“Proulx’s deep reverence for the beauty and complexities of rural America has introduced millions of readers to the wide breadth of American life. Her commitment to crafting compassionate, honest stories has left an indelible mark on literature and created a powerful and enduring legacy.” Annie Proulx nabs the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. Check out her Year-in-Reading entry from this past year here.
“I take to heart Percival Everett’s point that all writing begins as experiment. Experiments are hypo/theses; wagers; fermentations or useless admixtures; mud pies and blood pies.” Miranda Mellis talks with HTMLGiant’s Christopher Higgs in the next installment of Higgs's essential “What Is Experimental Literature?” interview series. It’s worth perusing the the back catalog if you missed the first three, with the fabulous Debra Di Blasi, Danielle Dutton, and Bhanu Kapil.
In a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Jonathan Farmer responds to the recent pieces in the New York Times that ask poets to debate the question "does poetry matter?" As Farmer points out, " it's a bit like asking a bunch of religious figures if religion matters," but the conversation is worth following and pairs well with our own recent pieces on poetry's power and popularity.
The Morning News has just launched a series on contemporary Russian literature. For this week's installment Anna Starobinets provides an exerpt of her debut manuscript, An Awkward Age, and chats about her writing with Elizabeth Kiem. In the New Yorker, Sally McGrane profiles Boris Akunin, Russian writer of potboilers and political dissident.
Samantha Chang, the director of Iowa’s Writing Workshop, weighed in on the Girls storyline in which Lena Dunham’s character gets accepted into the school’s MFA program. “It’s very possible that she could have gotten in,” Chang says of Hannah Horvath, Dunham’s character. Meanwhile, University of Iowa officials have apparently denied the HBO show’s request to film on-campus for its next season.
Half-meme, half-myth, 'Slender Man' came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet 'evidence'. As one Something Awful blogger put it, "Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?" Very meta--and very scary, all over again.