For the Class of 2013, salsa has always outsold ketchup. For these and other wry conjectures, see the latest edition Beloit College’s annual “Mindset List.” (N.B.: For the class of 2013, “mindset” is not a clunky neologism.)
“Three weeks before she died on July 25, 2012, Marcia (Marty) Brown Stern ’54 sent me a registered letter, which began, ‘What is enclosed may astonish you.’ Indeed it did. The envelope included a draft of ‘marcia,’ an unpublished poem that Sylvia Plath ’55 wrote about their sophomore year together at Smith College in 1951.”
The Rona Jaffe Foundation has announced the six recipients of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards, which are given annually to emerging women writers. This year’s winners are Millions contributor Meehan Crist for nonfiction, Vanessa Hua for fiction, Ashley M. Jones for poetry, Britteney Black Rose Kapri for poetry, Amanda Rea for fiction, and Natalie Haney Tilghman for fiction. Past award winners include Eula Biss, Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Rebecca Lee, ZZ Packer, and Tracy K. Smith.
“He was a glutton for books who treated each text as a plate he was required to clean.” Author and critic William Gass died this week at 93, reports The Washington Post. The recipient of three National Book Critics Circle awards for criticism and four Pushcart prizes, Gass was awarded the PEN/Nabakov Award for lifetime achievement in 2000. See our reviews of Middle C, a novel that took Gass almost 20 years to finish, and his most recent essay collection Life Sentences, which amply demonstrated his background as “a former philosophy professor, but more appropriately a philosopher of the word and an esthete.” We were also lucky enough to have him pen a Year in Reading entry for us back in 2009: “I miss the leisure that let me read just for fun, not to critique, or pronounce, or even to put on a list, but simply to savor,” Gass lamented. Nonetheless, he continued,“I do, from time to time, pick up old friends who never disappoint but will promise me a page or two of pleasure between art and ordinary life.”
What happens if your town’s reputation was made by an author who hated it? Sinclair Lewis grew up in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and scathingly satirized it in Main Street (our Modern Library Revue of it), but it’s the town’s only claim to fame nearly a century later. At The Morning News, Matt Ray Robison visits.