At Bookforum, James Hannaham recounts his experience reading the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet who wrote under 75 different names throughout his career. “I’m often motivated to write by what makes me mad; in this case I felt compelled to pen a rebuttal to every last poem in Fernando Pessoa & Co,” Hannaham writes. “I knew that directing outrage toward Caeiro’s emphatically superficial spirituality would be like shadowboxing, but to me that made the prospect more attractive. I would wrestle with ideas instead of venting against some real human and accusing him of various reprehensible isms. Everyone else seemed to be doing that, anyway.”
To kick off 2010, we at The Millions are thrilled to announce that Emily St. John Mandel has joined us as a regular contributor. Emily lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Last Night In Montreal, was recently published by Unbridled Books; her second novel, The Singer’s Gun, will be published by the same press in May 2010. Her pieces for The Millions are collected here. Welcome Emily!
Over at Bloom, Dr. Francine Toder—a retired psychotherapist and author of The Vintage Years, who learned to play the cello in her 60s—writes about the neuroscience studies that support creative blooming in later life. Check out also this excerpt from The Vintage Years.