Literature and more

From The New York Review of Books, a review of We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction by Joan Didion; Double-Cross in the Congo: A review of The Mission Song by John le Carré; a review of Collected Stories by Roald Dahl; and a review of The Collected Poems, 1956–1998 by Zbigniew Herbert.

From Identity Theory, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford talks with Robert Birnbaum about his latest (and last) Frank Bascombe novel, The Lay of the Land; Donald Hall, Poet Laureate of the United States, talks at length with Robert Birnbaum about baseball, his relationship with Robert Frost, the cultural importance of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," writing about loss, and why song lyrics don't make good poems; and Elizabeth Benedict, author of The Practice of Deceit, talks with Robert Birnbaum about sex, middle-aged dilemmas, and careerist memoir writers.

From California Literary Review, a review of The Uses of Memory All Whom I Have Loved by Aharon Appelfeld, translated from the Hebrew by Aloma Halter; a review of The Road by Cormac McCarthy; an essay on Brontë in Brussels by Trilby Kent.

From n+1, Love and Boredom: A review of Cathleen Schine’s The New Yorkers; Is it odd to begin liking a poet on the basis of a pair of lines? Three Books by Lisa Robertson; and an article on The Haunting of Payless: Questions for a commercial semiotician.

From Mute magazine, the Situationists and the Creative Class are neck and neck in the competition for most mythologised ‘avant garde’. In riot-torn Copenhagen at the end of last month the two converged. While the conference Expect Anything Fear Nothing - Seminar on the Situationist Movement in Scandinavia was laying to rest delusions about the SI, partisans of the creative class seized on the riots as a victory for the new creative vanguardists. Stewart Home rattles some cage; and with political art now celebrated in galleries and museums all over the world what happens when practices tied to specific struggles and places are institutionalised? At the recent retrospective of textbook political artist, Loraine Leeson, Peter Suchin uncovers the remains of an earlier discussion intitiated by Art & Language to propose a radical reconsideration of Leeson’s art and the terms of the debate.

From Nextbook, as National Poetry Month winds to a close, guest editor Adam Kirsch offers up some favorite verse; with novels like Showboat and Giant Edna Ferber captured the hearts of Americans. How, asks Mollie Wilson, did she lose them?

From The Nation, Revolutionary Devotion: Communism, Catholicism and radical Modernism meet on the dissecting table of César Vallejo's poetry; and Stranger in the City: The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears tells the story of an Ethiopian immigrant's unrequited love affair with the American Dream. Po-co meets sci-fi: A review of So Long Been Dreaming: Post-colonial science fiction and fantasy, by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, eds. And Colette Labouff Atkinson talks with Mark Monmonier, author of From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame.