The New Yorker’s Page Turner blog publishes an essay about Gordon Lish’s creative writing workshop methods. The essay, from a forthcoming anthology edited by n+1′s Chad Harbach and written by Carla Blumenkranz, questions the value of writing to appeal, erotically or otherwise, to a lone figure.
The CutBank crew is headed to AWP this week—perhaps you’d care to drop by our table at the book fair or help us celebrate Issue No. 80? And, if you’re headed to Seattle, may we recommend bringing a few episodes of the Longform podcast with you on your journey?
While D.J. Taylor unpacks the complications of translating real people into somewhat-fictionalized characters, a few of his examples sent us off on Internet goose hunts. For instance: After Charles Dickens based a David Copperfield character on an acquaintance, she asked him to re-characterize her fictional counterpart—and he did.
New York Daily News reported that more than 70,000 books were not returned to the Brooklyn Public Library system in 2012. That’s more than seven times the number of e-books stocked in what the Los Angeles Times called the “Nation’s first bookless public library system.”
Join us at AWP in Seattle!
As the Chelsea hotel transitions from “a wide-open playground to a sleek, exclusive fortress for big money,” Peter Conrad reviews Sherill Tippins’ Inside the Dream Palace and traces the storied artists’ residence from its idealistic roots to its demise.
“Our resolutions, our rebirths, they elbow space for our failures to become part of our story instead of part of our identity. But I’ve come to suspect that the personal aperture that exposes bullshit or shades it is not the gauge to adjust.”
The maps that shaped the texts of Le Guin, Faulkner, and Thoreau, and the writers who crafted one-liners and speeches for Obama, Clinton, and Gore
What did the websites for The Paris Review, the New York Review of Books, the Kenyon Review and The Atlantic look like in the late ’90s?
Persona poems about Friday Night Lights’ Tim Riggins, Maya Angelou on “Oprah Oprah Oprah,” and Bill Murray’s apocryphal legacy
What would Joyce Carol Oates ask Joyce Carol Oates?
Teach old dogs new tricks, literally. Prize creative collaboration. And eat fewer cheeseburgers.
At The New York Times, David Streitfeld profiles a few online businesses that track e-reader data, from Amazon and Barnes & Noble down to Scribd and Oyster. One of the article’s focuses? How authors might use such data to inform their writing decisions.
“The letter E was born in the late 8th century BC in Athens, Greece,” writes Joshua David Stein in his obituary for the fifth letter of the alphabet. Pay your respects, writers.
What Christmas special is George Saunders likely watching? “I used to love those Charlie Brown specials…I think if you are writing about life in our time, one way you can tell that story is that there are a bunch of people in our country desperately trying not to be forced down into that territory of humiliation.”
“My soul is a windowless facade.” In a Poetry Fundation article about C.S. Lewis’ ill-fated poetry efforts, Laura Mallonee writes that Lewis and friends once tried to prank T.S. Eliot with a mock-Modernist poem.
“My desk chair faces one of my favorite Christmas presents of all time: an 11 foot by 4 foot print of the downtown Peoria skyline that was salvaged from a garbage heap inside the old Peoria airport”
Moore’s suggestions for what was eventually named the Ford Edsel included the Ford Silver Sword, Hurricane Hirundo, the Resilient Bullet, the Ford Fabergé, Mongoose Civique, and Turcotinga
“The key to a toddy, according to Faulkner, is that the sugar must be dissolved into a small amount of water before the whiskey is added”