“To be able to sing under that kind of oppression I think, in a lot of ways, is the very essence of survival, of a people, of the ability to have to the hope to make something beautiful amongst so much wretchedness.” Tyehimba Jess, author of the fantastic new collection of poetry Olio, is interviewed over at The Literary Hub.
Recommended Reading: This piece by Elisa Gabbert at Guernica Magazine in which she questions whether certain ideas can survive new shifts in language. It’s too bad she didn’t write it in emoji.
The New York Times is broadening its book coverage by adding more staffers and launching three new features: a literary advice column, a weekly Q&A about writing processes, and a column looking at “contemporary issues through the lens of recent and historical books.”
Out this week: Five-Carat Soul by James McBride; Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott; Brother by David Chariandy; The Second Sister by Claire Kendal; and Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Paul Muldoon raised this season’s commencement bar with his address to Bennington College’s Writing Seminar graduates. At The Russian Samovar a few months ago, before reading from Maggot, he explained the phrase “cock a snook.”
In TNR, Ruth Franklin attempts to debunk the “strangely antiquated definition of American writing” posited in Dalkey’s Best European Fiction anthology. (via)