Reddit users asked one another to name their all-time favorite poems. Not to be outdone, Poetry Brain asked its Twitter followers to name their all-time favorite poems… to read naked. Since I imagine the latter group is usually only able to read in the buff while at home, I bet they really lament the 2001 demise of Harvard’s “Phone-a-Poem” feature.
Freudians know that Eros and Thanatos are opposites in the human psyche. The former, the love instinct, pushes us to survive, while the latter, the death instinct, pushes us to destruction. In an essay for Bookslut, Jelena Markovic explores the importance of Thanatos in daily life, using as an example a man she knew with an “instinct for nonexistence.”
Deeply saddened to hear news that Jake Adam York died today. York published three critically acclaimed poetry collections between 2005 and 2010: Murder Ballads, A Murmuration of Starlings, and Persons Unknown as well as an additional work of literary history The Architecture of Address. Much of his work is available online as well, such as his poems “Vigil” and “Self-Portrait as Superman.” Edit: The Kenyon Review has uploaded three recordings of York reading his poetry. These are highly recommended as well.
In the latest issue of The Boston Review, Elaine Scarry reviews Steven Pinker’s
The Better Angels of Our Nature. Pinker argues that literature, by bolstering man’s empathy, has lead to huge reductions in worldwide violence, a thesis that sounds dangerously close to the absurd pop-science of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.