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WRB—Apr. 16, 2022
Keeping up appearances.
April really only ranks in the middle of the pack on the cruelty scale—consider February, or August.
To do list:
It’s a holiday weekend, so don’t spend it reading email newsletters!
If you must have a link, Aimee Nezhukumatathil has a lovely little tribute to mint for Orion. Conspicuously absent: how good it is with lamb.
April 18, 2022 SHOUTS & MURMURS Review:
“Things I Don't Have Room For As A Mother” by Jessi Klein
Not even really trying to be funny.
[I liked the Victoria Chang poem (pg. 32), the new Sheila Heti age gap romance story (pg. 49), the Louis Menand review linked on Wednesday (pg. 63), and Anthony Lane on Paris, 13th District and Ambulance. —Chris]
Cheapskate lovers of Sally Rooney will be happy to know that Beautiful World, Where Are You is available for preorder in paperback.
We recently recommended an amusing piece from Calvin Trillin. That recommendation stands, but readers should know that Trillin all but self-plagiarizes himself in it—stealing almost word for word from a piece collected in an anthology celebrating Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s seventy-fifth anniversary. [Never only sell a piece once. —Chris]
What we’re reading:
Chris read an old copy of The Paris Review (125) because he found it in a sidewalk sale on Wednesday and it has dinosaurs on the cover. He really liked this story from Barry Lopez, about North Dakota; John Barth’s humorous feature “Jack and Jill: An Exegetical Aria,” which is strangely enough not on the web; “Time Relost by Marcel Proust” by Paul West; and poems from Mark Strand, Borges, Edward Hirsch, Andrew Hudgins, and Caroline Knox.
He also found a paperback of stories by Stanisław Lem, who he’s wanted to read since that M.I.T. Press reissue that readers may remember from way back in “WRB Feb. 5, 2022.” He couldn’t get through the first tiny story—maybe some other time.
Chris also started reading this edition of the collected C.P. Cavafy. Maybe more on him soon. He reread this old Nicholson Baker essay for a non-WRB project he’s working on. Definitely more on that in the medium-term.
Nic was very careless on Wednesday and inserted an apostrophe in Finnegans Wake. [This is so embarrassing. —Chris] He regrets the error. Most of his reading since then has been devotional in nature, and he does not care to recount it.
from Questions for Ecclesiastes by Mark Jarman
There was a pious man upright as Job,
In fact, more pious, more upright, who prayed
The way most people thoughtlessly enjoy
Their stream of consciousness. He concentrated
On glorifying God, as some men let
Their minds create and fondle curving shadows.
And as he gained in bumper crops and cattle,
He greeted each success with grave amens.
So he was shocked, returning from the bank,
To see a flood bearing his farm away—
His cows, his kids, his wife, and all his stuff.
Swept off his feet, he cried out, “Why?” and sank.
And God grumped from his rain cloud, “I can’t say.
Just something about you pisses me off.”
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Pray the Rosary daily!