Blogs

Who loves indie presses?

The Utne Reader released the nominee's for their 22nd annual Independent Press Awards. It's a great, thorough list of magazines seperated into general excellence, best writing, arts, political, social/cultural, and more. It was a great reminder that I wanted to subscribe to Gastronomica!

Just What Would the Dolphins Have to Say About All of This, Mister?

Scientists feel they may be onto a form of technology that would allow people to talk with dolphins. Given the recent push to declare dolphins as "non-human persons" and the sheer joy that images like this one can elicit in the human imagination, there is but one question that simply must be answered were this technology to prove successful: "Is anyone in the history of the world cooler than Bowie?"

 

ACM favorite Mike Puican is interviewed at Dzanc

Mike Puican, whose "Poem With Many Endings" is featured in ACM50.1, is interviewed by Dzanc Books here. It's an interesting short interview, mostly about the composition and writing techniques used by Puican in a poem called "As Though Someone Else Has Praised This Night and These Are Her Words" that recently appeard in the March issue of The Collagist. Perhaps the most compelling part is when Puican discusses the influece of Muriel Dockendorff Navarrete on his poem and the literally breath-taking power of her committment to poetry as a vital form of expression in the face of torture and ultimate death:

 

 

She was arrested as General Pinochet began eliminating anyone who was thought to be in opposition to his rule. Thousands of students were rounded up, taken to a soccer stadium and murdered. Muriel was one of those tortured and eventually killed. But while in prison, she still wrote poetry. She wrote it on the back of cigarette papers.

What compels a person undergoing torture, who knows she is going to be killed, to write poetry? What does her commitment to writing say to a poet who writes in more comfortable and privileged circumstances? These are the questions I wanted my poem to ask.

 

And these are powerful questions. In a time when turture and murder in the name of politics are far too common, there is a growing need for political poetry and for poets to address questions of the relevance of art in the face of torture.  Hopefully more writers will tackle these difficult themes and take on some of the issues that American writers mostly sidestep or disregard entirely.

Feeling Rejected?

Over at PANK Magazine, Alana Noel Voth writes an open letter to Donny Thane on what it means to receive a rejection slip from a magazine, a modeling agency, a school or a teacher. (Hint: revenge isn't a recommended coping mechanism.)

Why aren't we as good as those dead guys?

Michael Goldfarb has a piece about, well, "Where are today's Steinbecks?", at the BBC that ends with this:

But humankind has to live in the real world with other human beings. And if writers and artists won't put a human face on the jobless numbers, who will?

Won't? I don't know about that. Maybe another Steinbeck or someone better or different just hasn't been read by you or me or everyone yet. I trust that'll happen (print's still not dead, am I right?!), even if we have to wade through some necessary fluff. Gotta keep reading. And writing. And producing.

Who wouldn't want to be Woody Allen's favorite?

Over at the Guardian (love you!), Woody Allen shared a list of his favorite books. I'm not surprised that The Catcher in the Rye made it on there and that he describes it the way (of course) Woody Allen would describe such things (oh, you know what I mean):

When I was younger reading was something you did for school, something you did for obligation, something you did if you wanted to take out a certain kind of woman. It wasn't something I did for fun.

My favorite bit in the short article is the following anecdote about Machado de Assis's Epitaph of a Small Winner:

I just got this in the mail one day. Some stranger in Brazil sent it and wrote, "You'll like this". Because it's a thin book, I read it. If it had been a thick book, I would have discarded it.

P Fanatics Reading at Moe's Tavern 4/21/11

A few ACMers (myself included) went to the P Fanatics reading at Moe's last Thursday. P Fanatics is a themed monthly reading series hosted at Moe's organized by Mason Johnson and various other individuals. The theme for this particular reading was "hair." Mason and Natalie Hurtenbach made an accompanying hair guide zine for the event. Readers included Matt Rowan, Mary Hamiliton, Mairead Case, Ian Jones, Samantha Irby, Mark Schettler and Dan Shapiro. Things got a little distracting with people clapping for the muted Bulls game, making it a little hard to hear, but all in all it was a great reading.

Pulitzer Prizes announced

Columbia University announced the 2011 Pulitzer Prize recipients this afternoon. In the arts categories, Jennifer Egan won for fiction, Kay Ryan for poetry, Siddhartha Mukherjee for non-fiction, and Bruce Norris for drama.

Lit Psych 101

What does your favorite childhood book say about you? Let Flavorwire tell you with this list of novels and what they say about your soul. And while we're on the topic of psychology, check out this piece by Robert McCrum from The Guardian on the acquisition of John Fowles's desk. McCrum argues that as less paper is left behind in our increasingly digital world, there will be more focus on a writer's "non-literary artifacts" than on their manuscripts. While I see McCrum's point, I would bet that there is still insightful messiness to be found in the manuscripts of today, even if they aren't always handwritten. Does writing on a computer make that writing less interesting to future generations than writing by hand? Is it true that we're starting to turn to objects for insight rather than drafts? I'm still not entirely convinced.

Archiving David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel, The Pale King, will become officially available next week. Check out This Recording's dissection of Wallace's archives, which were made public less than a year ago. Also check this piece on the psychology of Wallace's library, from The Awl.