Paul Muldoon raised this season’s commencement bar with his address to Bennington College’s Writing Seminar graduates. At The Russian Samovar a few months ago, before reading from Maggot, he explained the phrase “cock a snook.”
Edmond Caldwell, a longtime Millions commenter and member of the golden age of lit blogging, has passed away. Caldwell was the founder of The Chagall Position and Contra James Wood. Read a tribute to Caldwell by his friends Boyd Nielson and Joseph G. Ramsey at Dispatches, here.
The annual Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference wrapped up earlier this week, but, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can relive the magic: Transcripts and videos of notable speeches are available on the conference’s website, including the concluding talk on the future of the novel by China Mieville.
True James Joyce fans don’t need to be reminded that today, June 16th, is the 110th Bloomsday–the day of Leopold Bloom’s fictional wanderings-about-Dublin commemorated in the 732 pages of Ulysses. Though the most traditional way to celebrate Bloomsday may be to follow in his literal footsteps with your own tour of the city, as the Paris Review explains, there’s more than one way to prove your love for Joyce even if you never read his book.
In April’s Atlantic, Joseph O’Neill tries to separate Philip Roth from his perpetual themes of family, Newark, and Judaism, and from his many authorial personae. The task proves unmanageable, but the attempt sheds light on the man destined to become Roth’s greatest critic: Roth himself.
The deadline for DIAGRAM’s annual essay contest is fast approaching. Past winners include Peter Jay Shippy’s “Goonies: or Wallace Stevens’s ‘The Snowman’–an Essay in 7 Films” and (my all-time favorite) Cheyenne Nimes’s “SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE SANTA CRUZ RIVER SAND SHARK, SUBTITLED ‘THIS TROUBLESOME REGULATORY CONSTRAINT’.”