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.
It seems slightly incredible that anyone doesn't know who Stephen King is, but sometimes "it's precisely those whom we imagine we know, in broad stereotypical terms, who require introductions," as Joyce Carol Oates put it. Luckily, The Oyster Review has provided a handy reader's guide to Stephen King, covering his works from Carrie to On Writing.
"Without any clear and agreed upon sense for what to be aiming at in a life, people may experience the paralyzing type of indecision depicted by T.S. Eliot in his famously vacillating character Prufrock; or they may feel, like the characters in a Samuel Beckett play, as though they are continuously waiting for something to become clear… or they may feel the kind of “stomach level sadness” that David Foster Wallace described…" Sean D. Kelly navigates past nihilism for the New York Times.
Celebrate literary journal Asymptote's third anniversary in New York City later this month. The event will feature Eliot Weinberger, Jeffrey Yang (translator of Liu Xiaobo), Paris Review poetry editor Robyn Creswell, Idra Novey (translator of Clarice Lispector), and Daniella Gitlin (translator of Rodolfo Walsh). They will come together for a panel discussion on translation and readings. The event starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.
"Tarzan know, Tarzan know: 'Mood? Me want to write like Warren Buffett. Mood — that for house DJ or Al Green.'" Here is Tarzan's Guide to Elliptical Style For Effective Business Writing from the good people over at McSweeney's.
A controversial new book art exhibit is set to open at the Mansfield Library of the University of Montana on January 7th. The show, "Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate," comprises works by 100 artists all of which are made out 4000 books published by a white supremacist organization, The Church of the Creator, and sold to the Montana Human Rights Network by a disaffected member. Read the strange story of the genesis of the exhibition and see some of the works here.
Recommended viewing: The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik talks about his early years in New York writing for the magazine "though they simply weren't aware of it, or when they were aware of it they were extremely unenthusiastic," and about all the odd jobs that often make up a writer's early career, something our own Emily St. James Mandel has written about before.
Graywolf Press – the publisher behind Citizen, The Empathy Exams, The Argonauts, and On Immunity: An Inoculation – has built a reputation as “a scrappy little press that harnessed and to some extent generated a revolution in nonfiction, turning the previously unprepossessing genre of the ‘lyric essay’ into a major cultural force.” Over at Vulture, Boris Kachka writes about the history of one of the nation’s leading independent literary publishers.