Jennifer Egan recently spoke with Willing Davidson, fiction editor of The New Yorker, as part of Rewiring the Real, a yearlong series of podcasts with writers about the interplay of literature, technology and religion. Rachel Hurn, a former Millions intern, was there and noted Egan’s ambivalence towards “personal writing.” [Updated to correct the quote] “If writing necessarily meant writing about myself, then I’d rather do something else,” Egan said.
This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports “[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were ‘found poems’ constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed.” Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
“And this is a story about what women can do to each other—why women are cruel to each other, why women don’t reach down and help each other.” In conversation for Vanity Fair, Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn talk about female rage, #MeToo, and Sharp Objects, the HBO series based on Flynn’s novel. Pair with: Millions staffers Janet Potter and Edan Lepucki talk about Flynn and her novels.
“It’s somewhat surprising that typos and grammatical errors hold this much power given the speed and frequency of written communication that characterizes the digital age. Despite our ‘sent from my iPhone’ disclaimers, it appears we should still be diligent about avoiding written mistakes. Especially if were writing to a conscientious introvert whose not very agreeable. Their the wrst.” On proving something that we all suspected to be true: less agreeable people care the most about grammar.
With the help of the folks at Ploughshares and Medium, Year in Reading alumna Megan Mayhew Bergman is publishing a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure literary short story. To participate, read the first chapter (as well as the introduction) online, then tweet Bergman to tell her where the story should go from there.
We know Ernest Hemingway could drink, but he also could make an excellent burger. At The Paris Review blog, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan cooked up Papa’s famous patty. “The burger was delicious: each bit of it oozed a complex and textured umami, earthy and deep,” she writes. In other Hemingway news, Harper’s will publish a forgotten story, “My Life in the Bull Ring With Donald Ogden,” in its October issue, but only because Hemingway’s estate wouldn’t let Vanity Fair print it. The magazine rejected the story in 1924 and as his son put it, “I’m not a great fan of Vanity Fair. It’s a sort of luxury thinker’s magazine, for people who get their satisfaction out of driving a Jaguar instead of a Mini.”