It looks like it’s a poetry kind of morning. Spring is on its way, and what better way to celebrate than with Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Sun’s Shame,” a poem of death and desire … and also sunshine: “All soulless now, yet merry with the Spring!”
In the Boston Review, Jess Row wades – slowly, interestingly, not always coherently – into the perpetually roiling waters of Theory of the Novel, taking on the canon wars, realism vs. the avant-garde, etc. Is it really “a safe bet that your average well-informed critic today has never read a single work of criticism by a writer of color?” Probably not, even granting Row’s exception. But possibly worth arguing about. If you like that sort of thing.
At the Paris Review Daily, Nick Antosca reminisces on reading Lolita at 12: “Who among my seventh-grade classmates, I wondered with a frisson, was such a creature? What girl had that ‘soul-shattering, insidious charm’ that, while invisible to me, made the antennae of certain adult males tremble?”
Jim Harrison, outdoorsman and author of Legends of the Fall, has passed away at 78. Harrison was a prolific writer whose lust for life was evident in the scores of essay and poetry collections he published during the course of his career. Our own Bill Morris has some thoughts on why Harrison never managed to garner the audience that a writer of his caliber deserved.
Tired of reading Mark O’Connell’s articles in silence? Check out his two pieces in The Racket, the first of which features attached audio from the author himself, and the second features an embedded video with Sam Bungey, the publication’s editor. Consider Mark’s reading Exhibit B in the case for Irish Accents Improving Everything, which I brought forth last week.
“There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world…Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well.” A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.