The “grande dame of the Beat Generation” has died at age 90. Carolyn Cassady passed away last Friday near her home in England. She was the inspiration for Camille, Dean Moriarty’s overburdened second wife in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Yet Cassady was a writer in her own right and published two books, Off the Road and Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal, about how the Beat Generation was misunderstood.
Throughout the 80s and 90s journalists turned hip hop into a literary movement. Pitchfork dives into that time and explores their legacy and impact on journalism and other literary forms. “Eager to extend the outer boundaries of their creativity, many of these writers would go on to ink novels, memoirs, short stories, scripts, and poetry, much of which stayed true to the language and attitude of hip-hop, as though their words were drafted to the sound of a boom-bap beat. It all added up to a low-key literary movement that writer and activist Kevin Powell has dubbed, ‘The Word Movement.'” Includes a great reading list at the end.
20 unpublished poems by Pablo Neruda were recently discovered. You can read one (in Spanish) over here. The poems will be published in Chile this year, and in Spain next year. Meanwhile, a local judge is not quite ready to abandon his probe into whether or not Neruda was poisoned – a theory that’s been reported for quite some time now.
Literary fiction is falling apart, but it might be for the best, Ted Gioia writes. In his essay, he explores the history of the fragmented novel (or the polyphonic novel as we’ve written about before) from Winesburg, Ohio to A Visit From the Goon Squad and fittingly, he does it in fragments.
“Apple’s example sentence for ‘shrill’ referenced ‘women’s voices,’ and the one for the word ‘psyche’ read, ‘I will never really fathom the female psyche.’ […] The pronouns in entries for ‘doctor’ and ‘research’ were male, while a ‘she’ could be found doing ‘housework.’” The New Oxford American Dictionary needs its own guidelines for nonsexist usage.
“Recently, a friend told me she didn’t like pictures of herself because she never looked the way she thought she did in her head. I think this pretty much describes the universal horror that is looking at your own photos, and that’s why I love the selfie so much. It gives you all the controls to the story you are telling.” In defense of the selfie.