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!”
TNR's Ruth Franklin test-drives a new online dating service that "purports to match people based on their taste in literature." Spoiler alert: Sebald lovers appear to be out of luck.
Amazon has partnered with the Wylie Agency to acquire exclusive ebook rights to 20th century classics by the likes of Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Louise Erdrich, John Cheever, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Orhan Pamuk, V.S. Naipaul, Martin Amis, and Jorge Luis Borges. The venture is called Odyssey Editions. These books will be available in ebook form exclusively on the Kindle for the next two years.
The Ripped Bodice (the only bookstore in the United States dedicated solely to romance books) released a report looking at the state of diversity in 2016 romance novels. Last year there were only 7.8 published romance novels by writers of color for every 100 books from 20 major romance publishing companies. "Of particular concern is the suggestion, as revealed by the study, that publishers are not reflecting their readership base with any kind of parity. According to Pew Research, black women with college degrees are more likely to read a book than any other group. Since romance readers are approximately 84 percent female, this suggests there is a large swath of the population who don’t see themselves represented in authors or protagonists." Entertainment Weekly highlights some major takeaways from the survey, read the rest of the appalling stats and then go support romance writers of color.
Poet turned playwright Sarah Ruhl's latest stage production, Dear Elizabeth, is based on the correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. She recently spoke to Ruth Graham about her inspiration, and whether other writers' letters could be adapted for the stage as well. (As an aside: you really should read The Clean House if you haven't already.)
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries... reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)