paper trail

A “Paris Review” interview with the late Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli; Isaac Fitzgerald, Ashley C. Ford, and more on memoir

Isaac Fitzgerald. Photo: Remi Morawski

At the Paris Review, read Annalena Benini’s interview with the Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli, who died in June. They discuss Cavalli’s friendship with Elsa Morante, her affinity for domestic objects, and Cavalli’s first poems, which she wrote after seeing Kim Novak in the 1955 film Picnic: “I fell in love, went home, fasted for a week in protest because I’d never be able to know Kim Novak—and after the fast I wrote two poems. I found them recently while going through some old notebooks. One is titled ‘If Kim Novak were to die.’” 

Katy Waldman reviews Emi Yagi’s Diary of a Void for the New Yorker. The novel follows Shibata, a woman who works for a company that manufactures cardboard tubes, over the course of forty weeks while she pretends to be pregnant. Yagi imitates the structure of a boshi techō—a mother-and-child diary—to “press on broad assumptions about life, vitality, and spirit, and where these qualities can be found.” 

Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, author of the collection Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear, is trapped in Gaza amid Israeli air strikes after being denied entry to Israel to obtain his visa to return to Syracuse University. 

For Gawker, Cara Blue Adams writes about Melissa Bank’s The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and its reception as “light women’s fiction.” In Adams’s memory, too, “the book was breezy, inconsequential.” But upon revisiting the book, Adams finds that “Bank makes what she does on the page look easy, but her skill is breathtaking.” The author died last week, at the age of sixty-one. 

Next Wednesday, August 17, the New York Public Library is hosting a panel on memoir, featuring writers Isaac Fitzgerald, Ashley C. Ford, Leslie Jamison, and Chloé Cooper Jones.