Eliza Griswold’s got a great essay up on The Poetry Foundation’s website. It’s about poetry and reportage in Lampedusa, the largest island in the Italian Pelagie chain.
This week saw the release of Vanishing Point, Vol. II: Songs of the Living and Dying. You may recall my earlier mention of the Vanishing Point project, which was recently borne out of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. This time around, the publication boasts a redesigned appearance, and it features articles and essays about midwifery in Mali, the intersections between poetry and cinema, and a view of Walden Pond that you’ve never seen before — all presented with accompany visual material, and all produced by university students. This is outstanding stuff, and it’s well worth your time.
“Maybe I’m not outraged. I’m exhausted and open and exposed and a lot of other people are too because we are wounds that get picked at and picked at and picked at one day, there won’t be anything left to heal.” At The Rumpus, Roxane Gay writes on the sexism and racism of Seth MacFarlane’s Oscars jokes.
For better or worse, the publication date of Umberto Eco’s final book has been bumped up — originally set for a summertime release, Pepe Satàn Aleppe: Chronicles of a Liquid Society is now due out in Italian this weekend. Check out this Eco essay on how to travel with a salmon.
I’ve written before about the excellently titled series Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. It lets some of our foremost literary minds reflect on places like Fallon and Byrne and Buffalo Wild Wings. Now, Millions contributor Laura van den Berg writes about Cafe Azteca in Lawrence, MA, where they make shrimp fajitas that inspire mouth-watering daydreams. Sample quote: “Love of food can be love’s most sincere form—especially when avocados are involved.”
“I can’t remember another single work of art ever having had that immediate and powerful an impact, which of course makes the experience quite impossible to describe. As I experienced it, it drove me out of my wretched mind … I do know that I knew immediately that my sense of what science fiction could be had been permanently altered.” William Gibson on having his world rocked (and artistic sensibilities altered) by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée.
Jeopardy! champion, Maphead author, and all-around puzzle whiz Ken Jennings has devised a month-long “Great American History Puzzle,” and the grand prize winner will receive a free trip to Washington D.C., as well as a “Secrets of the Smithsonian” tour no doubt reminiscent of touring the back room at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie.