• Letter from an Unknown Woman
    February 25, 2011

    Feb 25, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    “Poverty is poverty and it sucks and it sucks so much more when you have a child. There is no romance in getting up at 5 am to write your poems and coming home at night when the young boys are just going out to their bars.” Sandra Simmons writes about the challenges of being a “poor poetry mother.”

    In April, Sarabande Books plans to publish a new chapbook by Lydia Davis titled The Cows, which reprints a story that first appeared in the journal Electric Literature. This news reminded us of Donna K’s excellent, strange video, which riffs on a single Lydia Davis sentence: “Does she prefer the

    Read more
  • Christian Hawkey
    February 24, 2011

    Feb 24, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Robert Silvers of The New York Review of Books, David Remnick of The New Yorker, and other editors respond to the recent discussions about the “dearth of female bylines.”

    Apple is planning to unveil the iPad 2 on March 2, leaving less than a week for breathless speculation about what the new features will be. We’re pretty sure that whatever they come up with will be dubbed “revolutionary.”

    In anticipation of David Foster Wallace’s forthcoming The Pale King, you can listen to the BBC’s recent radio doc about the novelist (via Flavorwire), which feature interviews with Don DeLillo, Rick Moody,

    Read more
  • Kenneth Slawenski
    February 23, 2011

    Feb 23, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Kenneth Slawenski, the author of an acclaimed new J. D. Salinger biography (and the great website Dead Caulfields), is a bit like his hero: There’s no author photo on the book, a minimal “about the author” note, and he’s granted only a few interviews. But Salinger fans, rest assured, Slawenski is no phony: “I know it's inevitable that they are going to draw a correlation between me and Salinger, but this isn't a stunt . . . This is just the way I am."

    From The Guardian: A list of the top ten fictional poets, (and their fictional feuds). (via Harriet).

    Why is James Franco planning to adapt

    Read more
  • Jonathan Safran Foer
    February 22, 2011

    Feb 22, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Thanks to McNally Jackson Books' always enlightening Twitter feed, we’ve discovered the New Yorker’s primary documents digital archive, which contains fascinating reading material from recent articles, including a trove of “Documents From Legal Cases Involving Scientology,” an excerpt from Teju Cole’s novel Open City, and a heavily annotated draft of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.

    Note: We’re going to miss marginalia.

    Do you know your Joshua Ferris from your Jonathan Safran Foer? Show your stuff with The Guardian’s Brooklyn books quiz.

    We’re looking forward to the 2012 Olympics in

    Read more
  • Wells Tower
    February 21, 2011

    Feb 21, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Wells Tower’s 2009 story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, was met with nearly universal critical praise, the capstone being Edmund White’s glowing front page review in the Times book review, an enviable accomplishment for an author who had already made a name for himself as an ace magazine reporter (he has since been deemed one of the New Yorker's twenty best writers under 40). Now, in the Brooklyn Rail, Paul Maliszewski has written a much-discussed, mostly negative review of Tower's work, noting a curious inertness in his fiction, and finding that it is too much like his

    Read more
  • Geoff Dyer, photo by Jason Oddy.
    February 18, 2011

    Feb 18, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Wonkette has a hilarious takedown of “literary detective” Jack Cashill’s horrific-sounding book Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves, and Letters of America’s First Postmodern President. Published this week, the volume argues—among other things—that Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book Dreams from My Father, and derides the president for claiming to be influenced by Langston Hughes and Richard Wright (because they were communists!).

    The Times blames “strategic missteps, executive turnover and a failure to understand the digital revolution” for Borders' bankruptcy, in an article detailing the chain’s

    Read more
  • February 17, 2011

    Feb 17, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    At The Rumpus, Jessica Probus imagines what it would be like to have sex with a list of books, beginning with Kafka’s Metamorphosis. And in the comments section, readers name the book that, were it human, they’d like to pick up in a bar.

    Are e-books more permanent than print? Now that Borders is filing bankruptcy, Kobo has had to reassure its customers on the company’s FAQ page: “The Borders e-book experience is powered by Kobo, an entirely separate company from Borders. Kobo is financially secure and will continue to maintain your e-book library no matter what happens.”

    At the Paris Review

    Read more
  • Andrew O’Hagan
    February 16, 2011

    Feb 16, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Meet the alleged ghostwriter of Julian Assange’s forthcoming memoir: Novelist and critic Andrew O’Hagan, whose significant list of accomplishments include conducing a public interview with Norman Mailer and writing a novel from the point of view of Marylin Monroe’s dog.

    The story behind how twenty four year old Alexandra Kleeman had her debut short story, “Fairy Tale,” published in the Paris Review.

    James Wolcott reports that he’s received an alarming email from Martin Amis, asking Wolcott to provide him and his wife a place to crash, because he’s “being persecuted in his native land and

    Read more
  • Thomas Bernhard
    February 15, 2011

    Feb 15, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    Borders is going bankrupt.

    Why do English-language readers of Thomas Bernhard like him in a way that German-language readears don’t? Gideon Lewis-Kraus explains at n+1: “I suspect the chief reason we’ve taken to Bernhard in a way that surprises German-speakers is that we have long been accustomed to the great pleasures of what the English writer Geoff Dyer has called ‘the literature of neurasthenia, of anxiety, fretting, complaint.’”

    Senior editor Donovan Hohn has left Harper’s magazine to become a features editor at GQ.

    Tonight at the Barnes and Noble in Manhattan's Union Square, Physicist

    Read more
  • February 14, 2011

    Feb 14, 2011 @ 3:00:00 pm

    Wait, we almost forgot: It’s Valentine’s Day! Over at The Independent, John Walsh wonders if we’ve “lost the art of writing love letters”? And at FiveChapters.com, Lynne Tillman offers part one of her story “Love Sentences,” which (so far) examines the evolution of love letters, and introduces us to a character who seems especially attuned to the gap between feeling and text: “I want ecstasy, not evidence.”

    Read more
  • Ahmed Fouad Negm, photo by Dana Smillie/Polaris, for the New York Times
    February 14, 2011

    Feb 14, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    The Paris Review’s poetry editor Robyn Creswell has a fascinating essay in yesterday’s Times about the role of authors in Egyptian society and in the January 25th revolution. Creswell notes that “for the crowds in Tahrir, now is above all a time for poetry, and the muse of the moment may be Ahmed Fouad Negm,” the dissident poet who has spent many years in jail, and wrote this oft-chanted poem: “They are the rich, and the government is on their side. / We are the poor, the governed. / Think about it, use your head. / See which one of us rules the other.”

    The much-anticipated Los Angeles Review

    Read more
  • Thomas Sayers Ellis
    February 11, 2011

    Feb 11, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

    George Jones, Palace Brothers, Silver Jews, and Neil Young: Author Justin Taylor offers a “secret soundtrack” to his new novel, The Gospel of Anarchy.

    At The Paris Review, Blair Fuller recounts a night in 1952 when he had drinks with J.D. Salinger, who discussed Buddhism, dissed Harvard, and pledged his love to a young woman he had just met.

    Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis has stolen a life-sized cardboard cutout of Langston Hughes from a Washington, DC, restaurant and poetry venue called Busboys and Poets, in protest of the low rates poets receive for reading there.

    The New York Times, they are

    Read more