Last month, while traveling through Des Moines, Iowa, President Barack Obama had the chance to interview one of his favorite authors: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. The first part of the conversation was just published in the NYRB and the second part will appear in the next issue. Obama, who is a big fan of Robinson, had recently quoted her in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women.” It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
Before Dr. Seuss penned the Lorax who spoke for the trees, he drew ads for Standard Oil, General Electric, and a host of other large corporations who spoke for a considerably different constituency. This great collection of advertising artwork from Theodore Seuss Geisel courtesy of the Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California, San Diego.
Sara Nović writes for The Believer about the deaf protagonist of Stephen King’s The Stand. As she explains it, “This is the plight of the average deaf character: to be plagued by the hearing author’s own discomfort with the idea of silence.” Pair with Lydia Kiesling’s Millions essay on King.
Friday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, which is why Dan Piepenbring, at The Paris Review Daily, looked back on one of Bradbury’s classic stories and picked out some choice quotes from his Art of Fiction interview. Piepenbring also pointed out that the story gets a mention in, among other places, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. You could supplement this by reading Tanjil Rashid on the author’s Middle East connection.