“In fact, I think Plath has turned out to be a much better poet than Hughes ever was. Of course he won all the prizes, and his name is on the stones in Poet’s Corner and OK, he’s pretty good, but not that good, whereas she gets better and better.” Granta interviews the critic Al Alvarez, onetime friend of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
In a longform piece for The Atlantic Diane Saverin writes about Annie Dillard‘s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, the predominantly male tradition of wilderness-writing, and how Dillard found and wrote about the wild while living in suburbia. She also wrestles with the question: “if the author conveys a resonant truth, does it matter what experiences led to the realizations?”
“The way (Yeats) puts down a man’s head & a woman’s head side by side, or face to face, is terrifying, two irreducible singlenesses & the impassable immensity between.” The Paris Review has published a brief, fascinating letter written by Samuel Beckett to his aunt Cissie Sinclair containing an original poem and some positive criticism of the painter Jack B. Yeats. Top it off with this essay by Elizabeth Winkler about language, style, and translation–and how any of that might help to make sense of Beckett’s convoluted legacy.
A new Hemingway App promises to trim the fat from your writing in a way that the Great Bearded One would’ve approved. The app uses various color codes to highlight writing written in the passive voice, writing that’s too hard to read, and also unnecessary adverbs or complex phrases. Sounds interesting enough, no? Well, the problem is that someone ran the Hemingway App on some actual Ernest Hemingway writing, and it turns out that Papa himself didn’t even write to the app’s standard.