“The internet teems with writerly advice, almost all of which suggests that creativity is served best by monasticism, a quiet life filled with pencils—but that kind of advice seems to take a very short view of history, overlooking the one classic way to rouse the capricious Muses: sexually transmitted disease.” According to The Hairpin, maybe it’s not an MFA you need, just syphilis. After all, it seems to have worked for James Joyce, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Oscar Wilde and many, many others.
There’s a reason Hemingway and Fitzgerald are usually thought of as being opposites on the masculinity spectrum. Hemingway, he of the grand works about boxing and bullfighting, is perhaps the patron saint of literary manhood, while Fitzgerald was often the definition of refinement. Yet their actual identities were a little more complicated than our images of them suggest. At The Paris Review Daily, a look at how they were thought of as “real men” -- or not.
This past Wednesday Tracy K. Smith officially began her term as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. After adding her name to the guest book traditionally signed by poet laureates upon the start of their one year term, she read aloud from previously published poetry collections and introduced new work. Ron Charles from the Washington Post reports "[a]mong her most powerful new pieces were 'found poems' constructed from archival letters that African American veterans sent to President Lincoln asking for pensions they were owed." Smith is the first poet laureate appointed by the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Stay tuned for her upcoming efforts to engage rural communities in poetry discussions.
The recent passing of Christopher Hitchens has led to numerous praiseful eulogies. Many have been (and he would've hated this…) hagiographic. Now, in an article for The Nation, Katha Pollitt seeks to "complicate the picture … at the risk of seeming churlish" to allege that the man "had virtually no interest in women's writing or women's lives or perspectives."