“We are hermits, that is true. We live in tiny rooms, and we stay in those rooms hours upon hours every day, every month, every year. But we also like to walk around and throw ourselves into big crates of tomatoes, and roll around in them, and then get up all tomato-stained.” Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera talks about living life as a poet (which apparently includes a lot of tomatoes) in an interview with the Guardian.
“Whatever the facts of her life – whether she turned out to be an ancient man living in the Icelandic interior or a woman waiting tables at a Texan diner – Ferrante writes in an autobiographical mode. That is fuel for the truthers, a sort of literary ankle-flashing. But it is also good cover for another motive: a very contemporary form of envy of another’s autonomous space and their creativity, a rage that while they give us their work, they will not also give us their person.” On a new collection of Elena Ferrante’s letters, interviews and short pieces.
“It wasn’t our job to be aroused; it was our job to enhance literature meant to arouse our paying readers.” Kayleigh Hughes writes for Catapult about her year of editing e-erotica. You will learn myriad things from her account, such that publishers list “every sex act contained in every book, and the page on which those activities could be found, so that those in sales could properly categorize and organize the books for maximum success in the e-market.” And if your lust still requires further satiation, see also this account of writing the erotica itself.
“It is the persistent, damning mischaracterisation of Zelda as ‘insane’ that most needs undoing. The trouble lies in the diagnosis she was given in 1930: ‘schizophrenia’. While today we know it to mean severe mental illness requiring delicate and often lifelong treatment with medications, therapies, and sometimes institutionalisation, in Zelda’s time it was a catch-all label for a range of emotional difficulties.” Reexamining the life and reputation of Zelda Fitzgerald.
“I’ve got to be writing. I have a few ways to make sure I can carve out time. Part one: Neglect everything else. Part two: Get disciplined.” David Mitchell writes about writing and the poetry of James Wright for The Atlantic. Pair with his story in tweets, “The Right Sort,” and Brian Ted Jones‘s Millions review of The Bone Clocks.
A pretty nifty Neil Gaiman quotation appears on the floor of the Duke University Medical Center Library.
“Ms. Hazzard’s fiction is dense with meaning, subtle in implication and tense in plot, often with disaster looming: A shipwreck tears away the parents of tiny children. A man who has waited a lifetime for a woman loses her at the last moment.” Novelist Shirley Hazzard, whose several books – including The Transit of Venus and the National Book Award-winning The Great Fire – received much acclaim, has died at 85, reports The New York Times. Also worth reading, her “Art of Fiction” interview with The Paris Review from 2005.
“How is it possible that a smallish army of discerning readers agree that Jim Harrison is one of the few truly great living American writers, yet he has not gotten the wider audience—or the widespread praise—he so plainly deserves?” Our own Bill Morris has some theories.