We’ve thought a lot about Leonard Cohen over the years. We’re perhaps, uh, not the only ones. Recently, Cohen’s love letters to Marianne Ihlen sold for a whopping $876,000. While Ihlen and Cohen’s love is recorded in songs like “So Long, Marianne,” these letters appear to preserve something more quotidian: the writing and publication of Cohen’s novels. Referring to his debut, The Favorite Game, Cohen wrote that the literary critics have “all screamed about the wild undisciplined dirty book, so it’s selling quite well.”
I’ve long thought that New Orleans is the greatest city in America and that it’s nigh impossible to make it much better. That was before Tulane University announced that Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped author Jesmyn Ward will be joining their faculty. Let it be thus known: on July 1, 2014, New Orleans will get even better than I could’ve imagined.
Beauty is in the eye of the writer. Adelle Waldman discusses why many novelists fail to address female beauty in a meaningful and nuanced way. “Women are not only subject to a constant and exhausting and sometimes humiliating scrutiny—they are also belittled for caring about their beauty, mocked for seeking to enhance or to hold onto their good looks, while men are just, well, being men.”
Denmark has a new superstar, and he’s a poet named Yahya Hassan. At 18, Hassan has published a poetry collection that sold 100,000 copies in three months — a figure that, in Denmark, translates to one copy for every fifty residents. At the LARB, Pedja Jurisic delves into the young poet’s incendiary politics.
Read here, in the University of Washington’s alumni magazine, about how Marilynne Robinson approaches a book’s essence as “an elaborate needlepoint of decisions and observations”; how novels visit upon her as surprises; and how her recent move to New York might spawn yet another gift to readers.