At a party thrown by Tom Stoppard in 1972, Kingsley Amis bumped into Roald Dahl, and was encouraged by the Matilda author to write a children’s book in order to make a quick buck. “The little bastards’d swallow it,” Dahl said.
Though no big name today, early 20th-century poet Florence Ripley Mastin published prolifically in her lifetime – a dozen times in Poetry, more than 90 in the New York Times. Poetry’s Ruth Graham argues that the successes of Mastin, an untrained amateur, say more about her times than her talent. These days, amateur poets today benefit from refrigerator poetry sets, numerous poetry apps and sites, and the infinite community of the internet, but the Times has long excised poetry from its pages. In the archives, Patrick Wensink meets and analyzes those who doggedly pursue poetry these faded days.
Rebecca Schuman argues in an essay for Slate that extraordinarily long course syllabi are killing the college classroom. If it’s academic homicide you’re after, you might also want to check out Cathy Day’s piece for The Millions in which she suggests that academia might just be killing the novel, too.
“Women writers who kill themselves—are somehow perpetually on display, or even on trial. They must answer for their art and their final act against the world and their husbands and children, born and unborn,” Kevin Kanarek said in a Rumpus interview about his mother, Pamela Moore. Her 1956 novel, Chocolates For Breakfast, has just been reissued. Pair with: Alison Balaskovits’ post on VICE‘s infamous fashion editorial on the suicides of famous women writers.
We might not get to choose between Peeta and Gale, but we can have Katniss Everdeen’s archery skills. Since The Hunger Games became popular, young girls are picking up bows and arrows more than ever before. Membership at USA Archery has doubled in the past two years, and people are buying recurve bows faster than they can make them. Perhaps they’d also enjoy the Hunger Games day camp we wrote about earlier.