“For a novelist, writing letters is writing that is not writing,” Ed Park says of P.G. Wodehouse’s collected correspondence, A Life in Letters. The Year in Reading alum goes on to note that “a collection of letters is the unconscious narrative the author generates over the years.”
To get a full sense of the legacy of William Blake, you need to see his paintings alongside his famous poems. The Wordsworth contemporary did much of his best work — including the covers of his own collections — with a brush. At the New York Review of Books blog, Jenny Uglow pays a visit to a new exhibition at Oxford.
Anne Carson, author of Nox (reviewed by Jane Alison last year), has a new book out, Antigonick, in which the translator and poet collaborates with an artist and designer to produce an unconventional translation of Antigone. Unfortunately, Amanda Shubert calls it “the first book of Carson’s where … her scholarly impulse barricades textual meanings. Usually it provides a generous way in.” Yet despite its problems, Shubert notes there are still “moments of brilliance,” and indeed the act of “doing Sophocles as a graphic novel … is kind of ingenious.”
“Loss isn’t science; it’s a human reckoning.” The New York Times posts an e-mail conversation between Joyce Carol Oates and Meghan O’Rourke on why we write about grief, following the release of Oates’ memoir A Widow’s Story and in anticipation of O’Rourke’s own memoir of loss, The Long Goodbye.
Sophia Nguyen writes for Harvard Magazine about the Dark Room Collective, a group of black writers of “starry critical mass whose impact on American letters continues to expand.” Pair with her Millions review of Collective member Tracy K. Smith’s new memoir, Ordinary Light.