From the book I’m reading right now: “My mother’s output, starred and pseudonymous, appeared regularly in one of those little, irregular periodicals so limited in readership that they might be called incestuous. Subscription was by invitation only, and contributors would go into a rage over a misplaced comma and brood for days if their poems were understood.”
Newly minted Paris Review editor (and polymorphous enthusiast) Lorin Stein runs down some recent pleasures for More Intelligent Life. To wit: Lipsyte, Dickens, Du Maurier, Nádas, Merle Haggard, newcomer April Ayers Lawson, the Lydia Davis Proust, outer-borough maniacs, and “proletarian erotica”…not necessarily in that order.
“What love does in this union is dark and difficult and glorious — and stands on the side of life; who would dare or even want to guess more about it than that; and indeed, you will experience it. Certainly not without interruptions and doubts.” Lou Andreas-Salomé’s poignant advice on love and art to none other than Rainer Maria Rilke is certainly Valentine’s Day-appropriate.
“‘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.
Some writers find their voices by heading off to Europe. Others (like Thoreau in Walden) head off to the woods instead. At The Rumpus, David Biespiel writes about the year he moved to Vermont, and what it meant to see himself as “leaning into” his youth. Pair with our own Anne K. Yoder on Ken Kesey and the Oregon coast.
The good souls at Longform.org have organized all of this year’s National Magazine Award winners.