“It can not be that I monopolize / The making of the songs that give you praise / Or that such pools as are your dearest eyes / Have just one bather through the unclear days. / Then, let me take my place amid the pack, / If I so pack my songs with your rare worth / There were no quality they then should lack / But they were bettered by that happy death.” A previously unpublished Ezra Pound sonnet selling at auction is always newsworthy–especially when it fetches nearly $12,000. Here is a related Millions piece about the difficult poetry of Ezra Pound, John Berryman, and Ted Berrigan.
Reif Larsen's "The Crying of Page 45" appears in this month's issue of The Believer. This clever, inventive essay is excerpted from the book I co-edited The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. You can get a taste of the piece at The Believer website, but the full essay in all its illustrated glory is available in the print magazine as well as in, of course, the book.
In the annals of Southern literature, Elizabeth Spencer isn’t as well-known as Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor, but she is, Wilton Barnhardt writes, “one of America’s best short-story writers.” The 92-year-old author’s new collection marks “65 years and counting of superb writing,” he argues.
New this week is Jonathan Evison's West of Here, Joyce Carol Oates' memoir A Widow's Story about the death of her husband (this was the source of her recent, quite moving essay in the New Yorker), and the expanded rerelease of Alexander Theroux's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Also new on shelves from NYRB Classics is Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane, with an introduction by Phillip Lopate, who discussed Fontane in our Year in Reading in December.
Our friend "Tom" finds that music soothes the savage vampire.Joseph O'Neill explores the "wholesome... misanthropy" of Flannery O'Connor.The Nation offers up a depressing assessment of the book business: "It is a confused, confusing and very fluid situation, and no one can predict how books and readers will survive.""Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany"NPR talks to the author of the just published biography, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life.Daniel Green launches new online journal Critical Distance."Will Philadelphia be the place where the American newspaper dies?" (via)The Complete Review considers Bolaño's Amulet.
Out this week: The Novel: An Alternative History by Steven Moore; Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat; F, a new book of poems by Franz Wright; and The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd, which Katie Rogin reviewed for us last week. For more on these and other interesting titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
“Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—T. S. Eliot is of this type.” President Obama wrote these words as a twenty-two-year-old student, but Edward Mendelson argues that Obama’s words as a literary critic reveal his tendencies as a politician. Check out our own Michael Bourne’s review of Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss, where Obama's letter was originally published.
New out this week is Gryphon, Charles Baxter's new collection of stories. Joseph McElroy also has a new collection of stories out, Night Soul. The latest McSweeney's (featuring that fragment from an abandoned novel by Michael Chabon) is now available, and new in paperback is Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America. Many more new books to look forward to, of course, in our massive preview published last week.