“I say peel back the immediate surface layer and let’s see what’s actually underneath, if it’s possible to find that out. As a child, of course, I grew up looking under dead logs to see if there might be a newt. Most of the time there wasn’t a newt. Sometimes there was.” Margaret Atwood talks newts and skepticism in a new interview over at Hazlitt. Atwood’s newest, The Heart Goes Last, is out now.
Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
“The idea is to bring about a change in lifestyle of the young denizens of the city.” The Times of India reports that the Bhopal Runners Association is converting old parks around the city into green reading spaces with seating, wi-fi, and literary events. Less bookcentric but still a feat of public planning (and gentrification): New York City’s High Line, which our own Michael Borne wrote about when it first opened.