If you don’t have a New Yorker subscription and can’t read Dana Goodyear’s wonderful profile of Lydia Davis, then you can at the very least check out the Can’t and Won’t author’s interview with Quarterly Conversation. Or, of course, you could just go straight to the source and mainline some of her short fiction directly.
According to a recent survey, Danes are the happiest people in the world. This came as a surprise, writes Mathilde Walter Clark, to most of her fellow Scandinavians, who know very well the unhappier elements of their daily lives. The problem, she suggests, is that words like “happiness,” “ambition” and “contentment” have subtly different meanings in different languages — in other words, happiness in Denmark isn’t the same thing as happiness in America. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel’s review of the Danish writer Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale.
The U.S. Library of Congress has named its newest poet laureate, reports The New York Times. Tracy K. Smith says, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go. Poetry is something that’s relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.” Pair with our review of Smith’s memoir Ordinary Light.
Recommended Reading: Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel on why jihadists write poetry.
“So Be It! See To It!” So you may have already seen this on the literary internet earlier this year, but today’s Friday, and we needed a little infusion of life: enter Octavia Butler‘s amazingly awesome note to self (via the also amazing and awesome Rose Eveleth).