Gossip is often seen as inherently frivolous and trashy, which is why it’s odd that a poet would use it as the subject of his or her work. On The Poetry Foundation’s blog, Austin Allen writes about George Green’s collection Lord Byron’s Foot, in which, as Allen puts it, “the dish spares no one.” (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
Writing in the London Review of Books (Reg. Req.), Evgeny Morozov clued me onto how “scientists at UCLA – with funding from the Chinese government – have built an ‘image to text’ system that automatically produces text summaries of what is taking place in captured video.” A similar technology was also developed by NYU student Matt Richardson, whose “descriptive camera” can “automatically describe the scene in a camera’s viewfinder, which, when the image was uploaded, would make it easier to find.” Meanwhile one Twitter is describing typical Instagram shots in 140 characters or fewer.
Sarah Howe’s debut poetry collection, Loop of Jade, has been awarded the T. S. Eliot prize. “Howe’s work – the first debut poetry collection to win the British prize since it was inaugurated in 1993 – triumphed over a particularly strong shortlist, which featured some of poetry’s biggest names, including Don Paterson, Claudia Rankine, Sean O’Brien and Les Murray.” If poetry isn’t for you, try our own Nick Ripatrazone’s ten poems for people who hate poetry.
Nowadays, Huck Finn is as a lightning rod for racial issues, which explains why so many schools have banned the book over the years. But in the late 18th century, when Mark Twain published it, the novel was more controversial as a critique of childhood in America. In the Times, Year in Reading alum Parul Sehgal reads Huck Finn’s America, a new book by Andrew Levy that sheds light on the context of the era. You could also read our founder C. Max Magee on reading Huck Finn as a child.
“[Mark] Twain wasn’t above the contrivances of capitalism, even as he skewered them. . . From nonage to dotage, in dire straits or in the pink, he was always a capricious entrepreneur, counting the zeroes on an imaginary balance sheet.” The New Yorker writes about the humor writer’s many failed attempts to get very rich. From our archives: Twain and the Wild West.
The weird and fascinating history of books used in swearing-in ceremonies gets its latest entry: the new Ambassador to Switzerland just took the oath on her personal Kindle.
The Public Domain Review takes a look at the “Class of 2013,” a k a their “top pick of artists and writers whose works will, on 1st January 2013, be entering the public domain.” Among the names highlighted is Robert Musil, whose novel The Man Without Qualities was reviewed on our site by Matthew Gallaway.