“Life is weird and dumb and restrictive, but a poem can be whatever the hell you want it to be for god’s sake. Other people will always have opinions, they’re just really none of my business.” In an interview at the Lit Hub, Tommy Pico talks about poetry and his creative process.
Is “literary” fiction just a product of clever marketing? Elizabeth Edmondson thinks it is. At The Guardian, she argues that classically literary authors like Jane Austen had no idea they were writing Literature — posterity classified their work as such later on. Her essay dovetails nicely with our own Edan Lepucki’s argument that literature is a genre.
George R. R. Martin’s publisher shared an excerpt from the author’s story, “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens.” The piece serves as a “Westerosi history lesson on the Targaryen Civil War,” and covers “the Causes, Origins, Battles, and Betrayals of that Most Tragic Bloodletting Known as the Dance of the Dragons.” It will be bundled along with 20 other stories in the forthcoming Dangerous Women collection. The question remains, however: what kind of recipes does it feature?
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.
New this week is a debut collection of loosely linked stories that’s been getting some attention. Military families are the common theme in Siobhan Fallon’s You Know When the Men Are Gone. Another newly released debut is Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters about a Shakespeare scholar’s three daughters, all named after characters from the Bard’s plays. Also new this week, a tome dedicated to the “hot” condiment of the moment, The Sriracha Cookbook.
Debut short story writer Matthew Vollmer gets some love.For those left baffled by descriptions of “the Purdie shuffle” in last week’s New Yorker and New York Times, the mighty Bernard “Pretty” Purdie offers a demonstration.At the International Edible Book Festival, you can chase down your Remembrance of Things Pasta with some Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Bread (via The Book Bench)Despite (or because of?) its compassionate ecumenicalism, Sana Krasikov’s One More Year wins the Jewish Book Council’s Sami Rohr Prize.A 1979 cover letter from then-unknown Kazuo Ishiguro, re: the story “Getting Poisoned.” Bonus features: Hemingwavian brevity, grease stains.The New York Times Magazine’s editor ponders the fate of long-form journalism……while Vanity Fair questions the Times’ relentless interactivity.Stephen King, once thought to be considering retirement, has been as prolific as ever, now announcing the November publication of a 1,120-page novel, Under the Dome, about a town that has been sealed off by an invisible force field.The Complete Review turns 10!30 Poets/30 Days: a celebration of children’s poetry”Notes and Errata” on D. T. Max’s profile of David Foster Wallace “The Unfinished.” (via kottke)Kassia Krozser says “Enough With The Smell of Books, Okay?” about the olfactory argument in the ebooks debate.William Zinsser on writing On Writing Well and keeping it up-to-date for 35 years.Google poses a literary stumper.
Out this week: The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli; My Documents by Alejandro Zambra; The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; The First Wife by Erica Spindler; The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth; Sweet Nothing by Richard Lange; and The Strange Case of Rachel K by Millions 2013 Year in Reading favorite Rachel Kushner. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.