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)
"John Milton—poet, free speech advocate, civil servant, classics scholar—was arguably a forefather to Asimov, Bradbury, Delaney, and the rest. Their outlandish other worlds owe a debt to his visionary mode of storytelling; their romance—characters who go on quests, encounter adversaries at portals, channel the forces of light and dark—is his, too." Over at Slate, Katy Waldman makes the argument for Milton as sci-fi author. Pair with our discussion of his epic Paradise Lost as part of this piece about difficult books.
Ever since Pulphead, we can't get enough of John Jeremiah Sullivan, so we're happy to hear he's at work on his next book, The Prime Minister of Paradise. Sullivan will tell the story of Christian Priber, a German American who tried to establish a utopia in 18th century South Carolina. "This man, he really represented the height of the enlightenment at the time," Sullivan said during a recent interview at Notre Dame. No word on an official release date yet, but it's already being optioned for film by Scott Rudin.
"I don’t know what wave feminism we are in now. Fourth? Fifth? But Ms. Attenberg, it depresses me to no end that the gritty, credible, less kissed-by-God heroine of your book, Andrea Bern, a single, childless, 39-year-old straight woman, a character created almost 50 years after Mary Richards, is still realistically struggling with and defying convention because she isn’t married." On Jami Attenberg's new novel.
When Electric Literature tells me that Jonathan Lee has "unleashed a literary bombshell of a novel," I set aside my skepticism of the hyperbolic and give it a look. Lee's High Dive "asks us to look at the plethora of thought and self-indulgence—that beautiful minutia—that flourishes in an unharmed life, and to consider how much generous freedom there is in nonviolence."
It’s not easy being a seagull. Over at the London Review of Books, Mary Wellesley takes a sympathetic look at how the much-maligned bird has been treated throughout the history of literature. Afterwards, let this essay from The Millions by Kristen Scharold on the joys of birdwatching lift your spirits a bit.