“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.
According to The Guardian, “researchers in Australia have developed a computer program which writes its own fables, complete with moral.” No word yet on whether they’re any good.
You’ve probably taken one of those quizzes that lets you find out the nature of your spirit animal. If so, you’ll enjoy this novel take on the form, which lets you see which animal from a famous poem you are. (For the record, this writer got Marianne Moore’s immortal fish.)
“Only the moon can judge Indiana. It’s a state that mostly gets ignored, and occasionally ridiculed, by the rest of the country, but no matter. Anyone is welcome to come here and see a reflection of themselves in the unlikeliest places, no matter what any law says.” Adam Fleming Petty on “Writing from the Nowhere State.”
For its November issue, Wired asks guest editor President Obama for a list of his 10 essential books. The magazine estimates that reading all of them, including James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Katherine Boo‘s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, will take only eighty-nine hours.
“After [WWII], the other Finnish artists formed themselves into political groups but Tove wasn’t a joiner; besides, the only political activity she enjoyed was tyrant-baiting. She decided to emigrate to the island kingdom of Tonga but the governor wrote back saying there was a housing shortage and she wouldn’t be welcome. So she created her own Tonga: Moominland.” A new biography looks at the “conflicted life” and creative work of Tove Jansson, whose name has appeared several times here at The Millions.