“’This Is Just To Say’ is magical because of this personal, endless quality to it,” writes Jezebel’s Kate Dries in her exploration of the poem’s prevalence among Twitter comedians. Meanwhile Andrew Epstein remarks in a supplementary blog post, “I guess this is just to say that the Jezebel piece reminded me that Kenneth Koch was remixing and spoofing [William Carlos] Williams almost 50 years before anyone ever dreamt of Twitter.”
“The rest of the morning went like that. We did synchronized clapping. We did active listening. We did a role-play exercise in which I was a girl waiting for a bus and Karloff was a masher, but when I started flirting back, she didn’t like it. I got four more cups of coffee and felt brokenhearted when my bottle gave up its last drop.” Philip Marlowe attends a court-mandated women’s studies workshop.
You may have heard (via this site or elsewhere) that Harold Bloom has a new book out. In the Times Sunday Book Review, Cynthia Ozick gives her take, identifying the critic’s use of the phrase “without precedent” as key to understanding his theory. You could also read Matt Hanson on Bloom’s classic The Anatomy of Influence.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Stonecutter. In the most recent issue, you’ll find our own Lydia Kiesling’s essay on cigarettes and literature; in Issue #2, you’ll find Mark O’Connell discussing Roberto Bolaño’s Between Parentheses. You read that correctly: 50% of all Stonecutter issues feature Millions staffers.
We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You could also read our own Bill Morris on the golden age of the second novel.
Oh, ghostwriter: that poorly-paid name snuck into the “Acknowledgements” section somewhere after agent’s agent and ex-wife’s third cousin. In the middle ground between Michael D’Orso, who spoke to The Millions of job satisfaction as a hired pen, and Sari Botton, whose reminisces are full of horror stories, Andrew Croft, author of 80 books that sold 10M copies under other people’s names, offers a circumspect take in his Guardian profile. “The ghost is advised never to forget that, at the end of the day, he or she ranks somewhere between a valet and a cleaner.”