Recommended Reading: On Herman Melville and his reputation for “being sexually dangerous, and even depraved.”
Though no big name today, early 20th-century poet Florence Ripley Mastin published prolifically in her lifetime – a dozen times in Poetry, more than 90 in the New York Times. Poetry’s Ruth Graham argues that the successes of Mastin, an untrained amateur, say more about her times than her talent. These days, amateur poets today benefit from refrigerator poetry sets, numerous poetry apps and sites, and the infinite community of the internet, but the Times has long excised poetry from its pages. In the archives, Patrick Wensink meets and analyzes those who doggedly pursue poetry these faded days.
“An easel stood just inside the big glass doorway when I entered the store. On it leaned my author photo, the one from the back cover of Domestic Violets, and it was fucking enormous. It was the size of a photo you’d expect to see if Bono had been appearing at Barnes & Noble, Bill Clinton maybe, or perhaps the Reverend Desmund Tutu. For a full 30 seconds I stood there and looked at the gigantic, painstakingly airbrushed picture of myself. An elderly couple walked in and did a double take when they saw a stunned-looking me looking at me. ‘It’s too big,’ I told them.” This is what you do when no one shows up to your reading.
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Out this week: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman; There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter; Bon Appétempt by Amelia Morris; The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah; The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson; The Marauders by Tom Cooper; We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler; A History of Loneliness by John Boyne; Holy Cow by The X-Files star David Duchovny; and Get in Trouble by Kelly Link. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.