“War happens when words no longer work. Yet war is declared at the very point when words are at their most powerful. It’s an odd kind of paradox. In a time of war, the familiar words of your own language can become even more significant, as language is linked to the idea of home.” At JSTOR Daily, linguist Chi Luu looks at trauma and language loss.
This month, Boost House is publishing what the New Yorker describes as “the first English-language paperbound anthology of Alt Lit and its siblings weird Twitter … and Flarf.” The collection – The YOLO Pages – features work by Steve Roggenbuck, Tao Lin, Patricia Lockwood, and (of course) @Horse_ebooks among others. But far from being a compendium of “vomit jokes and image macros of cats,” writes Kenneth Goldsmith, the book also contains poems “that obliquely grapple with bigger issues of morality, politics, feminism, capitalism, and the environment.”
Anwen Crawford reflects on newly published letters from Sylvia Plath; “The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to ‘fully narrate her own autobiography,’ as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t. Plath turned her common sorrows—dead father, mental illness, cheating husband—into something like an origin story for pain itself, as if her own pain preceded the world.” In the New Yorker
The new issue of The Enemy is out, and it’s got some goodies which may be of interest to Millions readers. Among them are two new poems by Ruth Ellen Kocher, who won the 2014 PEN Open Book prize; an appraisal of the value of bad art by sociologist Alison Gerber; and a reassessment of the MFA by Beckett Flannery.
New this week is Marilynne Robinson’s collection of essays When I Was a Child I Read Books. Also out are Arcadia by Lauren Groff, The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits, and The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin. Finally, the collected writings of the late and beloved critic John Leonard, Reading for My Life, is now out.