Charles Baxter doesn’t believe in writing routines, but he does have some odd superstitions. “I don’t like to spill salt. I throw it over my left shoulder. But if I spill salt in the morning, my day is fucked,” he told The Daily Beast.
“Life is weird and dumb and restrictive, but a poem can be whatever the hell you want it to be for god’s sake. Other people will always have opinions, they’re just really none of my business.” In an interview at the Lit Hub, Tommy Pico talks about poetry and his creative process.
Out this week: My Lost Poets by Philip Levine; Orphans of the Carnival by Carol Birch; These Are the Names by Tommy Wieringa; A Poet's Dublin by Eavan Boland; and Against Sunset by Stanley Plumly. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
"Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill." The Atlantic has an excellent contribution to the age-old thesis that creativity and madness are inextricably linked--and tied, moreover, to mental illness--based in part on a sample of students at Iowa Writer's Workshop. Pair with another essay on creativity and the "touch of madness" from our own archives.
Year in Reading alumna Ottessa Moshfegh has a new story in this week’s issue of the New Yorker, titled “The Beach Boy.” Moshfegh also spoke with Deborah Treisman about her writing: “Isn’t it hilarious when people are blind to their own arrogance? For some, no amount of American liberal-arts education, charitable contributions, or hours spent listening to NPR will ever wake them up to their own privileged, bigoted, and classist attitudes. [...] One might say that New Yorkers like the folks in 'The Beach Boy' are especially susceptible to the kind of stupidity I love to write about—the stupidity of entitlement.”
"Many times, I’ve found that a book I once held in my hands becomes another when assigned its position in my library." In The Paris Review, an excerpt on the art of packing (and unpacking) a library from Alberto Manguel's upcoming book, Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions. Pair with: an essay on reorganizing one's personal library.