“The way (Yeats) puts down a man’s head & a woman’s head side by side, or face to face, is terrifying, two irreducible singlenesses & the impassable immensity between.” The Paris Review has published a brief, fascinating letter written by Samuel Beckett to his aunt Cissie Sinclair containing an original poem and some positive criticism of the painter Jack B. Yeats. Top it off with this essay by Elizabeth Winkler about language, style, and translation–and how any of that might help to make sense of Beckett’s convoluted legacy.
“The rest of her speech to the U.N. that day is an exact outline for what she wanted the rest of the Parable books to be about — a way out that she did not live to write herself.” For Electric Literature, Kristopher Jansma explores the unwritten Parable books of acclaimed sci-fi author Octavia Butler. Pair with our consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
In the Winter 2013 issue of The Paris Review, Kevin Prufer published a poem, “How He Loved Them,” that tackled the aftermath of a car bomb explosion outside of a courthouse. On the magazine’s blog, Robyn Creswell interviews Prufer, who laments that “somehow, when we enter the territory of politics, we expect our poems to shill for votes, to argue strongly for particular beliefs.” (He also has a new book out.)
Eileen Myles, the poet and self-described “loudmouthed lesbian (which means mainstream invisible)” has given One Grand Books a list of her ten favorite books from the Djuna Barnes classic Nightwood to John Wieners’s Supplication: Selected Poems. Here’s a complementary Millions essay on Eileen Myles and the fugitive form.