“I couldn’t tell if a poem I was writing would come to anything or not until the last line was there. That’s always been my method. I may have revised less than some other poets, but I think I write as much crap as anyone.” Kaveh Akbar interviews Sharon Olds about inspiration, contemporary poetry, and rejection letters for Divedapper. Pair with this Millions piece, featuring seven editors looking back on their rejection styles.
Last week, I mentioned Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes, which caused a stir in Germany with its tale of a time-hopping Hitler. Now, Daniel Torday reviews the book for the Times, judging it both for its historical research and its merits as a work of fiction. Sample quote: “The German public’s acceptance of the artist they think they’re watching provides a critique of pop culture. But it feels like bringing the Luftwaffe to a knife fight.”
I’ve noted before how William Carlos Williams’s famous poem, “This Is Just to Say,” has become an internet meme, but I haven’t noted the ongoing and delightfully random “Just to Say” Twitter bot. And also, I haven’t before linked to Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s riff on Williams’s rhythms.
“If Do-It-Yourself culture continues to gain appeal as fast as climate change lays on the chaos, we will need to look to the hinterlands for both practical guidance and hints about the fashions of the future. I recently watched Werner Herzog’s 2010 documentary (directed in collaboration with Dmitry Vasyukov) Happy People, which follows a few Siberian fur trappers over the course of a year, and let me tell you: when Celsius and Fahrenheit converge, Gennady of Bakhtia does not waste his time tossing boiling water into the air just to see what happens.” On surviving the next polar vortex.
“But every time I sat down in my desk, my heart raced. I forgot the words, my sentences sounded wordy, unnecessary, ugly.” Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato writes about anxiety and writer’s block for Ploughshares. Pair with her Staff Pick for The Millions, Juan Goytisolo’s Count Julian.
If you're going to accidentally leave almost two dozen unprocessed photo negatives out for 100 years, there's no better place to store them than a block of ice in Antarctica. Conservationists restoring an Antarctic exploration hut found the negatives left from Robert Falcon Scott's fatal 1910-13 Terre Nova Expedition to the South Pole. For a less harrowing tale of Arctic exploration, check out our review of Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette?