“As adults, we should hold each other’s work to high standards, and our own work to the highest of all. As writers, we shouldn’t settle for a single pale line. But before the poem is written, I say, we should lie to ourselves, the way we lied to that winded child. Before composition, we have to be gods.” Alex Chertok writes about literary pep talks for the Ploughshares blog.
What do you get if you combine Man Ray with some of the most celebrated artistic figures of 1920’s Paris such as Ernest Hemingway, Lee Miller, and Marcel Duchamp? The answer is: some predictably fantastic portraits. For more on Man Ray, here’s a moving essay on how his Hollywood Album redefined Liska Jacobs’ idea of a “life’s work.”
Asymptote, a new international journal of literary translation, is up for free online and comes packed with ear candy. Though all the content is translated into English, an audio recording of the authors reading their work in the original language accompanies many of the pieces.
“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
“No drugs on the bus!” Take a road trip with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and some other really fantastic poets.