Poet Matthew Tierney on particle physics vs writing: “Black holes are miraculous. Evolution is miraculous. The big bang is miraculous.”
Readers of the 1960s and 70s ran into many people who worried that writers were learning from television. In 2015, the concern is slightly different -- are writers taking cues from video games? At the Ploughshares blog, Matthew Burnside tackles the game-ification of books.
At Bookforum, Alexander Benaim reads the latest novel by Jess Row, which I wrote about as part of our most recent book preview. The novel poses a charged, intriguing question: what would happen if it were possible to change your race? (It might also be a good time to read the author’s Year in Reading entry along with our own Mark O'Connell's review of the novel at Slate.)
“Writers teach, not writing per se, but how to engage in writing as a process and a means of perception. The actual work of writing is seldom sublime. It’s a struggle that grows more difficult if we avoid it. Writing is often excruciatingly slow and repetitive. Time, in slipping and sliding, makes itself felt and immediate. Words are the way in, but nothing is guaranteed. What writers or readers can do with language, or understand inside it, depends on what they know—on refining their sensibilities, on writing, revising, waiting, reading, writing, as though living in language were life and death.” Year in Reading alumna Jayne Anne Phillips writes for the Literary Hub about the importance of writing programs. For more on the debate, check out Hannah Gersen's Millions essay.
If you have aspirations of the literary sort, I strongly recommend Dan Wickett's interview with "founders, editors and managing editors of 8 Literary Journals of varying age and size." And you should also look at the latest posts at Mad Max Perkins' Book Angst in which hears from editors and publishing industry types about "the true meaning of midlist."