Does literature belong on the streets? Thanks to some forward-thinking initiatives like the Coffee Sleeves Conversation at Coffee House Press and the Chicago-based project “Poem While You Wait,” (in which poets stationed around the city produce original, on-demand poems for five dollars a piece) literature is finding its way to the masses.
“But we are lured into believing that the first person is the manifestation of an authentic self. Or: we fall for the first person because we feel so little coherence in our own internal lives, and immersing ourselves in a sustained first person narrative gives us the false reassurance of an illusion.”
“For years, growing up, I was obsessed with the thought; among my earliest memories is the desire, at age three or four, to run in front of an oncoming bus. Not because I wanted to see what would happen, but because I was sure I knew what would happen: I wouldn’t have to live any longer. I suspect there may be a suicide gene.” Clancy Martin tackles a perennially touchy subject.
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.
Elena Ferrante’s introduction to the Folio edition of Sense and Sensibility is available at The Guardian. She describes the experience of reading Jane Austen as a girl. “At the time, I was enthralled by the great male adventure novels, with their stories that ranged all over the world, and I wanted to write such books myself: I couldn’t resign myself to the idea that women’s novels were domestic tales of love and marriage. I was past 20 when I returned to Austen. And from that moment not only did I love everything she had written but I was passionate about her anonymity.”
New this week: Craig Thompson’s long-awated follow up to Blankets is here. Stay tuned for our review of Habibi later this week. Also new: Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in Tower, Joe McGinniss’s much leaked exposé The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, and a new, posthumous collection of Shel Silverstein’s poetry and drawings, Every Thing On It.
You’ve likely heard that artists these days are in trouble. The probability that your average creative person will make a living from their art is getting smaller by the day. But amidst all this hand-wringing, we forget one simple fact — it’s always been getting worse, and there’s always been something killing culture. At Slate, Evan Kindley writes about Scott Timberg’s new book Culture Crash, asking whether the Internet is really the dread force it’s often made out to be.