Thanks to recent advancements in digital scanning technology, it looks like the Herculaneum scrolls will be made legible after some two thousand years. The new technique allows for close study of the scrolls without causing irreparable damage to the papyrus via exposure to the moisture in the air, an issue which had dogged scholars for centuries. If the impermanence and tenuousness of writing is more your speed, here’s a bit on Twitter, instead.
Earlier this week, I told you about a few lists of some really great poetry from 2015. In keeping with the poetic spirit, here’s another fantastic piece from The New York Times in which everyone from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Elena Ferrante talk about their favorite poems of all time.
“History is littered with poets… who set up their own presses to publish their work, because it was so different from the normal forms of the time. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard are one example- they started their own press called the Hogarth Press (it is still going today) to publish collections of their work.” Self-publishing is something we’ve written about many times before, but Sarah Gonnet raises a good point – self-publishing isn’t truly a new phenomenon, and it does allow for a great deal of creative freedom.
“They might underline a page number, draw a little star on the last page, or write their first initial somewhere in the book.” A librarian in Scotland discovered a secret code used by elderly patrons to track which books they already read. From our archives: an essay on the importance of libraries and how they can stay relevant.
“I have come to realize how much I have, throughout my life, bought into the narrative of this alluring myth of personal responsibility and excellence. I realize how much I believe that all good things will come if I—if we—just work hard enough.” Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay writes for VQR Online about “The Price of Black Ambition.” Pair with our review of An Untamed State.
“Over the course of our conversation, I’ve come to understand that he has not written (Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings) to provoke or to engender a self-serving sense of shock; he has written with a belief in the possibilities of liminal space and in the revelations that occur at the point of tension. The result is a book that jars, unequivocally, and that disquietingly brings to the surface the anguish of past and present America.” Stephen O’Connor’s poetic reimagining of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and the enslaved Sally Hemings has certainly raised some eyebrows. This interview with Melody Nixon at BOMB gives O’Connor a platform from which to explain his idea.