Back in July, Patricia Lockwood lit up the Internet with “Rape Joke,” a harrowing poem. Now, at The Rumpus, Lauren O’Neal interviews Lockwood, who talks about “Rape Joke,” the subsequent reaction and her 2012 book, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black. You could also read Elisa Gabbert on Lockwood’s Twitter followers.
Longtime writers know how hard it can be to tell when a piece is finished. Tolstoy famously tried to revise War and Peace right up to the book's publication. At the Ploughshares blog, Amy Jo Burns offers tips for evaluating a piece before deciding to give it to someone else.
“What I didn’t know then was that these decorations evolved from the Jewish menora, the Hebrew festival of lights. I don’t think my mother knew that either, but if she did she never mentioned it. And I certainly never contemplated the resemblance of a sleigh to a cradle. A sleigh is basically a very large cradle.” Mary Ruefle on Christmas trees.
Following the example of Flaubert, whose Dictionary of Received Ideas compiled the clichés of its day, Teju Cole set out on Monday to record his own clichés on Twitter. At Page-Turner, he sums up his experiment in a blog post. (You may recall that this is not the first time Cole has won acclaim for his Twitter account.)
Jeff Ragsdale (Jeff, One Lonely Guy) produced, shot and edited an “immersion documentary” in which he accompanied Canadian escorts on hundreds of calls over a span of several months. The half-hour film is entitled “30 Nights with a Call Girl.” Millions readers may recall Ragsdale’s work from its mention in our own Sonya Chung’s essay “On Loneliness.”
Some world literature links: Sign and Sight offers the best introduction to Herta Müller I've been able to find...The Complete Review gets the ball rolling on Roberto Bolaño's (very) early novel Monsieur Pain, forthcoming from New Directions...Ingo Schulze, author of the quietly astonishing New Lives and the forthcoming One More Story, talks to The Toronto Star (via)...The NBCC features Yu Hua's Brothers...Claudio Magris is crowned the king of Frankfurt...Maud Newton hails Juan Gabriel Vásquez's "inventive and intricately plotted" The Informers...The Brooklyn Rail and Transcript both offer handsome online digests of short stories from around the world.