At Poets & Writers, Rachel Eliza Griffiths describes the challenges she faced writing her new book of poetry, Seeing the Body, which follows her as she mourns the death of her mother. “The uneven rhythms of grief don’t allow you to do or to feel life as you did before,” Griffiths says. “Even the writer you were before is altered. It’s unquantifiable. Losing my mother forced me into the most difficult transformation of my life. Each poem drew me further into something I didn’t want to accept, which was that my mother was dead. Slowly, I understood that I also needed to put a lot of things in my life that frightened me to rest so that I could hear my own voice.”
Fans of Mary Karr‘s The Liar’s Club and Cherry: At the New York Times Book Review, Susan Cheever describes Karr’s latest memoir, Lit, as “the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years.”
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“What knits together the families of Roth’s Newark are adults—some foreign-born but many the children of immigrants—who either experienced the insecurity and deprivation of the Old World themselves or heard stories about it from their own parents. What they want most is to find stability in a neighborhood, in a city, and in a country that offers them the chance at security for their families.” On Philip Roth and Newark, NJ.
“In your earlier novels you sounded so optimistic, but now your books are tinged with despair. Is this fair to say?” Zadie Smith‘s remarks upon accepting the 2016 Welt Literature Prize on November 10th, and the question of whether “multiculturalism” is a failed experiment. Read our review of Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, here.
At the LARB, Scott Korb interviews Rosie Schaap, who offers up a theory that bars and churches are both a kind of “sanctified space.” To get more insight, you could also check out her Rumpus interview, or even go watch her mix cocktails with Kurt Andersen of NPR. (You could also just go buy her book.)