Our friends at Slate’s Browbeat blog point us to an amazing find: a childhood poem by David Foster Wallace. It’s an odd, melancholy, little piece about his hard-working mom, with an antiquated feel (“My moth-/er Works So hard/So hard and for bread she needs some lard”). Writer Justine Tal Goldberg stumbled upon the handwritten poem while researching an article in Wallace’s archives at the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center. See the poem after the jump, click over to Goldberg’s post for her perceptive analysis, and if you’re longing to read more of DFW’s mature work, don’t forget that his posthumous novel The Pale King comes out tomorrow. … Read More
“I didn’t realize that you wrote such bloody awful poetry,” sang Morrissey in 1987. And indeed, the history of musicians with poetic aspirations is a long and patchy one. This year has already seen the publication of a couple of collections of poetry by famous musicians – we recently got hold of a copy of System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian’s book Glaring Through Oblivion, and Tom Waits has just published a collaboration with photographer Michael O’Brien called Hard Ground. Writing lyrics is a very different skill to writing effective poems, and the two disciplines rarely coincide. With this in mind, here’s a look at the best and the worst of musicians in poetry – starting with five whose work really should have stayed in their notebooks. … Read More
Welcome to Conversation Pieces, where Flavorpill curates five articles from the past week that you should read. Some are long, others are short. Some are from major publications, others aren’t. The only thing all these articles have in common is that they’re interesting. This week, we discuss the strangeness of William Shatner, the philosophical importance of lost laundry, the current state of poetry, Canada’s willingness to let drug addicts have their fix, and more. After the jump, find something exciting to discuss this weekend in the home, at the bar, or on the street. … Read More
While the world’s Christians have been decking their halls with boughs of holly, the rogue artists of Luzinterruptus have been at work on a much more ambitious tree-adorning project. In honor of a poetry festival in Madrid, the group stuffed 1000 envelopes with tiny lights and poems by 17 writers and hung them in the garden outside the building where the event was being held. On the festival’s final night, 100 of the illuminated envelopes were distributed to attendees to send through the mail. See more images of the poem-lit garden after the jump. … Read More
For anyone who has ever felt drawn to the Beat Generation, yet has never fully comprehended its history, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters provides a long-awaited context for the lives, loves, and poetry of its founders. Beginning in 1944, Kerouac and Ginsberg’s correspondence stretched nearly 20 years, spurred by a murder and sustained by a mutual love of the written word.
In Viking’s new publication, the depth and cultural significance of the two writers’ works takes on a new perspective. Their letters chronicle the authors’ complex relationship, including Ginsberg’s early admiration of the hyper-heterosexual Kerouac, as well as their numerous publication rejections, and the establishment of a literary movement that defined a generation. … Read More
Nicholson Baker’s tenth novel, The Anthologist, finds the acclaimed experimental novelist offering a pared-down love letter to poetry itself.
Never one for straightforward narrative, Baker revels in his protagonist’s meandering alienation following the loss of his girlfriend. As the poet struggles to write the introduction to an anthology, the story touches on themes of literary craft and compulsion, as well as offering an overview of poetry heavyweights — but skirts insidery navel-gazing by anchoring itself in the narrator’s own battle with banality. … Read More
Amber Tamblyn was raised by beatniks and bohemians, which might explain why the TV and film star insists on spending her free time buried in books. From her earliest published poems and stories, it was clear that she takes the power of words seriously, crafting poetry and prose that is dramatic, emotionally raw, and always cliché-free. This week, she celebrates not only the launch of her much-anticipated new volume, Bang Ditto, but also the anticipated theatrical release of her new film, a remake of the classic Fritz Lang thriller Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, in which she lays down the law to Michael Douglas and Jesse Metcalfe. Flavorpill’s Shana Nys Dambrot caught up with her between hats to ask all about it. … Read More
Bernard Schwartz directs the 92Y Poetry Center, and chief among his vocational duties is putting together 92Y’s legendary lineup of literary readings and events each year. Just as diehard Harry Potter fans lined up for midnight showings of Half-Blood Prince earlier this summer, 92Y tickets are coveted among lit nerds. This year’s agenda includes poet Charles Simic, novelist A.S. Byatt, Sam Shepard, John Irving, and other assorted writerly heavy hitters. Tickets go on sale today, August 3, and cost $10 for those age 35 and younger. After the jump, Bernard Schwartz recalls some of the center’s highlights and tells us what we can expect this… Read More
Born and raised in Jamaica and living in New York City, Staceyann Chin is a spoken word poet and performance artist. From the spittin’ her words at the Nuyorican Poets Café to her solo performance Border/Clash at The Culture Project, Chin’s work as a has the ability to quickly capture an audience and take them back with her to the hot days of her childhood in poor neighborhoods of Lottery or Bethel Town or Montego Bay, the places that inspired the title of her newly published memoir The Other Side of Paradise. … Read More
We told you yesterday about Audrey Niffenegger, who just received a $5 million advance on her second novel. OK, more like we guffawed and let you watch. But what we felt then was nothing — NOTHING — compared to the nausea mixed with the STFU madness we felt when stumbled across this news thanks… Read More