The Beat Generation was such a largely male-dominated literary movement that its few female writers have mostly been forgotten. At The Toast, Megan Keeling remembers Beat poet Elise Cowen, who is mostly known as Allen Ginsberg’s paramour but also wrote poetry of her own. “Her surviving poetry shows a unique perspective on the rigid cultural conformity of the 1950s and also the fringe artistic community of the Beat Generation.” A collection of her poetry, Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments, was just published.
This blog post from the NYT Magazine’s culture editor Adam Sternbergh rounds up some some well known lit lovers’ suggestions for some of those of you looking for some “red hot summer trash” to add to your reading list. Maud Newton and our own Garth Risk Hallberg both recommended Lonesome Dove, so that’s going on my reading list for sure.
Recommended Reading: On Carmen Balcells, “The Woman Behind Latin America’s Literary Boom,” in The New Yorker. Her authors called her “Big Mama” after Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s queen of Macondo. She worked with many of the authors included on our Latin American Nobel Candidates list.
Recommended Listening: The Missouri Review’s new weekly podcast, Soundbooth, which will feature interviews and readings with authors, editors, agents, and more. The first episode is a conversation between editor in chief Speer Morgan and marketing director Kris Somerville on the research they do for the journal’s feature section. You can subscribe here.
“I move in a desultory society and often a week or two will roll by without my going to anybody’s house to dinner or anyone’s coming to mine, but when an occasion does arise, and I am summoned, something usually turns up (an hour or two in advance) to make all human intercourse seem vastly inappropriate.” In the new issue of The Atlantic Weekly (not to be confused with the Monthly), a reprint of a classic E.B. White essay.
Lydia Millet’s most recent novel, Magnificence, is the third in a trilogy, and a reminder of what a significant body of work she’s been building over the last decade. The Point offers the best overview of that work you’re likely to find anywhere. Millet’s “equal parts” Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen, writes Tom Dibblee, “but really she’s her own thing.”
The Chicago Tribune is rolling out a new premium books section for $99 a year. The Printers Row offering (named for a Chicago neighborhood) “will feature 24 pages of book reviews, author interviews and Chicago-focused literary news, along with a weekly bonus book of short fiction.” You can either feel validated (special HBO-style “premium” section for readers!) or marginalized (so few people care about this that you have to pay extra if you want it.)