- September 10th, 2015on The Story of My Teeth, a novel by Valeria Luiselli, tr. from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House Press)
In his essay "The New Writing," the Argentinean novelist César Aira extols prose fiction that puts “processes back on the throne which had been occupied until then by results.” For Aira, professionalization has “congealed” the novel and “shattered the form-content dialectic which makes art ‘artistic.’ ” He asks
- September 1st, 2015
Near the end of his life, Robinson Jeffers wrote a short lyric called “On an Anthology of Chinese Poems” in which he extols the virtues of the poets and their verse:
Beautiful the hanging cliff and the wind-thrown cedars, but they have no weight.
Beautiful the fantastically
Small farmhouse and ribbon of rice-fields a mile below; and billows of mist
- August 24th, 2015
In 1930, while waiting in the cold outside a Leningrad prison where her son had been jailed, Anna Akhmatova met a woman, also with an imprisoned son, who asked her, “Can you write about this?” According to Giorgio Agamben, who relates this story in On Potentiality, Akhmatova instantly committed herself to writing — but not because she had a proven ability to create poems about horr
- August 18th, 2015on Robinson Jeffers: Poet and Prophet by James Karman (Stanford) & The Wild That Attracts Us, ed. ShaunAnne Tangney (New Mexico)
“Why does so much deep silence surround the name of Robinson Jeffers?” asked Horace Gregory in his 1953 review of Hungerfield, Jeffers’ sixteenth collection of poems. But Gregory knew the answer.
- August 5th, 2015
At Cambridge University in 1965, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr.
- July 13th, 2015
The multi-voiced narrative is a near-obligatory routine for many mainstream novelists. It satisfies benign inclinations – first, to display one’s ample virtuosity, and then, to flatter the reader’s presumed perspicacity. Any single fictional character may see only a part of a situation but the reader is persuaded that he/she can see it all.