In her new poetry collection, Oculus, Sally Wen Mao explores various subjects from Anna May Wong to Wong Kar-wai to personhood to objecthood. Anne A. Cheng interviews Mao for Bomb Magazine, and they discuss how these topics merge in her confessional poems. Sally Wen Mao discusses art’s role in redeeming history and reimagining “lost moments, the feelings never expressed, the secrets never surfaced,” Mao writes. “I think that it’s possible for art to reckon with and mourn this loss even as it imagines or recovers what has been lost. I think it’s possible to simultaneously arrive at both.”
Rebecca Schuman argues in an essay for Slate that extraordinarily long course syllabi are killing the college classroom. If it’s academic homicide you’re after, you might also want to check out Cathy Day’s piece for The Millions in which she suggests that academia might just be killing the novel, too.
“[P]ublishing is a behemoth that is trudging along slowly in the direction of progress. But it still has a long way to go.” GQ editor and Year-in-Reading alum Kevin Nguyen gets the interview treatment from Poets & Writers (and gives a few shout-outs to us while he’s at it!). Among the books he’s read in the last year that stood out: “White Tears by Hari Kunzru by a mile.”
Kevin Barry has won the lucrative €100,000 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his first novel City of Bohane, capably reviewed in these pages over a year ago by Bill Morris (whose drawing of Barry illustrates the piece). You can also relive this year’s massive longlist and quirky shortlist.
The work of Elvio Gandolfo, whose novel Cada vez más cerca (“Each Time Closer”) won Argentina’s equivalent of the Pulitzer in 2013, is rarely published in English. So it’s a special treat to find his magical story about a whale falling out of the sky, newly translated for the anthology A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, available free at Ninth Letter.