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Say Jack Kerouac and you think the ultimate American road trip, but the writer’s ancestral roots actually lie in France and in 1965 he went looking for them. By that point Kerouac was a raging alcoholic. In Paris, he began days with a beer and a cognac, by evening he had deteriorated into a teetering [...]
Somehow it was decided that Scott, Chad, and me were going to kiss Beth, Kristy, and Tasha. Beth was the tomboy with short dark hair. Kristy was the one with dimples and feathered hair. Tasha was short and freckled with red hair to match. It was the last day of school. The last day [...]
To truly get away from civilization is an achievement. It is also traumatic. I once spent three weeks at my grandmother’s cabin in the Caribel mountains of rural Idaho. She had moved there from Half Moon Bay in the 80s after falling for a trucker who fancied himself a cowboy, following him into what he called, [...]
The Games We Play: Bridge
A pair of rather vulvar curlicues bracketed the words: Bitches And Sad Ladies. The cover’s red-purple color-scheme looked like something, to quote my father, “from a whore’s boudoir.” The typeface and the teal-edged pages identified the book as a relic of the 70’s. I was about to show it to my book-shopping companion, eyebrow raised. [...]
In an age of smart phones and cloud storage, few things seem more primitive than a manila folder with a slice of white paper in it, but that’s what I use to keep track of the essays I submit to literary magazines. My system is simple: one folder for each essay I’m submitting, and [...]
This is the third installment of Marcia DeSanctis’s series on three of Russia’s most influental 20th-century writers—Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Voinovich, and Yuz Aleshkovsky. Joseph Brodsky admired Yuz Aleshkovsky greatly and made an introduction for me. His book Kangaroo, which had just been published by Ardis in the US, was by far my favorite book of 1987 [...]
This is the second installment of Marcia DeSanctis’s series on three of Russia’s most influental 20th-century writers- Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Voinovich, and Yuz Aleshkovsky. You can read her first disptach here. Vladimir Voinovich — Silenced in 1974 in the USSR and forced to emigrate in 1980. I met Voinovich when he visited the Department of Slavic [...]
In 1986, I was a fledgling researcher at ABC News, and had all but ditched my Russian literature obsession of the last several years. The shelves in my sunless rental on West 73rd Street heaved with the volumes that had nursed me through four years of college. The weathered text of Bely’s Petersburg sat aside [...]
Featuring Jazz Cars, Prague boxers, and James Bond.
A great sprawl, stretching from coast to coast, that focuses in on writers who have made some impact on me this year.
“Fuck I was not ready for this…”
Twenty four years’ difference is the same as a day’s.
Aimee in fact tells me she is a messy cook, she needs slack from the ingredients, and likes to give them slack too.
An excerpt from Karen Russell’s Writer’s Notebook II Essay.
Plath, like no other poet, has been idolized and appropriated and taken ownership of, cast and recast by acolytes as a “suicide doll,” as her daughter, Frieda Hughes, once said. For the many years I’ve spent studying Plath, I’ve worried that I might be behaving this way, too, that even my disdain for what I see as the wrong kind of Plath groupies is proprietary in a way I have no right to be.
An excerpt from Aimee Bender’s “On the Making of Orchards”
Some of the earliest advice I received about writing poetry went like this: stop telling stories.
If the genius of Marilynne Robinson’s fiction is the central pillar of her popular image, its scarcity is an essential trestle. After publishing her landmark first novel Housekeeping in 1980, Robinson went 24 years without publishing a book of fiction. In that time, she penned two essay collections and the nonfiction book Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State, and Nuclear Pollution, but just one short story.
An excerpt from Maggie Nelson’s “A Sort of Leaning Against.”
In Portland, we were planning to cash in on our privilege.
“Their bags contained five pounds of cod. Had I defamed Iceland they were going to hurl all of it at me.”
From a young age, I wanted to create the sort of imagery that I saw in commercial catalogs and magazines. Wordplay as foreplay, mutual obsessions with refuse from a bygone moment. It was from old postcards, vats of glass eyeballs, and stuffed tigers that my sensibility was born.
Granted, Fifth Street, home to this lumpy little house and big open lot, was not really part of the neighborhood, but over the past few weeks it had become quite clear that this block would be the closest to Carroll Gardens my bank account would allow.
“You’re not going to just sit and read to us, are you?”