background preloader

Writers & writing

Facebook Twitter


Theater. Nonfiction. Creative writing. RalphPeters. PeterDKramer. Same-as-that—By Dale Peck. From a speech given in December 2011, at the New School, in New York City. Dale Peck is a novelist and critic. The first time I heard the word samizdat was at an ACT UP meeting. The term was applied to the vast stacks of photocopies that every member picked up on the way into the Monday-night meeting: treatment guidelines, drug studies, bureaucratic analyses, action plans, contact lists, and announcements of events ranging from performances and gallery openings to house parties and memorial services.

This collection was never referred to as anything other than “the table” (even though it usually spread over two or three), a twelve- or eighteen-foot-long banquet of paper down both sides of which several hundred gay men and lesbians, nearly indistinguishable in their Doc Martens and Levi’s and sloganed T-shirts, bent their spiky or shaved heads and served themselves and one another with the ordered geniality of an Amish wedding. He died of AIDS!

My dear Gino, What a wonderful surprise! Jhumpa Lahiri: My Life's Sentences. You Owe Me. The children I write with die, no matter how much I love them, no matter how creative they are, no matter how many poems they have written, or how much they want to live. They die of diseases with unpronounceable names, of rhabdomyosarcoma or pilocytic astrocytoma, of cancers rarely heard of in the world at large, of cancers that are often cured once, but then turn up again somewhere else: in their lungs, their stomachs, their sinuses, their bones, their brains. While undergoing their own treatments, my students watch one friend after another lose legs, cough up blood, and enter a hospital room they never come out of again. The M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where I have taught poetry and prose for nearly ten years, is a world-renowned research institution.

As part of my job I write a yearly reflective journal. Gio’s was the first death I witnessed as a writer, as an outsider who enters into the intimate world of struggling children. Of course, there are sad days. Mr. A long sentence is worth the read - "Your sentences are so long," said a friend who teaches English at a local college, and I could tell she didn't quite mean it as a compliment. The copy editor who painstakingly went through my most recent book often put yellow dashes on-screen around my multiplying clauses, to ask if I didn't want to break up my sentences or put less material in every one. Both responses couldn't have been kinder or more considered, but what my friend and my colleague may not have sensed was this: I'm using longer and longer sentences as a small protest against — and attempt to rescue any readers I might have from — the bombardment of the moment.

When I began writing for a living, my feeling was that my job was to give the reader something vivid, quick and concrete that she couldn't get in any other form; a writer was an information-gathering machine, I thought, and especially as a journalist, my job was to go out into the world and gather details, moments, impressions as visual and immediate as TV.

Document: The Symbolism Survey, Sarah Funke Butler. In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? He asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind? McAllister had just published his first story, “The Faces Outside,” in both IF magazine and Simon and Schuster’s 1964 roundup of the best science fiction of the year. Confident, if not downright cocky, he thought the surveys could settle a conflict with his English teacher by proving that symbols weren’t lying beneath the texts they read like buried treasure awaiting discovery.

The pages here feature a number of the surveys in facsimile: Jack Kerouac, Ayn Rand, Ralph Ellison, Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer. IS (Roberto Bolaño's) "2666" A MASTERPIECE? Reading "2666", "it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish Roberto Bolaño's genius from his excess. Indeed, it starts to seem that Bolaño's genius is his excess", writes Garth Risk Hallberg...

Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE In his treatise on drama, "Three Uses of the Knife", David Mamet cribs a distinction from Stanislavsky. Some narratives, he suggests, leave us saying, "What a masterpiece! Let's get a cup of coffee," while others ask us to wrestle with them for the rest of our lives. It's a contrast that feels almost obsolete in book publishing. On the supply side, publishers rush to promote "instant classics" before posterity can render a verdict. The late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño had a foot in each territory. Bolaño, a poet by vocation, had initially (not to say quixotically) turned to fiction as a money-making proposition, and after the success of "The Savage Detectives", he might have settled into a lucrative middle age repackaging his dissolute youth.

James Baldwin: Witty, Fiery in Berkeley, 1979. Hot on the heels of Independence Day, here’s a chance to listen to one of America’s best writers declaring his own form of Independence — a freedom from some of the more troubling assumptions embedded in the English language. Starting with a dry, mild questioning of phrases like “black as night,” “black-hearted,” and “black as sin,” Baldwin turns quickly to a critique of the name of the civil rights movement itself, which he suggests would be more accurately described as a slave rebellion.

The logic and eloquence with which Baldwin makes his case is much better savored than explained. Enjoy the clip, and especially make sure not to miss his remarks on Huck Finn at minute 3:00, or the lovely description of Malcolm X at about minute 5:00. And, to be sure, we’ll add this to our collection of Cultural Icons. Related Content: Great Cultural Icons Talk Civil Rights Malcolm X at Oxford, 1964. Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate. Sontag_torture.pdf (application/pdf Object) Saul Bellow - Nobel Lecture. December 12, 1976 Listen to an Audio Recording of Saul Bellow's Nobel Lecture (paragraph 1-3)* 11 min. I was a very contrary undergraduate more than 40 years ago.

It was my habit to register for a course and then to do most of my reading in another field of study. This fervent statement was written some 80 years ago and we may want to take it with a few grains of contemporary salt. I feel no need now to sprinkle Conrad's sentences with skeptical salt. On an occasion like this I have no appetite for polemics. But I am interested here in the question of the artist's priorities.

The message of Robbe-Grillet is not new. The title of Robbe-Grillet's essay is On Several Obsolete Notions. The fact that the death notice of character "has been signed by the most serious essayists" means only that another group of mummies, the most respectable leaders of the intellectual community, has laid down the law. There is no reason why a novelist should not drop "character" if the strategy stimulates him. Chris Hedges "Brace Yourself! The American Empire Is Over & The Descent Is Going To Be Horrifying!" Tariq Ramadan asks: how can different religious traditions move beyond tolerant co-existence to mutual respect and enrichment? Reza Aslan’s New Book, Table and Pen: Literature Bridges Civilizations.

One utterly confounding and intriguing question lies at the very heart of 'Mad Men': How many women can one married man sleep with over the course of 92 hour-long episodes? Mad Men, the ambitious, award-winning AMC series, is embarking upon its seventh and final season this Sunday. Throughout its epic run, Mad Men has attempted to answer a myriad of fascinating and complex questions. They include: what is the American Dream? What does it mean to be a man? Can anyone ever be truly happy?

But one utterly confounding and intriguing question lies at the very heart of the series: How many women can one married man sleep with over the course of 92 hour-long episodes? According to our count, the current number stands at over a dozen—and we still have all of Season 7 to go. Betty Draper Francis (January Jones) Betty Draper burst onto the small screen with an undeniable presence befitting the wife of the enigmatic Don Draper. Midge Daniels (Rosemarie DeWitt) Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff) Poor Ms. Dr. Tahmima Anam | The Good Muslim.


DavidFosterWallace. AghaShahidAli. HaroldPinter.