During the Cold War, the CIA became entrenched in cultural life through an organization named, ironically enough, the Congress for Cultural Freedom. In order to fight communism, they funded socialist artists. The Awl has compiled a list of literary journals, including the Kenyon Review and The Paris Review, that were once supported by the CIA.
Try out our new “Random Post” button below the search boxes on the sidebar.CJR unveils new software in the quest to stamp out “gotcha journalism.”* Charlie Gibson, September 11, 2008:Question: “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”Gotcha Quotient: 95Reason: First of all, foreign policy-related questions are incredibly unfair…Tennis reprints David Foster Wallace’s feature essay from its September 1996 issue.Perhaps not the most useful link in these tight times: “The Most Expensive Things I could Find On Amazon.com” (Note: several of these are out of stock. Coincidence?)None of you saw this coming: Rapper Coolio to release his own cookbook.Cindy Sherman’s famous librarian “Untitled Film Still” fetched $900k at a recent auction.
“[T]here are no creative writing programs in Mexico, so people rely on the infinite patience of their friends.” Valeria Luiselli and Laia Jufresa, longtime readers of each other’s work, in conversation over at BOMB Magazine. See also: our review of Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth.
Recommended Reading: a piece from the New York Review of Books blog on modern attention spans and what they mean for literature. Hint: it’s not looking too promising. Tim Parks closes with a prediction that “the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel, or the novel of extensive narrative architecture, will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up, not a thread, but a sturdy cable.”
Mystery author James Patterson has written a novel called The Murder of Steven King that apparently describes the eponymous author’s death at the hands of a deranged fan. While King declined to comment on the book, he has in the past said of Patterson that the latter is “a terrible writer but he’s very successful.” And now you must read our editor-in-chief Lydia Kiesling’s essay, “Everything I Know About America I Learned from Stephen King.”
A poem by Dylan Thomas, “A Dream of Winter,” has been rediscovered after 70 years. Celyn Jones, who acted as Thomas in Set Fire to the Stars, will perform the poem in London tomorrow. We wrote about the the power of reading poetry aloud and how it connects us to the dead.