William Carlos Williams was a poet born for the age of Twitter. Or, rather, his poem “This is Just to Say” is perfect for Twitter parodies. Potato, potahto.
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries... reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)
Our heartfelt congratulations to Greg Fawcett, winner of this year's Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. He credits his success in the competition with "dedication, timing his haircuts carefully and paying attention to the length of his beard." Looking good Greg, and all you other Papas in Miami.
"If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves." April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day. Celebrate early with a revisit to this 2012 essay by Ann Patchett on the resilience of the indie bookstore. Here's an interview with Janet Geddis, founder of Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, on deciding to become a bookseller.
Azar Nafisi thinks the best way to pin down a culture is to take a look at its canonical works of literature. In The Republic of Imagination, as Adam Begley details in a review in the Times Literary Supplement, she examines a few of America’s classic novels, including Babbitt, Huck Finn and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark’s review of the book for The Millions.
“Adrianne [Lobel] suspects that there’s another dimension to the series’s sustained popularity. Frog and Toad are ‘of the same sex, and they love each other,’ she told me. ‘It was quite ahead of its time in that respect.’ In 1974, four years after the first book in the series was published, [Arnold] Lobel came out to his family as gay.” On love and Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad.
Noam Chomsky, in conversation at the University of Arizona, derides the rising cost of university tuition. He goes on to say student fees are "a general form of indoctrination and control, which goes down to kindergarten. I mean, that’s what No Child Left Behind is about. It’s training for the Marine Corps."