“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.
To celebrate their thirteen-month anniversary, Open Letter Books is having a sale. Buy any two books from their catalog for $22, and you are also entered to win a free subscription for a full year of their titles. Don’t know where to start? Their books include Vilnius Poker, touted as the preeminent Lithuanian novel of the past twenty years, as well as Dubravka Ugresic’s formidable collection of essays, Nobody’s Home.
This track-by-track take on Jason Isbell’s newest album Something More Than Free is as comprehensive as it is intelligent. Isbell, who rose to fame as a member of Athens, GA mainstays The Drive By Truckers, has seen most of the press narrative around him focus on his trips to rehab and subsequent recovery–this record, however, aims for something more. Here’s our Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music column to satisfy any lingering musical urges.
Out this week: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin; Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler; The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson; This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets; Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe; and Smoke by Dan Vyleta. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.