“He taught me that poetry can be anything and with that comes great freedom.” Reminiscences by a former student of the poet John Ashbery upon his death. And for a contemporary take on the question of just what, exactly, poetry is and/or might be, see our recent conversation between Jill Bialosky and Matthew Zapruder.
Over at The Point, Spencer McAvoy writes about the language and vision of Joy Williams, a writer who “instead of drawing boundaries between us and whatever Other, posits language as an experience of self-limitedness.” Williams’s new collection of short stories, The Visiting Privilege, is one of the most anticipated books of 2015.
Now that he's signed a $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, outfielder Carl Crawford has turned his attention to pursuing his decades-long dream of running an antiquarian bookstore. (context)
Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that's exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, "Take It Or Leave It," for The New Yorker. "I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture."
Over at VICE, Karan Mahajan, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Jenny Zhang talked about the new generation of Asian American writers. “There isn't really a canon, which means if you are Asian American and writing, you're automatically adding to it. Once I realized this, I became extremely protective of my writing," said Zhang. Pair with this Millions interview with Mahajan.
Recommended Reading: Here's some helpful advice we all could use -- how to raise a mensch: "Less obvious but equally central values that Marjorie Ingall highlights include having a healthy distrust of authority. Jews come from a vertiginously long tradition of 'questioning, yammering, challenging and disputing,' she writes. 'The Talmud, the compendium of Jewish law, is pretty much a bunch of dudes contradicting one another. Each page is a big box of text in the middle, and wrapped around it like a frame is lots of ‘Wait, you think what?’ '"