Posts Tagged: Ursula K. Le Guin
At the New Yorker, an elegant and comprehensive essay by Julie Phillips from a visit with Ursula Le Guin at her home in Portland, Oregon touches on the importance of place, both geographic and imaginative. Phillips writes, “[Le Guin] has always defended the fantastic, by which she means not formulaic fantasy or “McMagic” but the imagination as a subversive force.” She quotes Le Guin: “Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all.”...more
I begin to find my way about, to feel myself at home, here in Orsenya, matrya miya, my motherland. I can live here, and find out who else lives here and what they do, and tell stories about it. And so I did.
I think what has brought imaginative fiction, imaginative literature, back into central centrality is that so much of it is very good, and so much of it is kind of needed because of the fact that it sort of opens doors to other possibilities—and that it gives the imagination exercise.
This is where poetry approaches music. Because you cannot put meaning in words as intellectually comprehensible. It’s just there, and you know it’s there. And it is the rhythm and the beat and the music of the sound that carries it.
The fight against Google’s digital library continues, and this time the effort has support from big-name authors like Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malcolm Gladwell, Peter Carey, and J. M. Coetzee. The case against Google making millions of books—many of them still under copyright protection—searchable online without paying for any licenses to do so goes back to 2005....more
You can’t find your own voice, unless you’re listening for it.
In a thoughtful interview with radio host David Naimon, the lovely and wise Ursula K. Le Guin talks about her newly revised writing manual, Steering the Craft; the sound and skeletons of sentences; and the intersection of language and society....more
At 86, Ursula K. Le Guin says she doesn’t have the stamina for writing novels or teaching workshops anymore. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to share her knowledge and experience with others. Writers can now submit questions of 200 words or less to Le Guin, and she will answer the ones she feels compelled by:
Reliable vigor and stamina is also required to teach a class or run a workshop, and so I had to give up teaching several years ago.
Over at Bloomberg View, Stephen L. Carter examines the Amazon of the Victorian era, a book distributor named Charles Edward Mudie, and how readers are really to blame for literary fiction’s struggle to find a readership.
Carter writes about Mudie in response to Ursula K....more
Amazon uses the BS Machine to sell us sweetened fat to live on, so we begin to think that’s what literature is. I believe that reading only packaged microwavable fiction ruins the taste, destabilizes the moral blood pressure, and makes the mind obese.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel The Buried Giant has reignited debates about genre fiction following Ishiguro’s implication that the work isn’t fantasy. The author has since clarified which side he’s really on. Meanwhile, Flavorwire‘s Jonathon Sturgeon defends Ishiguro’s right to call the book whatever he wants:
To use some of Le Guin’s own logic: we still live under capitalism, and the concept of genre is still tied to marketing.
Kazuo Ishiguro insists his new novel, The Buried Giant, is not a fantasy novel. Laura Miller at Salon agrees. Ursula K. Le Guin does not (and is a little insulted). David Barnett at The Guardian doesn’t care either way and instead sees Ishiguro’s novel as an opportunity:
Why not throw open the gates, tear down the walls, and when literary authors appropriate the tropes of genre, see it not as an insult but as a good thing, something that potentially allows us to be evangelical about the books we love to a whole new audience?
In her speech at the National Book Awards on Wednesday, Ursula K. Le Guin shares her Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters with “all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long,” blasts the commercialization of literature and the greed of publishers, and predicts:
I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now .
At Bookslut, Julie Phillips writes about how Ursula K. Le Guin, who has worked largely in science-fiction and fantasy, deserves a place in the literary canon.
Her work is shaped by the books of Italo Calvino and Virginia Woolf, and it’s had an outsize influence on writers like Junot Díaz and Michael Chabon, whose artistic gravity no one questions....more