At Slate, Dan Kois talks to Maggie Smith and Patricia Lockwood about what happens when your poem goes viral online. “The strangest thing about having a viral poem,” says Lockwood, “is that you are framed in reference to it afterwards to a degree that feels ensmallifying. It feels a little like you’re placed into a box.” Smith, author of the poem “Good Bones” and the recently published Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, says, “What I’ll always be known for is writing this poem about how bad things are, and maybe they could be better, but they’re bad. Every time my mentions tick up, I know to check the news because something bad has happened.”
“I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then read the 2,000 words I just wrote. Or if I’m upset, or really sleepy, or if I’m drunk, I’ll read this stuff. If you’re sleepy and you find yourself skipping over a paragraph because you’re bored by it and just want to get to the interesting part, it comes out. Those different states of mind are a really interesting filter.” Writing advice from Sebastian Junger.
Jill Abramson, fired last week from her post as New York Times executive editor, broke her silence today with her commencement address at Wake Forest. “I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped,” she said. “Not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know, the sting of losing, or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” Video here.
“I don’t divide my friendships into continental categories. I don’t think: Today I’ll have lunch with my European friend, and tomorrow I will invite my Asian friend to the park. It would be silly of me to think of the authors I read in those terms. End of topic.” The (still relatively) new Literary Hub interviews Valeria Luiselli about the literary tradition, authors’s names, magical realism and her new novel, The Story of My Teeth.