Recommended Reading: This essay by Eiren Caffall at The Rumpus on the Dead Dads Club and losing a loved one.
True James Joyce fans don't need to be reminded that today, June 16th, is the 110th Bloomsday--the day of Leopold Bloom's fictional wanderings-about-Dublin commemorated in the 732 pages of Ulysses. Though the most traditional way to celebrate Bloomsday may be to follow in his literal footsteps with your own tour of the city, as the Paris Review explains, there's more than one way to prove your love for Joyce even if you never read his book.
While working with Australia’s Lajamanu Aboriginal population in remote sections of the Tanami Desert, linguist Carmel O’Shannessy identified “a [new] language system, independent of … other languages” spoken by about 300 people. Since her initial discovery in the late 1990s, O’Shannessy has studied the language and its grammatical structure, and now her findings have been published this month in the journal Language (PDF).
The L Magazine features an interview with poet/multi-genre artist Claudia Rankine, whose performance piece The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue -- a Rankine-written-and-recorded narrative that accompanies a bus ride through the South Bronx -- will run for two months beginning Labor Day Weekend.
"The clash of genre values is fundamental to the novelistic experience. That’s how we ought to be thinking about our books. Instead of asking whether a comic book could be “as valuable” as King Lear, we ought to ask how the values of tragedy and romance might collide." Joshua Rothman writes about the coming "collapse of the genre system" and our own Emily St. John Mandel's National Book Award short-listed Station Eleven for The New Yorker.
Let the Great World Spin author (and one of today's YiR2011 writers!) Colum McCann had some inspiring words for this year's crop of Boston College freshmen. "There’s a degraded discourse around the notion of optimism these days that says there is something soft about being an optimist—something wrong," he said. "It claims that optimism has no edge, as if it’s less than complete, less than the full deck of knowledge. The optimist is cartooned into the corner with an idiotic grin. I submit to you that none of that is true."
In the early days of sportswriting, journalists weren’t necessarily focused on soccer, football or even baseball. In the forties, boxing and horse racing were still important beats, and they gave W.C. Heinz the opportunity to build his legacy. In the Times, a review of The Top of His Game, a new collection of the reporter’s sportswriting. You could also read Sebastian Stockman on the problem with sportswriting as a genre.