About a year ago, Patricia Lockwood famously asked The Paris Review how they felt about their namesake. In response, the magazine assigned top people to the project, who came back with a straightforward answer.
“Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.” Dana Stevens and Adam Kirsch discuss whether literature should be considered useful.
New Herring Press is a Brooklyn/Portland publisher of prose chapbooks, and they’re likely the best new chapbook press you haven’t heard of yet. Volume II of their annual series features titles by Eileen Myles, Justin Torres, Amanda Davidson, and Sara Veglahn, with cover art by illustrator Jacob Magraw-Mickelson. NHP’s ultra-short backlist includes notable authors like Lynne Tillman and Deb Olin Unferth. Volume III is in the works, with authors and artist TBA soon. Check them out at newherringpress.tumblr.com.
“These stories feature hookups and breakups, substance abuse, and violence so casual it’s as natural as jagged breathing.” Electric Literature has an interview between flash fiction author Len Kuntz and critic and writer David Galef, whose Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook was just published by Columbia University Press. The two discuss the state of short fiction, their favorite one-line stories of the year, and how, even in the briefest of narratives, readers should still “feel a connection to the story and characters.” For more ultra-lean tales, see our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s review of Hint Fiction, an anthology of 25-words-and-under short stories.
“Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out.” The Guardian interviews James Wood, author and book critic at The New Yorker, about his craft, his forthcoming novel Upstate, and the landscape of today’s literary criticism. Pair with: an essay about the greatness (and great influence) of Wood on a fellow novelist.