The new poet laureate of Canada wants to clue his readers in to the prevalence of poetry in their everyday lives. “People often don’t realize they’re surrounded by poetry,” he said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “At the very least, it’s in the songs they listen to.”
Adding to the general hand-wringing over the state of the humanities, Lee Siegel contradicts Leon Wieseltier’s lament that fewer college students are majoring in literature by contending that modern literature courses ruin the joy of reading. “For every college professor who made Shakespeare or Lawrence come alive for the lucky few,” he writes, “there were countless others who made the reading of literary masterpieces seem like two hours in the periodontist’s chair.” (You can also read a similar argument from a humanities professor in The New Republic.)
Last November, the University of Southern California announced that it would stop offering a Masters in Professional Writing, ending a program that counts Richard Yates and Hubert Selby, Jr. among its faculty alumni. At The Nervous Breakdown, Aram Saroyan (son of William) looks back on his time as an instructor.
Shakespeare was an insult master, as were Churchill, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and… Cézanne? Apparently so. In The Irish Times, Colm Tóibín reads through the painter’s letters, one of which includes a gripe that “Pissarro is an old fool [and] Monet is a wily bird.” (You could also read Claire Cameron’s Millions review of Tóibín’s latest novel.)