Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Three Recent Literary Articles Worth Reading

Three articles lined below that I think are worth reading. The first two are from the Sunday New York Times Book Review, which, even though small and giving attention to places that don’t usually have mine, I still savor and now more so as the book review in the Washington Post is no longer. David Orr is spot on with much of my thinking in The Great(ness) Game and I love his discussion of Elizabeth Bishop. I appreciate Geoff Nicholson’s article as a reflection and antidote to my own secret desire for incredible productivity. The review in Salon of Elaine Showalter’s newest book has be sitting on my hands to not order it immediately. It is now on my summer reading list and I look forward to it. Meanwhile Miller’s article has whet my appetite and will yours, too.

On Poetry
The Great(ness) Game

Published: February 19, 2009

In October, John Ashbery became the first poet to have an edition of his works released by the Library of America in his own lifetime. That honor says a number of things about the state of contemporary poetry — some good, some not so good — but perhaps the most important and disturbing question it raises is this: What will we do when Ashbery and his generation are gone? Because for the first time since the early 19th century, American poetry may be about to run out of greatness.


Can’t. Stop. Writing.

Published: February 19, 2009

Once, in my early teens, I competed with my best friend Rob to see who could read more in the course of the summer vacation. It wasn’t a subtle contest: the winner would be the one who devoured more pages. Matters of comprehension and artistic quality didn’t concern us. We didn’t tackle Proust; we needed something faster-paced than that. I hit upon the idea of reading science fiction short stories — pithy, easily digestible page turners, or so I thought.


"Why can't a woman write the Great American Novel?"
Female authors hold their own on the bestseller lists, but Elaine Showalter's provocative new history wonders why they get so little respect.
By Laura Miller


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