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.”
At Read by Famous, you can purchase secondhand books and know their previous owners—actors, comedians, athletes. There’s one week left in the auction, and all of the proceeds benefit charities. Pair with our own Jacob Lambert’s thoughts on thirty minutes at a used book sale.
“Classroom lessons may slip quickly through students’ fingers, but the classroom experience lingers in memory. Each teacher offers students a different model of authority and justice. We set our own standards of fairness and sometimes fail to honor them. A teacher swings a heavy club, and we can leave big, purple bruises if we’re not careful.” Ben Orlin writes for The Atlantic about becoming an unfair teacher and then resolving to improve. For more thoughts about teaching, be sure to check out our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s “55 Thoughts for English Teachers.“
John Sunyer checks in with Franco Moretti at the Stanford Literary Lab. Moretti, a 63-year-old professor of English, is the author of Distant Reading – a book in which he lays out his long-held belief that “literary study doesn’t require scholars to actually read the books.” Rather, he believes in a “new approach to literature [that] depends on computers to crunch ‘big data,’ or stores of massive amounts of information, to produce new insights.”
Out this week: The Season of Migration by Nellie Hermann; Uncle Janice by Matt Burgess; The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton; Driving the King by Ravi Howard; Against the Country by Ben Metcalf; God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger; A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan; Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova; and Almost Famous Women by Year in Reading alum Megan Mayhew Bergman. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.