Piggybacking off a brief aside in Ian Frazier’s new review of James Agee’s Cotton Tenants, Claire Kelley explores an odd and intriguing question: was Agee related to Walt Whitman? (Related: Mallory Ortberg on the probability that Whitman did the dirty with Oscar Wilde.)
In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff. I was reading poetry. How did Auden do his stanza forms? And I was trying to copy those. What’s a successful poem, what’s an unsuccessful poem? […] What’s a good sentence? I don’t think I’ve changed. I am as sincerely interested in novels that fail as I am in novels that succeed. I just want to work them out. It’s a pleasure for me actually.” Top it off with Jonathan Russell Clark’s essay on Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life.
“Embrasser” means to hug and kiss in French, but the new literary journal of the same name is about embracing unique varieties of international French. Embrasser is a Louisiana-based literary translation journal that aims “to highlight and preserve varieties of French that have been marginalized,” founder Emily Thibodeaux said. The journal is accepting fiction poetry, nonfiction, and criticism submissions in English or Louisiana French for its first issue coming out during Mardi Gras 2014.
“So much of recovery is a fight against exceptionalism—that necessary act of saying, What I’ve lived has been lived before, will be lived again, is nothing special but still holds meaning, still holds truth.” Chris Kraus interviews Leslie Jamison about recovery, memoir, and her forthcoming title, The Recovering, for The Paris Review. Pair with: our interview with Jamison.