“I have yet to publish a book. The reason for that is, in part, life gets in the way. There’s work and love and art and art usually comes last, (especially for we women writers). But for me, part of what weighs art down and keeps it in last place is overwhelming self-doubt.” In an essay for Electric Literature Lindsay Merbaum writes about writing, a crippling lack of confidence, and the connection between the two. Also included: that defining moment “when I first realized I was not The Shit.”
Earlier this week, I told you about a few lists of some really great poetry from 2015. In keeping with the poetic spirit, here’s another fantastic piece from The New York Times in which everyone from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Elena Ferrante talk about their favorite poems of all time.
I didn’t expect to find a Chinese poem more ornate than Su Hui’s palindromic, pre-oulipan “Xuanji Tu,” but apparently I underestimated myself. Here’s “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den,” a 92-character poem by Yuen Ren Chao which relies on the tonal variations of a single sound (shi) to tell the story of a “lion addict” with a taste for big cats. For a really crazy experience, I recommend listening to the poem being read aloud.
Ferris Jabr writes for The New Yorker on the "profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing," and cites books such as Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway as evidence this "curious link between mind and feet" is a serious literary force. After you've finished reading Jabr's piece, be sure to check out Michelle Huneven's essay "On Walking and Reading at the Same Time," and then perhaps go for a little stroll with a good book.
Open Letter Books director Chad Post teamed up with Green Apple Books buyer Stephen Sparks to make a list of their twenty favorite books in translation. Among their selections is László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango, which Adam Levy reviewed for us last year, and which Post and Sparks describe as “a diabolical, haunting deconstruction of apocalyptic messianism.”