Don DeLillo’s first short story collection, The Angel Esmerelda, is out this week, as is Magdalena Tulli’s genre-defying In Red. New in paperback are Cynthia Ozick’s Foreign Bodies and Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty.
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
“The magical aspect of poetry does not diminish the value of critical scrutiny. Scholarship has clarified the meaning of poetry. The point is rather that an essential part of poetry’s power has little connection to conceptual understanding. Poetry proffers some mysteries that lie beyond paraphrase.” Dana Gioia with a beautiful essay on the enchantment of poetry for The Dark Horse. Check out our extensive On Poetry archive and continue your journey of poetic enchantment.
We’ve published essays before on the importance of good grammar, but it’s rare that something comes along that illustrates its value so clearly. A couple weeks ago, the Times published a blurb about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a recent essay collection by Ann Patchett, that led to the author sending in what may be the best correction of all time. For more on Patchett’s work, you could read Kevin Charles Redmon on her book State of Wonder.
Tom McCormack is midway through a three-part series on internet artwork, but not the kind involving Photoshop and GIFs. After exploring the history and usage of emoticons in part one of his series, McCormack traces the roots of ASCII artwork back to Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1918 book Calligrammes. Stay tuned for the conclusion soon: a look at the history of emoji.