“I grew up hearing my father digging into words for images that will stretch the limits of life for my siblings and me. In my father’s mouth, bitter, rigid words become sweet and elastic like taffy candy. His poetry shields us from the poverty of our lives.” Kao Kalia Yang for The Literary Hub on learning to understand her blue-collar father as a legitimate literary force.
We've got some great stuff in the pipeline at The Millions, starting with a lierary magazine roundtable (part one of which will be up shortly), but before we get to that a couple of quick links:This week at the LBC we're discussing our winter 2007 Read This! selection, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugl wa Thiong'o. A roundtable discussion kicks off a week that will include a contest, an interview, a podcast, and more.Speaking of the LBC, a past selection, and one of my favorites from among the books we've read, Firmin by Sam Savage, has been named a finalist for the Barnes & Noble 2006 Discover Great New Writers Awards. That little rat just keeps on trucking along.And finally, Robert Birnbaum sits down with Richard Ford (again) for another great interview. Thanks to Millions contributor Noah, we had some great coverage of Ford's most recent book, The Lay of the Land, in November, including a review, a reader question, and a (very brief) interview..
William Blake may have described its "green and pleasant land" but this week England had traded green for white, as you can see in this NASA photograph (c/o Gizmodo).
Jack Gilbert died yesterday at the age of 87. Gilbert was the author of five standalone poetry collections—as well as additional collected volumes such as last March’s Collected Poems—and he was also a past winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. For The LA Times, John Penner reviews the poet’s legacy. Or, perhaps as fitting tribute to Gilbert’s life and work, better to hear his own final lines to the poem “Failing and Flying”: “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, / but just coming to the end of his triumph.”
"Why is love rich beyond all other possible human experiences and a sweet burden to those seized in its grasp? Because we become what we love and yet remain ourselves.” The remarkable love letters of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger are both touching and predictably philosophical. Here's a jarring, surreal reimagining of three works of Arendt's over at 3:AM Magazine.
Fans of Moby-Dick should read Nathaniel Philbrick's outstanding historical account In the Heart of the Sea. The book, which tracks the fate of The Essex, a New England whaling vessel sunk by a humongous sperm whale in the South Pacific, is vivid and harrowing. It's also, as it turns out, only one of the naval catastrophes to befall George Pollard, Jr., The Essex's captain: a second wreck of his was recently located off the coast of Hawaii.