paper trail

Remembering John Ashbery; Salman Rushdie on Trump's America

John Ashbery

Chelsea Manning will headline this year’s New Yorker Festival. Other events at the festival include a discussion between Preet Bharara, the New York federal attorney who was appointed by President Obama and later fired by Trump, and legal writer Jeffrey Toobin.

Following John Ashbery’s death this weekend, there have been a number of tributes: Paul Muldoon writes about how Ashbery “changed the rules of American poetry”; the New York Times has published an obituary (coauthored by author Dinitia Smith and poetry critic David Orr) and a selection of Ashbery’s poems; and at Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield took a detour in his obituary for Steely Dan’s Walter Becker to write: “It makes cosmic sense that he slipped away the same day as our country's greatest living writer, the poet John Ashbery, another American original who struck people as perversely abstract and inscrutable. ‘All things are secretly bored,’ Ashbery declared in 1975's The Vermont Notebook, an American credo that could have been a Steely Dan line.”

Khaled Hosseini, the author of the bestselling novel The Kite Runner (2003), has been documenting the lives of refugees. “Everybody knows there’s a war,” he told a reporter at The Guardian, “but once you feel what that war means, I think for most people it’s unfathomable not to act on it, even if it’s in a small way. It becomes that much harder to simply dismiss or move past. It prickles your consciousness.” 

Novelist Susan Vreeland, whose novel Girl in Hyacinth Blue (1999) traces the history of a painting that is thought to be a lost Vermeer, has died.

Tom Clancy’s ex-wife and widow are in a legal fight over who owns the rights to Clancy’s character Jack Ryan, who first appeared in The Hunt for Red October (1984) and continues to live on in a series of books written in Clancy’s style after Clancy’s death.

Salman Rushdie, whose New York novel The Golden House was just published, weighs in on the US’s current political situation: “A lot of what Trump unleashed was there anyway.”