“The demagogic spirit of the ‘radio priest’ Father Charles Coughlin and the ‘minister of hate’ Gerald L.K. Smith has been reborn in the candidacy of Donald Trump, just as the exhortations of the Louisiana boss and rabble-rouser Huey Long, who declared war on ‘the superrich’ and proposed a ‘Share Our Wealth Society,’ all but predicted Bernie Sanders’s attack on ‘the billionaire class.'” Examining what political books can tell us about the election season with Sam Tanenhaus at The New York Times.
“Make no mistake: if you run a prize, a “best of” list, a residency, with age guidelines you can’t fully justify then, however otherwise diverse your awardees, you and your organisation are consolidating racism, sexism, class and gender discrimination.” Joanna Walsh for The Guardian arguing that, by focusing on youth, literary awards and honors tend to reward “those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence.” See also our Post-40 Bloomers series, including interviews most recently with Lidia Yuknavitch and Cole Lavalais.
In addition to the fact Amazon reviewers and experts agree “in aggregate about the quality of a book,” non-professional reviews on Amazon tend to be “more eclectic,” “more supportive of debut authors,” and less biased in favor of authors with whom they associate than media experts.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.