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.”
Sasha Dugdale believes that Ted Hughes’s greatest contribution to the world of poetry remains Modern Poetry in Translation, the magazine which got its start thanks to an off-hand suggestion by Hughes at a cocktail party in the mid-sixties. Here’s our review of Jonathan Bate’s recent take on the poet, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorized Life.
After reading through two new biographies of Sylvia Plath — American Isis and Mad Girl’s Love Song — Terry Castle concludes that “nothing about her life or legacy seems wholesome or resolved.” (Related: our own Hannah Gersen talking with Pain, Parties, Work author Elizabeth Winder.)
Mary Ruefle, author of the forthcoming Madness, Rack, and Honey, wrote a poetic essay on the subject of fear. It’s chock full of lines like this one about why she likes the word dread more than the word fear: “because fear, like the unconscious emotion which is one of its forms, has only the word ear inside of it, telling an animal to listen, while dread has the word read inside of it, telling us to read carefully and find the dead, who are also there.”
A writer in her own right, Sybille Lacan reflects on her experience as the daughter of famous psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. She writes, “Father, for our birthdays, would give us superb gifts (I believe it took me far too long to understand it was not he who had picked them out).”
As you might expect, the literature of England is characterized by a fair amount of rain, but what’s interesting is that the Victorian era had the rainiest literature of all. In The Guardian, a look into the history of downpours and drizzles in English narratives. (via Arts and Letters Daily)