Guess which famous novelist and new Twitter user got 19,000 retweets for the following: “On Twitter at last, and can’t think of a thing to say. Some writer I turned out to be.” (Hint: his last name rhymes with “sing.”)
Whether you admire the work of e.e. cummings or think of him mainly as the inspiration for your high school’s worst poet, you’ll enjoy this excerpt of Susan Cheever’s new biography, which touches on the poet’s later years and his relationship with Cheever’s father. The two (contrasting) money quotes here are Malcolm Cowley’s claim that cummings was “the most brilliant monologuist I have known” and this exasperated question posed by Helen Vendler: “What is wrong with a man who writes this?
Zadie Smith could write herself out of a Chinese takeout box, and that’s exactly what she does in her essay on the differences between British and American takeout culture, “Take It Or Leave It,” for The New Yorker. “I don’t think any nation should elevate service to the status of culture.”
“Much has been made of the seemingly prophetic nature of Verne’s lunar stories: elements such as the distance and time to reach the moon, and even the launch and landing sites for the mission fall very closely to what actually happened during NASA’s Apollo program.” On the prophetic and historical power of Jules Verne‘s science fiction novels, including the works that later inspired the space program.
The Chilean government has finally admitted that Pablo Neruda may have been assassinated by the Pinochet regime. The admission was followed by a hasty reminder that a panel of experts is currently investigating the matter and that “no conclusion has been reached.” One curious little sidebar: Augusto Pinochet was allegedly an avid collector of books.