“Writers teach, not writing per se, but how to engage in writing as a process and a means of perception. The actual work of writing is seldom sublime. It’s a struggle that grows more difficult if we avoid it. Writing is often excruciatingly slow and repetitive. Time, in slipping and sliding, makes itself felt and immediate. Words are the way in, but nothing is guaranteed. What writers or readers can do with language, or understand inside it, depends on what they know—on refining their sensibilities, on writing, revising, waiting, reading, writing, as though living in language were life and death.” Year in Reading alumna Jayne Anne Phillips writes for the Literary Hub about the importance of writing programs. For more on the debate, check out Hannah Gersen’s Millions essay.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death in 2016, he's getting a makeover. Jeanette Winterson is writing a cover of The Winter's Tale, and Anne Tyler will be revamping The Taming of the Shrew for a 21st century audience. While you wait, watch Joss Whedon's update of Much Ado About Nothing.
The Asian American Literary Review is releasing their Special Issue Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of September 11 with a launch party this Friday at 7pm in downtown New York at Alwan for the Arts. The 350-page(!) issue has interviews, essays, and first person testimony on 9/11 by South/Asian and Arab American contributors -- including Kazim Ali, Amitava Kumar, and Khin Mai Aung from AALDEF (the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund) -- several of whom should be at the launch.
A detailed analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald's tax records, obtained from his estate, at The American Scholar. William J. Quirk scrutinizes Scott’s financial ledgers from 1919 to 1940, including short story royalties, expenses relating to wife Zelda, and his years spent in Hollywood. Indeed, you are what you spend.
You can't write about Robert Lowell without writing about mental illness -- the poet went through many stretches of mania and psychosis in his life. In the Washington Post, Michael Dirda reads a "medico-biography" of Lowell, which takes a full measure of his lifelong illness and its consequences.
As part of their ongoing effort to steer folks away from bad journalism, the folks at The Morning News are running a series on reading news wisely. This week, Brendan Fitzgerald takes a look at misleading headlines, urging readers to “let headlines pique your curiosity, but be sure journalists deliver.”