Recommended Listening: Poet Rachel Zucker has just launched Commonplace, a bi-monthly podcast featuring conversations with poets (and other people) about quotidian objects, experiences, anecdotes, advice, and obsessions.
Putting aside for a moment the racist phrenological roots of the terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” here’s an interesting conversation on what the difference between them means for literature now. For a historical take, check out this graphic from a 1949 edition of LIFE magazine, which taught me a real gentleman wears fuzzy tweed, and iceberg lettuce is never in style.
Mystery author James Patterson has written a novel called The Murder of Steven King that apparently describes the eponymous author’s death at the hands of a deranged fan. While King declined to comment on the book, he has in the past said of Patterson that the latter is “a terrible writer but he’s very successful.” And now you must read our editor-in-chief Lydia Kiesling’s essay, “Everything I Know About America I Learned from Stephen King.”
Good news for people who like good things: The Missouri Review has unveiled a Little Black Book of Fiction app. The 99¢ app is a collection of 11 stories from the likes of William Gay (a Post-40 Bloomer), Robert Olen Butler and Nanci Kincaid – and each story comes with its own audio introduction, author information, and opening photograph.
Book to movie news: Soon to hit theaters is a big-screen take on Allen Ginsburg’s Howl, focusing on the obscenity trial Ginsberg faced after the publication of the poem and starring James Franco as Ginsberg (alongside Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels). (The trailer). The film includes an animation of the poem itself by illustrator Eric Drooker. Art from the animation has been collected in a new book under the title Howl: A Graphic Novel.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the new books and culture website The Nervous Breakdown. They’ve already got a great interview with Millions favorite Dan Chaon, as well as some interesting essays that I’m looking forward to digging into. I also like their “self-interview” series–where writers ask, and answer, their own questions.