Writer and illustrator Allyson Hoffman reflects on how chronic illness impacts daily life and memory.
“It is a sad irony that the snake’s rattle, which functions as a warning device, is widely regarded as a bellicose drumroll, or war-cry, instead. It may well have been in a mood of remorse for having killed a rattlesnake on impulse that [William] Bartram, vowing solemnly that he ‘would never again be accessory to the death of a rattle snake,’ painted his marvelous portrait of a coiled rattler.” Christopher Benfey on Rattlesnake Island, a sanctuary set up to protect the woodland serpents from their greatest danger — us.
“Every year, as Halloween draws near, I get to thinking about what makes books scary,” writes Ben Dooley in his introduction to Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. It’s a book that “’gets’ existential horror,” Dooley claims. Intrigued? Well be sure to check out not only his review of the book, but also our interview with its author.
Recommended reading: Harpers on the making and persistence of literary canons in a relativist age.
Hollywood Notebook by Wendy Ortiz is both a book of poetry and a memoir. Composed of several prose poems, the book depicts her evolution into a poet in her early thirties, following up where her previous memoir Excavation left off. At The Rumpus, Lesley Heiser analyses the book, with references to Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf.
Recommended Listening: Part One of Jhumpa Lahiri’s conversation with Paul Holdengraber at Lit Hub. “You know, tell me about something I don’t know. Tell me about a musician I’ve never heard of. Tell me about a poet I should be reading. Tell me something about the world, a situation that someone can explain to me in more detail.”