Out this week: Dead Girls by Alice Bolin; The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar; Remind Me Again What Happened by Joanna Luloff; The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz; and The Unpunished Vice by Edmund White.
Willard Spiegelman’s provocative essay in the VQR’s recent State of American Poetry issue, “Has Poetry Changed?” incited quite a few responses. One of the better rejoinders came from William Childress, whose response, “Is Free Verse Killing Poetry,” raises some excellent points. “Poetry needs readers, not writers,” writes Childress. “But how many poets read any poetry but their own?”
Leslie Jamison, whose collection Empathy Exams was widely praised on The Millions, has earned a two-book “mega” deal with Little, Brown. The new deal promises to deliver another essay collection entitled Ghost Essays, as well as a work of “narrative nonfiction” entitled Archive Lush. (Bonus: We interviewed Jamison for the site last May.)
The release date for Thomas Pynchon’s new novel is three weeks away, and to mark the occasion, Boris Kachka runs through a quick biography of the perpetually mysterious author. Among other things, Kachka points out that Pynchon resides in a fairly odd neighborhood for a recluse to choose to live in — the Upper West Side. (Previously: “Thomas Pynchon to Publish New Novel” and “New Thomas Pynchon Teaser.”)
As part of a collaboration with several international magazines, Full-Stop is publishing Babelsprech International, a series of articles on poetry around the world. In the latest edition, Karel Piorecký writes about contemporary Czech poetry, drawing a line between the pre- and post-Communist periods. Related: John Yargo on the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal.
“Mom would meet up with us in the museum, take us to study Impressionist or Modern art. It always made me want to puke, but we did it every weekend for over a year.” Smithsonian Magazine has a lovely piece about the story behind the children’s classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, including lots of anecdotes from author E.L. Konigsburg‘s kids.