“This doesn’t really tell you what he was like. I say what we did together, that he helped me, what I think he liked. I don’t know how to say what he was like. I loved him.” For The Los Angeles Review of Books, an interview with Lynne Tillman on her relationship with art historian, critic, and theorist Craig Owens, who died 29 years ago at the age of 39. Tillman discusses Owens’s idea of writing “alongside,” not “about,” art, adding, “I don’t expect answers from art. It doesn’t speak as people or other animals do…I’m speaking and looking ‘at’ or ‘to’ an artwork; I am not explaining it, not talking ‘about’ it, but addressing myself ‘to’ it.”
“Like walkie-talkies that require a button be pressed to speak and released to hear, does reading require that either the voice of the author or the voice of the reader’s consciousness be silenced at any given moment? Such an analogy suggests that reading is an act of hospitality toward another’s mind, in which we silence our voice in courtesy to the voice of another’s consciousness, a voice that alternates with our own in conversation.” John Biguenet on silent reading.
Got a smartphone? Check out the new Sonnets by William Shakespeare app to receive 154 poems, scholarly annotations and criticism, as well as special sonnet performances from such notables as Sir Patrick Stewart. Revisiting The Bard of Avon’s verse will prove so pleasurable; you’ll probably forget altogether that he was a self-plagiarist way before Jonah Lehrer.
It’s the kind of niggling question that drives a writer mad: is it best to edit a piece after you finish a draft, or is it better to edit while you write? At Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel argues for the latter, on the grounds that it lets writers fix endemic problems before it’s too late. You could also read Lincoln’s 2010 Millions review of the movie Avatar.
Sylvia Plath’s final days have long been a source of fascination and horror for many readers. In a forthcoming unauthorized biography of Plath’s husband Ted Hughes, it is claimed that one of Hughes’s more contentious poems, “Last Letter,” was written after an argument the couple had the night before Plath took her own life. Ted Hughes: An Unauthorized Life is out next week.