I was thrilled to learn about the ancient evolutionary love story between the Joshua tree and the yucca moth, its exclusive pollinator.
Any rowdies heading to the back room of Brooklyn’s Soda Bar for some mid-week carrying-on last Wednesday night were in for a surprise. In the large, living-room-like space—ringed by a mismatched assortment of couches, cushy chairs, and coffee tables—there was a civilized silence.
The New Yorker has unlocked a selection of Jack Kerouac’s journals that ran in the magazine back in 1998. Beginning with his near-completion of Town and City, and ending days after its publication, the text captures the growing pains of a 25-year-old author:
Got form-rejection card from Macmillan’s.
I wanted that plate. Lifting it up, I held it in my hands. Then, opening up my fingers, I let it drop. It fell with a sharp crash and smashed into three chunks… My mother recognized my handiwork. She cried for hours.
Two things: First, Alice Gregory’s fascinating account of Nellie Bly’s bold, perennially wry career in journalism—an account that wraps up with a call for female writers to not only write about “women’s issues.”
Second, Ann Friedman responds with a thoughtful defense of making a career writing about “women’s issues.”...more
Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.
The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor....more
Steven Roggenbuck has been producing poetry “that is made, distributed, and viewed almost exclusively on the Web” since 2010. In this article in the New Yorker, Kenneth Goldsmith calls Roggenbuck’s videos, with their shaky camerawork and rough jump cuts, “meticulously crafted infomercials for poetry.”
While some might question Roggenbuck’s improvised style, Goldsmith writes, “This type of writing has deep roots, extending back to the cosmological visions of William Blake, through the direct observation poems of the Imagists, the anti-art absurdities of Dada, and the nutty playfulness of Surrealism…”
Reflecting on his experiences as an Internet poet, Roggenbuck said, “This is the dream for poets, to be a poet when the Internet exists....more
“Why are you so interested in MFAs and whether they’re a good idea or not?” asked Rumpus friend Sheila Heti, in a recent interview with the New Yorker. Heti, who did not attend grad school, believes that it is possible for writers to fully immerse themselves in their craft without the help of a program....more
In the 1990s, Junot Diaz enrolled in an MFA program where there was silence when it came to critical discussions of racial identity. As Diaz writes in the New Yorker, “Shit, in my workshop we never talked about race except on the rare occasion someone wanted to argue that ‘race discussions’ were exactly the discussion a serious writer should not be having.” In this sentiment, there was a refusal to truly acknowledge the lives and cultures of certain groups of people....more
The Little Prince is one of those books which just as easily affects adults as children, and it’s hard to go long without encountering it. Still, the story remains a bit of a mystery. In the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik tries to solve bits of it:
For all of the Prince’s journey is a journey of exile, like Saint-Exupéry’s, away from generic experience towards the eroticism of the particular flower.
Terrifying though the unknown may seem, there are benefits to plunging into the murky waters of uncertainty. In an essay featured in the New Yorker, Rebecca Solnit writes, “It’s the job of writers and explorers to see more, to travel light when it comes to preconception, to go into the dark with their eyes open.”
There is so much we don’t know, and to write truthfully about a life…is to engage repeatedly with those patches of darkness…those places of unknowing.
Writing in the New Yorker about the smartphone app Cloak, Mark O’Connell offers a thoroughly beautiful and poetic commentary on the ontology of visibility:
By generating a kind of omnipresence—whereby we are always available, visible, contactable, all of us there all the time—the technologies that mediate our lives also cause us to disappear, to vanish into a fixed position on the timeline or the news feed.
When my grandmother taught me to make banana pancakes, which we did every Wednesday night through much of my childhood, she would counsel “Hold the bowl” as I stirred, which became, in our letters to each other, code for “I love you.”
Might cooking for another person be considered an act of love?...more
It is nearly impossible to live in New York City without feeling a flicker of Lynne Tillman’s exacting presence. Over at the New Yorker, the indomitable Colm Toibin writes about the (equally) indomitable Lynne Tillman in the introduction to What Would Lynne Tillman Do?: Essays.
Lynne Tillman’s essays, and indeed the interviews she has given and conducted, are thus an essential part of her work.
“The dream of speed-reading has been around since long before screens were ubiquitous,” as James Camp writes in the New Yorker. Now, the much-discussed startup Spritz is promising to make that dream a reality with a technology that streams text in word by word, obviating the need to move one’s eyes while reading....more
Praise the writer’s notebook, and praise the evolution of the writer’s notebook. Over at the New Yorker, Casey Cep writes about archiving the daily details digitally in photographs, rather than on paper:
Photography engenders a new kind of ekphrasis, especially when the writer herself is the photographer.
“Women are more likely than men to change form and style,” or so Stacey D’Erasmo writes in this New Yorker piece. Female artists tend to transform their work over the course of their careers, while male artists are more likely to remain faithful to the styles with which they make their debuts....more
…the unplugging movement is the latest incarnation of an ageless effort to escape the everyday, to retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in search of its still core.
Phones, computers, and tablets, once seen as a way of facilitating interpersonal interactions, are increasingly being seen as barriers when it comes to face-to-face interactions....more
At the end of last month, Nicholas Kristof published a piece in the New York Times calling for academics to come out from their insular bubble and participate in the mainstream conversation—especially with respect to writing. Joshua Rothman responded in the New Yorker that academic writing is only as “knotty and strange, remote and insular, technical and specialized, forbidding and clannish” as the academy itself....more
Gordon Lish, acclaimed writer, editor, and teacher, is renowned for giving fiction writers the following advice: tell your worst secret. Lish encourages writers to put themselves at risk, first making themselves emotionally vulnerable, and then restoring themselves. Through dramatized confessions, Lish hopes that students will capture their readers’ attention; writing, in this case, is viewed as a constant attempt to seduce readers while staving off boredom....more
You know that feeling when you discover an author that completely changes your life? Jon Michaud does. He writers over at The New Yorker about discovering the sole work of Breece D’J Pancake.
“These bleak qualities may make Pancake’s stories timely, but it is their compressed artistry and distilled feeling that make them timeless.