You can listen to U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey read her poem “Enlightenment” for the Virginia Festival of the Book.
Somewhere along the way, the word “cool” became “the most popular slang term of approval in English.” Humanities has a pretty cool (hip, rad, dope, groovy, punk, hot, sweet) theory, tracing it as far back as Zora Neale Hurston’s collection Mules and Men, and the time when “cool was black… cool was jazz.” (Related reading: the most excellent Hepster’s Dictionary (pdf) of 1939 jive talk, and our own history of the slang word “like.”)
You can read the entire first chapter from László Krasznahorkai’s latest novel, Seiobo There Below. We reviewed the work on our site last month. Meanwhile, the Hungarian author has recently received an unwelcome invitation. As literary scholar Tibor Keresztúry notes (via George Szirtes’s translation), “a certain G Fodor Gábor, the strategic director of the Századvég (Century’s End) Foundation … suggests that [Krasznahorkai] should shoot himself in the head.”
According to Chris Richards at the Washington Post, the Ivy League rockers of Vampire Weekend are the unapologetic Bright Young Things of our recession era. Drinking Darjeeling on Daddy’s yacht never looked so good, he says, and their second album, Contra, out yesterday, sounds pretty good too.
“Getting too quickly to where you want to go, getting there too smoothly, is antithetical to thinking through complex issues. You want roadblocks, confusion, chaos, and doubt. Unexpected, wonderful things come out of this approach.” Jeff VanderMeer provides a master class for Publisher’s Weekly on novel revision, explaining in five steps how his new book Borne arrived at its final incarnation. And for more shop talk, see VanderMeer’s interview with The Kills author Richard House from our own pages a couple of years back.