“He taught me that poetry can be anything and with that comes great freedom.” Reminiscences by a former student of the poet John Ashbery upon his death. And for a contemporary take on the question of just what, exactly, poetry is and/or might be, see our recent conversation between Jill Bialosky and Matthew Zapruder.
“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.
Out this week: I Am Radar by Reif Larsen; Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid; Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika; Wonderkid by Wesley Stace; and Lucky Alan, a new story collection by Jonathan Lethem. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
The New York Times is reporting that Maurice Sendak has died at 83. In part because I shared a name with its main character, Where the Wild Things Are was a beloved book of mine. Sendak’s last book Bumble-Ardy, full of chaotic drawings of mischievous pigs, is a favorite of 19-month-old son’s. May Sendak’s bountiful imagination and heart live on for many generations in his books.
“I like a lot of things about being a woman, but there are times and ways it’s a prison, and sometimes I daydream about being out of that prison.” The Guardian has a crack Rebecca Solnit essay about clothing, gender, and of course, mansplaining. Pair with our review of Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby.
At the Poetry Foundation’s website, Ruth Graham tackles a strangely ubiquitous question: how does a couple go about choosing a wedding poem? (For context, it helps to keep the following quote in mind: “the aesthetics of [a personal] wedding, at least for couples of a certain age and posture, are practically set in stone: indie pop music, mason jars, white Christmas lights, wildflowers.”)