“On my manhood rests a tattooed / portrait of Mr. President. / My beloved found that out after we wed. / She was utterly gutted, / Inconsolable.” Poet Maung Saungkha may have to prove in a Myanmar courtroom that he doesn’t have a tattoo of the nation’s president on his genitals.
“Home is the place where there is someone who does not wish you any pain.” Stop what you’re doing and go read this interview with Darryl Pinckney, author of Black Deutschland, over at The Rumpus. Here’s a great Millions essay on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, which serves as a sort of (misguided) guide map for the protagonist of Black Deutschland.
Test your knowledge of famous settings and / or fantasize about living in a “secluded picturesque manor with history” or a “palatial long island home” perfect for parties: “Classic Houses in Literature Go on the Imaginary Real Estate Market – a Quiz.”
Last week, we discussed how Teju Cole has mastered literary Twitter, and that was before we knew that he tweeted a 4,000-word essay on immigration. “A Piece of the Wall” is composed of 250 tweets written during a seven-hour period and starts with: “I hear the sound of faint bells in the distance. It is like a sound in a dream, or the jingling at the beginning of a Christmas song.”
“Since I often biked to my therapist’s, he took note of my helmet and asked how my new exercise regimen was going. It’s going great! I said. I love it! I wish I’d known earlier that I ought to bike. Now I hated going underground. It was like the death instinct to go underground, into the subway. I never realized I hated it so utterly until I didn’t have to do it anymore.” On riding a bike in New York.
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.
“Tom Stoppard isn’t shy about tackling literary giants. The British playwright has rewritten Hamlet for the stage and recently turned Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina into a Hollywood feature. But he struggled with a television adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s sprawling modernist masterpiece Parade’s End.”