BURN PILE: Letters, Longlists, Valerie Luiselli's Teeth, and an old story about orthodontics and pornography

No one William Carlos Williams went to school with knew the waltz. Or so he says in his letters from his time at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He was a theatre-member, Erza Pound's dinner companion, and a good son to his mother. Apparently, he was too good of a dancer for his own good. "Pretty soon she started on a journey from my leg. This was too much for me and I backed out...I saw her contemplating me with a sad, disgusted look on her face." From the Paris Review.

To no one's surprise, Franz Kafka had some issues with his father: 47-pages of issues. Some selections from a novella of a letter that the younger Kafka sent the elder after the failure of his engagement: "I should have been happy to have you as a friend, as a boss, an uncle, a grandfather, even (though rather more hesitantly) as a father-in-law. Only as a father you have been too strong for me.." From the biographile. 

On a lighter note, the long lists for the National Book Award have been released for Fiction, Poetry, Non-fiction, and Young People Literature. Don't worry if you haven't read them all, or any. That's why literature awards were invented! 

Likewise, the Man Booker Prize released its short-list. 

Valerie Luiselli's new book is about an auctioneer who sells off the teeth of famous writers. Who had better teeth, Virginia Woolf or Thomas Wolfe? If you have never thought about it before, now you will. My money is on Virginia. 

 Here's a review from 3AM concerning the intriguing origins of the novel.

And, in a reach into the NYT archives, a story about a son's orthodontic needs inspiring a father to write mail-order pornographic novels. A loose thematic bow!