“What a horrible silent noisy people they are … My feeling toward those mice is flat-out fear. It has to do with the unexpected, unbidden, unavoidable, virtually silent, persistent, ulteriorly motivated appearance of these animals.” It looks like Franz Kafka really didn’t like mice. Reiner Stach, author of the definitive two-part biography of Kafka (The Decisive Years and The Years of Insight) has released a new book of Kafka ephemera called Is That Kafka? 99 Finds full of fascinating facts that never found a place in the biographies at large. This Millions review of Stach’s biographies might also suit your Kafka fancy.
As part of their 80th anniversary celebration, the Academy of American Poets recently revamped their website. The updated website now boasts such features as “geographically relevant information (such as local poetry events),” “interviews with renowned poets,” and “free lesson plans tailored for K-12 teachers.” Go take a look for yourself. I recommend starting with Sally Van Doren’s poem, “Thief.”
“Maybe the optimists are right; maybe poetry does help you live your life. And maybe they are more right than they know, and it rounds you out for death.” Andrew O’Hagan writes for The Guardian about falling in love with poetry and coming to see the poet as “a risk-taker, a miracle-maker, a moral panjandrum and a convict of the senses.”
“He is for the most part interested in documenting the sources of our unusual suffering, those initial shocks that brought about the trauma in the first place. Nothing ‘languishes listlessly’ in his music; all those slowly orbiting fragments are drawn back together in furious rotation, sucked inexorably in, towards a volatile core. The mood never stabilizes; madness reigns supreme.” This piece by Tom Regel at The Rumpus on realism in the work of DJ/Producer Flying Lotus is both thorough and convincing.
“Of all the work produced from this region no one observer gets the place or the people completely right,” Rob Amberg writes about his 40 years spent photographing Appalachia. His photo essay “Up the Creek” is part of The Oxford American’s “Portraying Appalachia” Symposium.