It’s hard to describe exactly who Delmore Schwartz was, for the simple reason that he did so many notable things. The man wrote poetry, edited The Partisan Review and The New Republic, and wrote a canonical short story at the age of twenty-five. In The Nation, Vivian Gornickmakes the case for a new accomplishment, arguing that “Delmore Schwartz is to Jewish-American writing what Richard Wright is to African-American writing.” You could also readGabriel Brownstein on life as a Jewish writer.
“I think if a woman is absolutely happy with herself, that goes a long way in getting others to accept her choices. But it’s hard to be absolutely happy with yourself, whoever you are. I mean, what kind of maniac is that?” What kind of maniac are you? This interview with Mary Gaitskill from Guernica Magazine is fantastic.
Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches” online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock.”
“‘Poetry, I feel,” said Sylvia Plath in a radio interview in 1962, the year before her suicide, ‘is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space, you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.'” Fifty years after her death, an argument for close reading.
Imagine a reality television show that pits up-and-coming writers against each other in a series of challenges designed to test their skills and endurance. When the smoke clears, and the bourbon’s gone, one talented writer will be reborn into gritty glory; only one writer will become America’s Next Top Writer!