David Meltzer interviewed renowned Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the Poetry Foundation. At 93 years of age, Ferlinghetti still contends that “the real popular poets of America” are not the people writing verse for poetry collections, but rather the folk musicians and folksingers. “A lot of folksingers’ poems are greater than the printed poems!” Ferlinghetti explains. Evidently the American Academy of Arts and Letters agrees: Bob Dylan recently became the first rock musician ever inducted into its ranks.
“My sense, though, was that he was a very complicated man. He could enter a room and be the organizer of games and magic tricks and funny stories and a brilliant mimic and holding forth and entertaining and holding the center. But he was also incredibly controlling; he was domineering.” Ralph Fiennes on playing Charles Dickens.
All six of the forthcoming films previewed by The Week’s Kerensa Cadenas look outstanding, but of particular relevance to Millions readers is The Invisible Woman. The film, which is an adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s biography of the same name, follows the life of Ellen “Nelly” Ternan (Felicity Jones), an actress who met Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) and became his secret mistress.
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.
Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith’s essay on when Allen Ginsberg stayed with his family. “The following night, after Ginsberg’s poetry reading (why would I want to go to that?) a group of students eager for him to impart morsels of omniscience were forced to wait outside my room while we played video games on my Atari 2600—I destroyed Ginsberg at Frogger, but he eviscerated me on Combat.”
Ayobami Adebayo is interviewed by Abigail Bereola for Hazlitt and it’s fantastic. They discuss proverbs, romantic love, sickle cell anemia and writing your first book. “At the risk of sounding very narcissistic, I’m going to say I write for myself ultimately. And maybe my sister. I think that when I’m working, it’s very difficult for me to think about an audience, perhaps because sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to figure out so many things that I really don’t start thinking about the idea that other people might read this thing until, ‘Oh my God, it’s publication day’ and I have a panic attack like ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ I think the awareness of an audience is something I’m just coming into because this is a first book.”
Colum McCann can add the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award to the long list of accolades he has received for Let the Great World Spin. The book is a Millions Hall of Famer and our coverage of the title has been fairly extensive. Previously: Digging into the 2011 IMPAC Longlist, The Eclectic IMPAC Shortlist Has Arrived.
“In noir, the problem is not an individual: the problem is the world.” Over at Electric Literature, Nicholas Seeley advocates for the efficacy of noir as a protest genre. Here’s a piece from The Millions’s Hannah Gersen that argues for Bartleby, The Scrivener as another surprising example of protest literature.