Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith’s essay on when Allen Ginsberg stayed with his family. “The following night, after Ginsberg’s poetry reading (why would I want to go to that?) a group of students eager for him to impart morsels of omniscience were forced to wait outside my room while we played video games on my Atari 2600—I destroyed Ginsberg at Frogger, but he eviscerated me on Combat.”
“Usually, with a novel, you start with no idea what to do because your job is to create convincing characters and then they just run around getting crazy. The problem with writing a memoir, obviously, is you can’t do that because you sort of know what’s going to happen. Because you’re the character.” – Gary Shteyngart
Essay Liu's essay "Seven Days After Father" has been translated by Kevin T. S. Tang for Blunderbuss Magazine and presents a daughter's sincere grief confused by custom. "'The funeral director forbids tears as we approach your coffin, but demands that we weep on our return. This is the movie script we’ve been handed, one we’ll be beholden to for days, and I know that many things are not mine to decide anymore. Even our tears have been planned for us."
A couple weeks ago, we published our review of Ben Lerner’s 10:04, the follow-up to his debut Leaving the Atocha Station. At the Poetry Foundation’s blog, Adam Plunkett argues that 10:04 inadvertently reveals its author’s poetic training. The book, he says, “dissolves into a poem.”
Guys Lit Wire is a group blog dedicated to “recommending books for teenage boys.” Twice a year, the group hosts a book fair in conjunction with Powell’s to help school libraries. For the past couple of years, the group has focused on Washington D.C.’s Ballou Senior High School, and this year their fair will run until October 14th. Please do check out the “wish list” and send a couple books in Ballou’s direction!
“He taught me that poetry can be anything and with that comes great freedom.” Reminiscences by a former student of the poet John Ashbery upon his death. And for a contemporary take on the question of just what, exactly, poetry is and/or might be, see our recent conversation between Jill Bialosky and Matthew Zapruder.