“He was a glutton for books who treated each text as a plate he was required to clean.” Author and critic William Gass died this week at 93, reports The Washington Post. The recipient of three National Book Critics Circle awards for criticism and four Pushcart prizes, Gass was awarded the PEN/Nabakov Award for lifetime achievement in 2000. See our reviews of Middle C, a novel that took Gass almost 20 years to finish, and his most recent essay collection Life Sentences, which amply demonstrated his background as “a former philosophy professor, but more appropriately a philosopher of the word and an esthete.” We were also lucky enough to have him pen a Year in Reading entry for us back in 2009: “I miss the leisure that let me read just for fun, not to critique, or pronounce, or even to put on a list, but simply to savor,” Gass lamented. Nonetheless, he continued,“I do, from time to time, pick up old friends who never disappoint but will promise me a page or two of pleasure between art and ordinary life.”
The literary archives of Gwendolyn Brooks – the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize – are headed to the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The haul amounts to more than “150 boxes stuffed with manuscripts, drafts, revisions, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, homemade chapbooks in which Brooks neatly handwrote her earliest (unpublished) poems, and heavy bronze awards ensconced in velvet-lined boxes collected later in her career.”
Pharrell Williams is suing Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am over the latter’s insistence that he owns copyright on the phrase, “I Am.” If the judge in this case is truly worth their salt, they should force both musicians to settle this matter with a no-holds-barred John Clare-esque “I Am” poem off.
Tonight! Come out and meet The Millions! Listen to readings from Emily St. John Mandel, Sonya Chung, Michael Bourne, and Garth Risk Hallberg. Also, you can meet our editors C. Max Magee and Ujala Sehgal. Or, if you’re feeling testy, you can debate me in person about my recent eReader article!