At the Creative Independent, Sabrina Orah Mark shares how her writing style evolved over the years, and how the blurring of poetry and prose gave her freedom to explore. “I think when I started writing prose poems,” Mark says, “that was when I felt like I could have the real and the unreal live inside of a little box together. Charles Simic talks about the prose poem as being this impossible form. It’s the coming together of prose and poetry and it shouldn’t exist, but it does. And finding that form allows for this marvel, for the impossible to live inside of a space. And that was really how I accessed that aesthetic or mindset or dream I was always after.”
Last week, I directed you to Catie Disabato’s Thick Skin interview at 0s&1s. This week, Year in Reading alum Laura van den Berg joins them for the latest installment of the series, in which authors address their critics. We also recently interviewed van den Berg following the release of her first novel, Find Me.
Maya Angelou is a rapper now. The late writer’s poems have been layered with hip-hop beats for a new album, Caged Bird Songs. The album uses previous recordings of Angelou and a few made last year. “She saw (hip-hop) as this generation’s way of speaking and conveying a message,” her grandson Colin A. Johnson said. Pair with: Our tribute to Angelou.
A couple weeks ago, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll argued in a Salon piece that David Foster Wallace, who wrote an essay about the television and irony back in the early ‘90s, presciently diagnosed the danger of snark in our own age. Now Peter Finocchiaro, a senior editor at Salon, argues instead that we need irony more than we ever have. You could also read A-J Aronstein’s notes from the DFW Symposium.
I’d heard that the New Yorker excerpt was the opening of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom, but it turns out it is preceded in the novel by this: “The news about Walter Berglund wasn’t picked up locally–he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now–but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in Washington. His old neighbors had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times (‘arrogant,’ ‘high-handed,’ ‘ethically compromised’) with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedaling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.”
Did you read a short story today? He did.Samantha Hunt scribbles on bar napkins.Deborah Eisenberg not only writes great stories; she also gives a great interview.A Peter Markus story – free! – at failbetter.com.A Ben Fountain story – free! – at The Barcelona Review.Bookslut chats up Elizabeth Crane.Death is dead (via Conversational Reading).