Over at The Paris Review, Max Nelson writes about prison literature, from John Clare to Christopher Smart.
There are many possible answers to the question “where do you write?”, but one of the strangest, and most unexpected, has to be “I don’t know.” At The Rumpus, Brendan Constantine admits that he doesn’t write in any one place, and that his memory for where he’s written before is “completely unreliable.” We surveyed our own staff a couple years ago to see how they answered the question.
American music lost one of its best songwriters with the passing of Jason Molina last March. Molina was known for his work with Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. As a tribute this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and as a way of spreading awareness for a May 11 concert in Molina’s memory, Band of Horses covered one of the late musician’s songs, “I’ve Been Riding With the Ghost.” (Original.)
“We editors told ourselves the naked women were merely carnival barkers: they got an audience into the tent, but we kept them with the content.” In the Guardian, Playboy‘s former fiction editor Amy Grace Loyd reveals what it was like to work at the magazine and how she commissioned work from writers like Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, and Junot Díaz. Read our review of Loyd’s debut novel, The Affairs of Others.
Our own Michael Bourne takes a look at Thomas King’s Inconvenient Indian, which struggled to find a publisher in the United States despite flying off the shelves in Canada. “The curious publication history of [the book],” Bourne writes, “serves as a window into the wide differences in the way mainstream Americans and Canadians view the Native peoples in their midst.”
“A quick scan of the literature shows that the writerly gaze has been most often turned on male artists and their creative processes and passions.” Claire V Mullins aims to redirect this gaze with a list for Electric Literature of 11 novels about female artists, including Zadie Smith‘s latest, Swing Time, which we reviewed last year. Related: Elizabeth Silver on the rise of strong female characters and the death of the literary ingénue.
Ben Lerner, whose 10:04 has been reviewed in Bookforum and the New York Times, made an appearance on The New Directions blog to recommend four books of poetry that have at one point or another graced his nightstand. (No word on how he winnows down his list of books to be stacked on said nightstand, but our own Sonya Chung can offer advice.)
“The worst days I’ve ever known could be my future under the American Health Care Act.” For Catapult, Liz Lazzara writes about her history with mental illness and what might happen if the new healthcare legislation passes the Senate. Pair with Gila Lyons in our pages about madness, medication, and the creative instinct.