Recommended Reading: This essay on Jorie Graham, Modernist poetry, and the resistance of closure from The Nation. In the essay, Ange Mlinko puts Graham in league with such writers as John Ashbery and Frederick Seidel as some of the few living American poets “to have advanced a worldly, Modernist model of the poem into the 21st century.”
Wole Soyinka does not approve of the push for Chinua Achebe to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize for Literature, and he doesn’t appreciate fan letters asking for his support to that end. “How did creative valuation descend to such banality?” Soyinka remarks in an interview with SaharaReporters. “Do these people know what they’re doing – they are inscribing Chinua’s epitaph in the negative mode of thwarted expectations. I find that disgusting.”
The Table 4 Writers foundation, set up in the memory of the restauranteur Elaine Kaufman, recently chose the winners of its first round of $2,000 grants for writers. The winners will be honored March 7 at the New York Athletics Club, where Gay Talese will also be recognized with a lifetime achievement award.
Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the largest Yakuza faction, has decided to start its own magazine focused on “haiku poetry, articles on the innocent pursuit of angling and entreaties to its readers to perform good works” among other things. Related: recently photographer Christopher Jue journeyed with People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry into the four-story headquarters of the Kudō-kai.