Michael K. Williams, best known to some as The Wire’s Omar Little or Boardwalk Empire’s Chalky White, talks publicly for the first time about his battles with addiction, and how his stint on the Baltimore crime drama coincided with some of the lowest points in his life. “I suffered from a huge identity crisis,” Williams says. “In the end, I was more comfortable with Omar’s skin than my own. That was a problem.”
“Ah the world, oh the whale!” At The Washington Times, my review of Philip Hoare’s wonderful new anatomy of all things cetacean, The Whale, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson nonfiction prize. (ECW)
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When Octavia Butler died in 2006, she left behind unseen short stories. Butler’s agent has discovered two unpublished stories in the author’s papers. “A Necessary Being” features a lonely alien leader, and “Childminder” is about mentoring telepaths. The two stories will be published this summer in the collection Unexpected Stories.
Friends, former students and admirers are rallying around poet Dean Young. Young, who has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a number of other MFA programs, is in need of a heart transplant, and fellow poet Tony Hoagland has put out a call for help. (Thanks Arna)
Jack Gilbert died yesterday at the age of 87. Gilbert was the author of five standalone poetry collections—as well as additional collected volumes such as last March’s Collected Poems—and he was also a past winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. For The LA Times, John Penner reviews the poet’s legacy. Or, perhaps as fitting tribute to Gilbert’s life and work, better to hear his own final lines to the poem “Failing and Flying”: “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, / but just coming to the end of his triumph.”
If you’re like this writer, you’ve read enough by now about the scourge of writer’s block. The literature on authors having trouble producing literature is enough to sustain a whole genre by itself. Which is why it’s refreshing to read this article, which tackles another problem: the vexing, peculiar strain of overload known as reader’s block.