At the Chicago Review of Books, Meghan O’Rourke discusses The Invisible Kingdom, a mix of memoir and research that investigates chronic illness through multiple lenses. “My work as a poet helped shape this book,” she explains. “I didn’t want it to be merely a work of reportage; I wanted to convey the lived experience, the sense of searching for language to contain the murk and the mess. That all had to be there. So I knew from the beginning that it would be both of those things. What made the book really challenging to write was having to put all those registers and discourses together in a way that didn’t feel disjointed. Figuring out how to make the pivots from the lyrical moments of description to the very technical medical science sections took a long time.”
“Maybe in the future I’ll feel compelled to write that kind of specific and current book, but right now I feel that my strength as a fiction writer is my ability to take a step back. I prefer to create a more metaphorical story that people can apply to a variety of situations, personal and political.” Electric Literature interviews Kazuo Ishiguro about his most recent novel, The Buried Giant, which our own Lydia Kiesling reviewed here.
“Author-hot” has historically been a pejorative phrase, or at best faint praise, but Canteen is looking to change that with its “Hot Authors” project, “reinterpreting and reappropriating fashion magazine glam” for the Moleskine set. The redesigned Canteen website also features an interview with yours truly – not, I’m sad to report, included in the “Hot Authors” package.
Last Tuesday, I wrote about an article in the Literary Review that shed light on the daughters of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Now, in the LRB, Tim Parks reviews a new biography of the children of Charles Dickens. (Related: our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Parks’s new book.)
“I couldn’t tell if a poem I was writing would come to anything or not until the last line was there. That’s always been my method. I may have revised less than some other poets, but I think I write as much crap as anyone.” Kaveh Akbar interviews Sharon Olds about inspiration, contemporary poetry, and rejection letters for Divedapper. Pair with this Millions piece, featuring seven editors looking back on their rejection styles.
“By now, you are probably asking yourself, Did these two ever talk about anything serious? Of course, we did. We talked about how writing a poem is no different from taking out a frying pan and concocting a dish out of the ingredients available in the house, how in poetry, as in cooking, it’s all a matter of subtle little touches that come from long experience or are the result of sudden inspiration.” Charles Simic writes movingly about his friend, the late poet Mark Strand, and their various schemes, from buying palazzos to founding a gastronomic poetry movement, for The New York Review of Books.
In October 2011, Hannah Gersen convincingly argued that the Occupy Wall Street protests bore more than a few similarities to Bartleby, The Scrivener. Now, amid the political demonstrations going on throughout Turkey, Millions contributor Kaya Genç draws a similar parallel between Istanbul’s “Standing Man” and Herman Melville’s famous protagonist.