“If the history of the American sentence were a John Ford movie, its second act would conclude with the young Ernest [Hemingway] walking into a saloon, finding an etiolated Henry James slumped at the bar in a haze of indecision, and shooting him dead.” Adam Haslett takes on Stanley Fish, Strunk & White, and the art of writing a sentence.
Stephen Colbert is keeping his promise to Maurice Sendak. The comedian will publish his children’s book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) this spring. “I hope the minutes you and your loved ones spend reading it are as fulfilling as the minutes I spent writing it,” Colbert told The Hollywood Reporter. (See also: Colbert’s equally literary meeting with Ann Patchett)
The Scottish poet Robert Burns’s “Address to a Haggis” might well be the most famous ode to a food product in the English canon. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein celebrates Burns’s birthday by reflecting on the poem, which starts off by describing haggis as the “chieftain of the pudding race.”
What do you do when McSweeney’s rejects your humor piece? You could, like most people, slink off and write something new, perhaps after a quick look at the site to get a better sense of what they’re looking for, or you could write a new humor piece about getting rejected by McSweeney’s. At The Nervous Breakdown, Rachel Pollan takes the latter route (with a cameo by the movie Swingers).
At The Washington Post, Michael Dirda on the dissolute genius Thomas De Quincey (opium addict, original chronicler of addiction, master of the macabre, prolific C19th essayist).