Why do some ideas only come to you when you’re under a tremendous amount of pressure? At the Ploughshares blog, S. Hope Mills reflects on the importance of deadlines, which may explain (according to Guardian columnist Robert Crum) why Dickens chose to serialize his novels.
It’s hard to describe exactly who Delmore Schwartz was, for the simple reason that he did so many notable things. The man wrote poetry, edited The Partisan Review and The New Republic, and wrote a canonical short story at the age of twenty-five. In The Nation, Vivian Gornick makes the case for a new accomplishment, arguing that “Delmore Schwartz is to Jewish-American writing what Richard Wright is to African-American writing.” You could also read Gabriel Brownstein on life as a Jewish writer.
Vanity Fair remembers Christopher Hitchens, a favorite of ours who was always fun to root for, and who, as you’ve no doubt heard by now, died last night. Andrew Sullivan remembers an email exchange from happier times. Hitchens’ ebook from this year, The Enemy, is in our Hall of Fame, and we reviewed his memoir, Hitch-22, last year.
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn’t she? After all, “there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration.”
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.