Alice Driver writes for Vela about growing up in Arkansas and becoming an artist. As she explains it, “Because I have no debt, I have been able to pursue writing and have had the opportunity to fail time and again.” Pair with Kate Angus’s Millions essay on making a living as a poet.
“The things I do not want to write about become the things I write about.” Year in Reading alumnus Eimear McBride talks to The Guardian on the occasion of her second novel’s arrival. The Lesser Bohemians follows upon her hugely successful debut, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, which we reviewed back when it came out in the U.S.
“He was a glutton for books who treated each text as a plate he was required to clean.” Author and critic William Gass died this week at 93, reports The Washington Post. The recipient of three National Book Critics Circle awards for criticism and four Pushcart prizes, Gass was awarded the PEN/Nabakov Award for lifetime achievement in 2000. See our reviews of Middle C, a novel that took Gass almost 20 years to finish, and his most recent essay collection Life Sentences, which amply demonstrated his background as “a former philosophy professor, but more appropriately a philosopher of the word and an esthete.” We were also lucky enough to have him pen a Year in Reading entry for us back in 2009: “I miss the leisure that let me read just for fun, not to critique, or pronounce, or even to put on a list, but simply to savor,” Gass lamented. Nonetheless, he continued,“I do, from time to time, pick up old friends who never disappoint but will promise me a page or two of pleasure between art and ordinary life.”
“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
Ralph Waldo Emerson called him “the jingle-man.” Henry James called his work “decidedly primitive.” Yet Edgar Allan Poe, nearly two centuries after his death, is now acclaimed as a writer on par with his best contemporaries. How did his reputation evolve? In the Times Literary Supplement, Marjorie Perloff reviews a new study of Poe by Jerome McGann.
As an Editor-at-Large at Interview Magazine, Christopher Bollen has talked with everyone from Joan Didion to Renata Adler to Michael Stipe. Last Friday, he became an interview subject himself, sitting down with Tom Barbash at Salon to talk about his new novel, Orient. Sample quote: “I know I’m supposed to have the young characters constantly on Snapchat and Instagram and every adult is falling asleep at night to a Netflix marathon.”