In her debut memoir, The Yellow House (which was recently nominated for a National Book Award), Sarah M. Broom writes vividly of her childhood in New Orleans East and charts the city’s drastic changes over the decades. She discusses her connection to her childhood home with Greg Mania in Paper Magazine. “I’m deeply connected to place,” Broom says. “This is an inheritance, I think, an intuitive way for me to be. But also, the yellow house was the place my mother owned, where my mother, Ivory Mae, raised her family. It was a place she made. I knew it was my story to tell the moment I left it. This book, as I see it, is only the beginning of that story.”
Today, stuff yourself on envy and/or nostalgia for the NYC literary life. First, whet your appetite on the New Yorker’s gorgeous illustrations of notable bookstores, including one “the size of a luxurious Park Avenue closet.” Continue to a responsible main course essay on Choire Sicha, The Awl, and the Brooklyn loft building where it was founded and resides: a place that is “pleasant” but “a little dumpy, too, because that’s sort of our MO.” For dessert, savor Erin Loeb’s personal essay on leaving New York, and finish with a fittingly varied cheese course of other writers also saying goodbye.
Winter’s Bone author Daniel Woodrell has a new book out, and to mark the occasion, he talks with Dwyer Murphy of Guernica about his upcoming book tour, Southern poverty and the rejections Winter’s Bone received. Sample quote: “When my family started doing better and my parents encouraged my brothers and me to succeed beyond them, we started asking why our parents were telling us to strive so hard to live in these neighborhoods full of people they clearly resented—and feared too, I think.”
“Good political poems, outlive the events that shape them… they lead strange lives.” One such poem, written after a pogrom 100 years ago, has since been translated by Palestinian resistance leaders, and more recently claimed as “Israeli” by PM Netanyahu. Some of the most notable works of the genre have been collected by Poetry. New projects in political poetry I’m excited about: online journal Matter Monthly, and Rattle’s Sunday column for a political poem addressing events of that week.
Last week, I pointed readers to a Page-Turner essay by Amy Bloom, whose new novel, Lucky Us, came out on Tuesday. Now, as part of the By the Book series in the Times, she talks about her summertime reads, her first picture book and who she’d invite to a literary dinner party. (FYI, we’ve written about the series before.)
Francine Prose has an idiosyncratic theory that the Hindu god Ganesh is a vital part of her writing process. In a VQR essay, she explains that her portrait of the deity (which she purchased forty years ago at a bazaar in Mumbai) gives her a kind of confidence that goes beyond superstition. As support for this belief, she points out that Ganesh is known in some quarters as “the writer’s god.”