I Wanted Both

Francis Spufford October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on February 1, 2012.

"This is not a novel. It has too much to explain, to be one of those. But it is not a history either, for it does its explaining in the form of a story; only the story is the story of an idea, first of all, and only afterwards, glimpsed through the chinks of the idea’s fate, the story of the people involved."


Yoni Wolf Listens to Poetry

October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on April 29, 2010.

It’s probably safe to say that you’re the only songwriter I’ve ever come across who’s thrown in a quote from Marilyn Hacker. I’m curious what your relationship is to contemporary poetry or writing in general.


On Irrelevance: Part IV

Tom Drury October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on April 5, 2010.

Right now I'm reading Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis (1839-1908) and so I'll recommend another of his novels, and one of my favorites, Epitaph of a Small Winner. Originally published in 1880, it seems to me a conversation with an eternal present.


On Irrelevance: Part III

Amy Leach October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on April 1, 2010.

Relevant writers have their place, to be sure. But relevance seems to hold a despotic ascendancy these days—everybody wants to be relevant; everybody wants everybody else to be relevant. Relevance is not the only virtue! Irrelevance is also a virtue! The sun is not only a vector of cancer and vitamin D; the sun also makes my Pomeranian twirl. Here is a list of a few of my favorite irrelevant writers:


On Irrelevance: Part II

Tim O’Sullivan October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on March 31, 2010.

A taste for topical relevance is cool. There are better places to look than fiction. Newspapers maybe. On TV, pundits speak provocatively on topics of the day. Fiction can handle these topics too, but I suppose people will always argue whether it’s the most appropriate tool and/or for how long the relevant topic will remain relevant.


On Irrelevance: Part I

Mary-Beth Hughes October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on March 30, 2010.

Around Halloween, I packed up my mother’s books and brought them home. She was a committed public library patron, so I’d love to know the books she liked enough to buy and keep, what she saved to go back to. But before I unpack boxes, I’m looking to my own shelves to remember some of what’s been essential to me.


Stet?

Ed Roberson October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on March 3, 2010.

Hey Ed, I hope you're well. We're finishing up the new issue, and my proofreaders keep querying the space in the fourth stanza of your poem, so I thought better safe than sorry. Attached are your proofs—would you confirm that the space in the line "down from the outer layers inward into—" is supposed to be there? Thanks! Anne


In Praise of Irrelevance: Part I

Salvatore Scibona October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on February 25, 2010.


On Dialogue

Gary Amdahl October 1, 2013

This interview was conducted by Emily Cook and originally appeared on October 1, 2009

Do you consider yourself to be a dramatic sort of person?

Yes, but not dramatic in a good way—the way, say, someone is who risks his life for a common good, to save the life of a drowning child, or who takes an unpopular but principled stand on a moral issue at a critical moment. Or even a tragic hero who makes a terrible mistake and pays a terrible price. Dramatic rather in a bad way.


After the Wreck: On Historical Fictions and Fictional Histories

Naomi J. Williams October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on October 8, 2009.

Everyone likes a shipwreck story. I’m certainly not the first writer to be drawn to the La Pérouse expedition, an ill-fated voyage of exploration that left France in 1785 with two frigates under the command of Jean-François de Galaup de La Pérouse, and disappeared three years later in the South Pacific. Part of the early mystique of the La Pérouse story, of course, was that for almost forty years no one knew what had become of the expedition. It’s always a boon to fictionalizers when people disappear into thin air.


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