We’ve already decided that it’s okay for fictional characters to be unlikable, but what about nonfiction writers? At the VQR blog, Jennifer Niesslein interviews essayists on whether their success is based on how amiable they are. “I think it’s ridiculous to expect to like someone who wrote a book you love, but the increasing visibility of writers on social media—who are expected to be the ambassadors of their books—amps up the pressure to be well-liked,” Cheryl Strayed said.
Articles lamenting the supposed death of reading tend to include a gripe that we now spend too much time on the Internet. However, as those of you who read a lot of books and live partially on the Internet are aware, the two activities aren’t mutually exclusive. NPR’s Morning Edition has a new story (which includes our own Janet Potter discussing her rewriting of classic novel titles as click-bait headlines) about the intersection between the lit world and the meme world.
Claudia Rankine’s new book of poetry, Citizen, is getting a lot of attention in part due to its meditations on race in modern America. In the latest issue of BOMB, Lauren Berlant interviews the poet, asking her about micro-aggressions, Kara Walker and the implicit tone of the word “citizen.”
The University of Iowa’s International Writing House is offering a free 7-week virtual poetry seminar this February. The course will be taught be poet Margaret Ross, and it is open to anyone with an internet connection. Attendance will be capped at 15, however, and the deadline for applications is January 28th. More details can be found here.