“The last line of Saul Bellow’s ‘A Single Dish’ is nothing like poetry. I can’t tell you what any single one of those words means. Imagine you’re a lexicographer and you have to define the word that, or how. And on top of this, there’s none of Bellow’s typical play with rhythm and language—it’s almost a non-sentence. And yet, when I get to it in the story, I weep.” Ethan Canin at The Atlantic on how Saul Bellow packs so much emotion into a single sentence. Here are a couple Bellow-related Millions links for your perusing pleasure.
Last year, Millions staffer Bill Morris reported on a group of Elaine’s regulars seeking “ways to repay Elaine [Kaufman] for all the encouragement she gave to writers and other creative people” at her restaurant. What emerged was The Table 4 Writers Foundation, and this year the group is ready to award its latest batch of $2,500 grants to promising writers. The application deadline is October 20.
Sergeant Ed Drew’s tintypes of the war in Afghanistan are the first tintypes made in a combat zone since The Civil War. Drew made them for his son. “I wanted him to know his father in the event that I was killed in action and it became less important that my work was done in tintype than that I could show the humanity of war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with,” he said.
When asked about his tenure as a professor of creative writing, Harry Crews used to say, “I may be at the university, but I damn sure ain’t of the university.” But in talking to his former students, Crews’s biographer, Ted Geltner, found that in spite of the writer’s efforts to distance himself from academia, he really was a passionate, memorable teacher. (Bonus: Yours truly named one Crews work his “most representative” Florida book.)