“Good political poems, outlive the events that shape them… they lead strange lives.” One such poem, written after a pogrom 100 years ago, has since been translated by Palestinian resistance leaders, and more recently claimed as “Israeli” by PM Netanyahu. Some of the most notable works of the genre have been collected by Poetry. New projects in political poetry I’m excited about: online journal Matter Monthly, and Rattle’s Sunday column for a political poem addressing events of that week.
Recommended Reading: These fifteen short texts in search of Hilla Becher, photographer and life/artistic partner of Bernd Becher: “One of the creations of her and Bernd’s artistic partnership was the seemingly perfect fusion of their visions. ‘No, there is no division of labor,’ they told an interviewer in 1989, in a conversation that pointedly doesn’t designate which of them is speaking. ‘Outsiders cannot tell who has taken a particular photo and we also often forget ourselves. It simply is not important.'”
“And then Obama comes over to my desk with the speech, and he has a few edits. And he’s like, ‘I just want to go through some of these edits and make sure you’re ok with this. I did this for this reason. Are you ok with that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, buddy. You’re Barack Obama.’” Jon Favreau, former chief speechwriter to President Obama, sits down with Longform.
Downton Abbey, meet Arrested Development: Arrested Downton. Speaking of the stunningly popular Downton, The Missouri Review is having a “non-contest;” enter by channeling the voice of your favorite author to describe the world of the show. Our own Garth Risk Halberg might be able to help you out, with his essay on Downton‘s literary pedigree.
Free e-book bibliophiles rejoice, you now have yet another place to download public domain e-books. The Digital Reader reports on Standard Ebooks, a volunteer-based project to “produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks.” Pair with our post from a decade back about Project Gutenberg’s pubbing of “2 B R 0 2 B,” a “lost” story by Kurt Vonnegut.
“She told the students not to explain too much, that they could throw in expressions in Igbo or Yoruba or pidgin and trust the reader to get it. She told them that even if a story was autobiographical it should be shaped—that, for instance, although in life you could have ten close friends, in fiction you could not, because it was too confusing. She told them to avoid inflated language—’never purchase when you can buy.'” A delightful (and somewhat rare) long profile of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the New Yorker.