Writing the London Review of Books‘ “Diary” this week, South African scholar and political activist R.W. Johnson: “Author Loses Leg in Lagoon.”
“Raymond Chandler did not invent the private eye — Dashiell Hammett and a few others got there first. But his vision is the one that caught the public eye and stuck most indelibly in the imagination, like — in one of his aromatic metaphors — ‘a tarantula on a slice of angel food.’” On a new biography of the man behind Phillip Marlowe.
“Over the past thirty-five years alone, language from Frost’s poem has appeared in nearly two thousand news stories worldwide, which yields a rate of more than once a week. In addition, ‘The Road Not Taken’ appears as a title, subtitle, or chapter heading in more than four hundred books by authors other than Robert Frost, on subjects ranging from political theory to the impending zombie apocalypse.” David Orr writes for The Paris Review about Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” one of the most misread poems of the English language.
Out this week: Beatlebone by Kevin Barry; Memory Theater by Simon Critchley; Bright Scythe: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer; Charmed Particles by Chrissy Kolaya; and This Old Man by Roger Angell. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“After ten years of painting, that is to say ten years of using an abstract, invented language, writing stories was the closest I had come to working in the realm of ‘realism.’ It was the most direct I had ever been in my art. Perhaps the most direct I had ever been. But, as I learned from the comments of my peers in workshop (‘this isn’t a story,’ ‘this is poetry,’ ‘what is this’), my writing was something other than what we referred to as literary realism. By which I mean, the writing many have come to believe most accurately represents life.” Susan Steinberg asks what happened to American experimental writing.
Over at Bloom check out this 3-part feature—a conversation and excerpts—on fiction writers-cum-memoirists Robin Black (If I Loved You I Would Tell You This, Life Drawing) and Natalie Serber (Shout Her Lovely Name)—former classmates at the Warren Wilson low-res MFA program, both later-life bloomers, and both “writing for their lives” in new memoirs.