Well, Cervantes‘s body was just found, and there are some varying opinions about whether or not that’s a great thing for Spain and Spanish literature. What is almost definitely not a great thing for either: the pornographic Spanish Don Quixote cartoon from the seventies.
"The wish to be a writer, and the will to be one, solve nothing about how you will live, and don’t even solve anything about how you will write. You have given yourself the vaguest designation." Kristy Eldredge writes for The Rumpus about drawing inspiration from the unconventional career choices of Year in Reading alum Geoff Dyer, including the New York Times column he almost never wrote. Pair her essay with our own Janet Potter's review of Dyer's latest full-length work, Another Great Day at Sea.
Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
Want to be published by Penguin? For $99 (£60), you can! As stated in this Guardian article, "Penguin USA will provide the service through its genre-fiction online community, Book Country, which launched in May offering wannabe authors the opportunity to post their work online and receive feedback." The news comes on the heels of Amazon's announcement that Amanda Hocking has become the second self-published author to tally 1,000,000 Kindle sales.
"Yehuda Amichai’s genius lies in how—to borrow from his own language—he makes metaphor 'useful.' He thinks metaphorically, and in so doing he makes stories of them, treating his likenesses as if they were not metaphorical but animated literalisms. That’s why, I suspect, his metaphors have not merely poetic power but practical vitality, in the way that a horse is not only alive but usefully alive." Every time James Wood publishes a big profile in The New Yorker, it's worth a read; this week's essay on the "secular psalmist" and poet Yehuda Amichai is no different.
"Listen to what makes your hair stand on end, your heart melt, and your eyes go wide, what stops you in your tracks and makes you want to live, wherever it comes from, and hope that your writing can do all those things for other people. Write for other people, but don’t listen to them too much." Being a writer is really hard. Fortunately, Very Good Writer Rebecca Solnit is here with ten tips on how to be a better one.
The hype keeps building for Baz Luhrmann’s oft-delayed Great Gatsby adaptation. The first trailer had the whole internet up in a tizzy, and now the latest teaser from Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s “Back to Black” cover has even more people interested. Perhaps, in order to wind down, we should all check out the first cinematic reworking of Fitzgerald’s classic. Over at Open Culture, fans can get a look at The Only Known Footage of the 1926 Film Adaptation of The Great Gatsby (Which F. Scott Fitzgerald Hated).