paper trail

Rivka Galchen on brains; a virtual Dimes Square scene report

Rivka Galchen. Photo: Nina Subin.

For the London Review of Books, Rivka Galchen examines three books about the brain.

At Study Hall, Eliza Wallace writes a scene report on the arts and media cliques in New York City’s Dimes Square (via Los Angeles): “The scene now and much of its attending media are awash in cleverness, ego, insecurity, and the pained aggression of the rich, intellectual, and unhappy.”

At Poets & Writers, a Q and A with New York Times critic Jennifer Szalai. The writer, who got her start at Harper’s Magazine in 2001, has published widely and has taught at Columbia and NYU; she now writes a review a week for the Times. Asked about negative reviews, Szalai says, “Can they be worthwhile? Oh, yes, absolutely. At the same time, my colleague Dwight Garner once talked on The Book Review Podcast about his philosophy, which I think is very wise: As a critic you don’t want to be in a position of telling readers why they should hate this thing that they’ve never heard of.”

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, has announced that Alyssa Collins is the winner of its Octavia E. Butler Fellowship. The yearlong position includes a grant to work with Butler’s archives at the Huntington. For more on Butler’s pioneering sci-fi work, see Gabrielle Bellot’s essay in Bookforum’s Spring issue.

Tonight, poets Mariposa Fernandez, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, and Patricia Spears Jones will have a reading and discussion hosted by CUNY to celebrate the recent anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, edited by Kevin Young. The free event will take place via Zoom. Young talked with Amber Rose Johnson about how he put together the anthology in the Winter issue of Bookforum: “I don’t think you can call it African American poetry and not [question] what ‘African American’ means, what ‘American’ means, even what ‘poetry’ means.”

Tomorrow night on Instagram Live, writer Rachel Syme will host a show, Running on Fumes, about perfume. Syme’s first guest will be Lauren Cerand.