FSG just launched their new online literary periodical, Work in Progress. Check out their debut issue, where you’ll find Jeffrey Eugenides chatting about his latest book with Jonathan Galassi, fiction by Lydia Davis, summer book giveaways and photos from the FSG archives. Look for the clip from an FSG letter introducing Susan Sontag’s first book in 1963: “It is difficult, as you know, to create interest in new writers.”
“Imagination for me has always been about the spaces in between, a sort of filler that completes a picture. If what we know is the jaggedness of the ocean floor, then imagination is the body of water that defines what is hidden and what is seen.” This essay on interstices and representing Hawai’i Creole English as a legitimate literary participant is excellent.
“I’ve always been interested in the internal shape-changes of the poem. In my student days, it was common to assume that the poem makes a statement — that it’s protesting war, or is grieving a death. My teachers, on the whole, didn’t see a poem as an evolving thing that might be saying something completely new at the end because it had changed its mind from whatever it had proposed at the beginning.” An interview with Harvard’s Helen Vendler about the structure of poetry, the benefits of studying science and mathematics, and the “miraculous” voices of Shakespeare and Keats.
If you don’t have a New Yorker subscription and can’t read Dana Goodyear’s wonderful profile of Lydia Davis, then you can at the very least check out the Can’t and Won’t author’s interview with Quarterly Conversation. Or, of course, you could just go straight to the source and mainline some of her short fiction directly.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the upcoming Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, the novel that Slate writer Tammy Oler called “a rite of passage for teenage girls in the ‘80s.” Now, Willa Paskin reviews the new film, lamenting that it “acts as if it is just another life-affirming Lifetime movie about surviving terrible situations.”
“Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it’s in the details that everything happens.” Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)