New York Magazine has an excerpt up from Zora Neale Hurston‘s long-lost manuscript, Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo, the first-person account of Cudjo Lewis, the only living survivor of the final slave ship to land in America. Barracoon will finally, 87 years later, be published next week.
The Poetry Archive: “The Poetry Archive is the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work. You can enjoy listening here, free of charge, to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past.”A few days ago the New York Times released its usual 100 book “Notable” list, but now we get the really good stuff: the Times top ten of the year. The big surprise: an appearance by Curtis Sittenfeld’s “calm and memorably incisive first novel,” Prep.Scott and Ed and others have already noted this, but I just got around to reading it: the NYRB piece on our latest National Book Award winner, William T. Vollmann.Also noted by many litblogs, the ever-multitasking Bud has launched a sleek litblog network/aggregator/community: MetaxuCafe. Very cool.
Francis Spufford’s fictionalized book Red Plenty looks to the 1950s-1960s “cybernetics” initiative to answer one of the main questions about the USSR: “Could the Soviet project to build communism have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure from the start?” In his review for The Hoover Institution, Marshall Poe contends the latter.
“[H]e is a true, unrepentant nerd, who has only ever been looking for his people.” Buzzfeed‘s Doree Shafrir talks with Michael Chabon (and his wife, the writer Ayelet Waldman) about being a good literary citizen, his life in letters, and his new “fictional memoir” Moonglow.
In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff. I was reading poetry. How did Auden do his stanza forms? And I was trying to copy those. What’s a successful poem, what’s an unsuccessful poem? […] What’s a good sentence? I don’t think I’ve changed. I am as sincerely interested in novels that fail as I am in novels that succeed. I just want to work them out. It’s a pleasure for me actually.” Top it off with Jonathan Russell Clark’s essay on Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life.