Posts Tagged: the new yorker

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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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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Chicago’s Wicker Park has been gentrifying, but Quimby’s, a quirky indie bookstore, remains a haven for alt lit.

Amazon probably doesn’t care whether customers buy anything from its physical stores.

The New Yorker takes a look at why China is cracking down on dissidents, including Hong Kong booksellers that disappeared late last year.

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Freeman, John photo credit Deborah Treisman

The Big Idea #12: John Freeman

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John Freeman, Executive Editor at Lit Hub, talks with Suzanne Koven about his new print-only literary magazine Freeman's, the difference between between criticism and editing, and his fear of flying. ...more

LGBTQ Lives and the Prison System

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At the New Yorker, Grace Dunham discusses the importance of Captive Genders, an anthology about the oft-forgotten impact of the prison industrial complex on trans and queer people, recently released in its second edition:

The book brings together the work of activists, artists, and academics, many of whom are current or former prisoners; it challenges hierarchies of expertise, presenting recollection, poetry, and theory as equally legitimate mediums for political critique.

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Old Habits

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Unplugging is bound to free up some time; spending that time is another matter. After reading Mindful Tech, David M. Levy’s book about how and why we use devices, Matthew J.X. Malady decided to give the simple life a try:

I ran to the store for things we didn’t really need, and watered plants that I previously hadn’t noticed existed.

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The Rumpus Interview with Garth Greenwell

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Garth Greenwell discusses his debut novel, What Belongs to You, crossing boundaries, language as defense, and the queer tradition of novel writing that blurs boundaries between fiction and essay and autobiography. ...more