Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once threw out a surprisingly decent first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game while wearing a pocket protector. Seriously. Here’s our own Bill Morris with a little more on Ginsberg, Beats, and film.
“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.”
When you think “Franz Kafka,” it typically isn’t his sunny disposition that comes to mind. According to Reiner Stach, this new collection of ephemera, however, seeks to challenge the tired, old conception of Kafka-as-tortured neurotic. Here’s a Millions review of Stach’s twin biographies of Kafka, himself.
“To be awake was a thing many had dreamed of, while continuing to sleep for years, like the famous princess in her coffin of glass. Once I opened a Chinese fortune cookie that said, Some will attain their heart’s desire, alas.” Revisiting this fantastic Anne Carson poem, “The Day Antonioni Came to the Asylum (Rhapsody),” over at The Paris Review. Carson’s newest, Float, is due out in a couple of months.
Finland will pay tribute to author and artist Tove Jansson by adding her likeness to a new two-Euro commemorative coin. This isn’t the first time a country’s wanted to add an author to their currency. (Related: Alex Ohlin looks at the “sad, strange brilliance” of Moomin; and Jansson’s works are recommended by Emily St. John Mandel and Rachel Meier.)
Point: Dan Chaon believes younger writers should read more contemporary writing before attempting to be published themselves. Counterpoint: J. Robert Lennon believes most contemporary writing is a waste of would-be writers’ precious time. TL;DR Version: Nathan Elwood notes that if writers “want to change the face of literary fiction … [they should] at least know what it looks like.”
Most of our internet browsing results in wasted time and too many cat videos, but Nora Crook stumbled upon Mary Shelley’s unpublished letters while researching an obscure 19th-century novelist. In the letters, which range from 1831-49, Shelley fawns over her son and even discusses a 3 a.m. trip to her hairdresser when she got a ticket to the coronation of William IV in 1831. The letters will be published soon in The Keats-Shelley Journal.