In 1932, several black Americans – including Langston Hughes – traveled to the Soviet Union to shoot a propaganda film about the “evils of racism in the United States.” One of those travelers, Lloyd Patterson, would never return. Instead, Patterson married an Ukrainian woman, and the pair had two children. The firstborn, Jim Patterson, was at one time the most famous black resident of the USSR – and his appearance in The Circus even drew the admiration of Joseph Stalin. After World War II, Patterson served as a Soviet naval officer aboard a submarine in the Black Sea. From there he went on to the Soviet Writers Union in 1967. If you think this sounds far-fetched, I encourage you to read more here.
Does a writer make the city or does the city make the writer? At Grantland, Michael Weinreb discusses why Elmore Leonard is the ultimate Motor City writer and discovers Leonard’s Detroit. “Without his books, the city would still have suffered the same hellish decline. But because of him, that suffering was rendered into an art form all its own.” Pair with: Our own Bill Morris writing against Detroit’s ruin porn reputation.
David Orr investigates the day jobs of some modern poets, and notes “the university job is a relatively recent development in Anglo-American poetry.” Indeed, as this playful illustration from Incidental Comics makes clear, poets have engaged in a wide array of salaried jobs – from pediatricians to bank clerks to diplomats. Previously, we took a look at writers and their day jobs, too.
A publishing flap in three parts, with colons. 1: Publisher’s Weekly details unsettling allegations about Night Shade Books — an unwillingness to answer calls from writers or their agents, stolen digital rights, and missing royalty statements. 2: Night Shade issues an apology. 3: A wronged writer responds.
Recommended Reading: This unsettling, important essay by Kira Jane Buxton at The Rumpus: “He starts to move with a slow hiss. This is his place, his world, and so when he walks he does it slowly, time in his pockets. He keeps his eyes on me, keeps me in my place in his world. I can’t hold the fear back for much longer, the bridle is snapping.”
Do you long to go on an adventure, but only so long as the adventure is not in any way uncomfortable or inconvenient? Has a wizard roped you into a quest because one of your ancestors invented golf? If you answer yes to either of these questions, you might be living inside of a J.R.R. Tolkien book.