Simon DeDeo writes for AGNI about the first line of Paradise Lost, John Milton’s first disobedience. As he explains it, “The line is a syllable too much. In Milton’s blank verse epic—iambic pentameter, five sets of two-syllable feet—the opening has eleven syllables, not ten.”
"Today I ate my shame, regurgitated it as a self-disgust, and digested it again as indolence. Known in the physical world as udon noodles with shrimp tempura," Teddy Wayne told VICE. He and other writers (including our own Emily St. John Mandel) were profiled on what they eat for lunch. On the side: famous writers' favorite snacks (Lord Byron liked to drink vinegar.)
Graduation season is upon us, and college students across the nation are listening to esteemed commencement speakers. Some get treated to the likes of Bill Watterson, Jon Stewart, or Barbara Kingsolver. (I got to listen to The Rock.) In the thrill of the moment, it feels like it hardly matters who's at the podium. One wonders if audiences really grasp the material in these speeches right away, or if the speaker's words only become clear later on. Inspired by David Foster Wallace's iconic Kenyon address in 2005, our own Kevin Hartnett tried to find out.
If the idea of Rachael Ray as queen of the food world shivers your timbers, read no further: Gourmet magazine, until now stewarded by the excellent Ruth Reichl, will cease publication with the November issue, the NY Times reports. Condé Nast also gave the axe to Cookie, Elegant Bride, and Modern Bride. The print media mass grave fills apace...
"We all read from different places, different backgrounds, and my meeting with Proust or Woolf, or Lydia Davis or J. M. Coetzee, will not be yours, nor should it be. On the other hand I do believe reading is an active skill, an art even, certainly not a question of passive absorption. ... [so] there must be techniques and tools that everyone can use or try, even if we use them differently." Tim Parks explains how he reads for The New York Review of Books.
"When I want to be ambushed, captured, thrust into a strange and vivid world, and tossed aloft until I cannot stand it, until everything is at stake and life feels almost unbearably vivid, I do something simple. I read short stories." Electric Literature has posted Ben Marcus's "paean to the contemporary American short story," which doubles as the introduction to New American Stories and does a pretty good job of capturing just what it is we love about reading fiction.