paper trail

Edmund White sums up Donald Trump

Marianne Moore and Muhammad Ali

In a profile pegged to the publication of his new novel, Our Young Man, Edmund White stops to say of Donald Trump: “He’s unbearably rude and tragically spontaneous.” 

“It’s kind of an old-fashioned book. It’s long; it has a lot of characters; it takes a big theme. It isn’t a navel-staring, dysfunctional-family thing that’s so beloved of most American writers.” Pulitzer winner Annie Proulx, author of the novel The Shipping News and the story “Brokeback Mountain,” talks about her new book, Barkskins, which features a large cast of characters, high drama, and, yes, a “big theme”: deforestation.

The New York Times has decided to discontinue its ArtsBeat Blog.

Muhammad Ali’s death this weekend has inspired readers to revisit the many paeans to the boxing legend. One of our favorites comes from George Plimpton’s Shadow Box, in which he introduces Ali to poet Marianne Moore. “He announced that if she was the greatest poetess in the country, the two of them should produce something together—’I am a poet, too,’ he said—a joint effort sonnet, it was to be, with each of them doing alternate lines.” The sonnet begins: “After we defeat Ernie Terrell / He will get nothing, nothing but hell.” At Jacobin, author Dave Zirin provides a riveting account of Ali’s resistance to war and his fights against racism.

Alexander Chee, the author of Queen of the Night, has been hired as an associate professor of creative writing at Dartmouth University.

The Feminist Press and Tayo Literary Magazine have invited writers to submit work for the inaugural Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, which will be given to the best books by women and nonbinary writers of color. The award is $5,000 and a contract with the Feminist Press, and the winner will be announced in February 2017.