WRB—June 25, 2022
A lot of Philip Larkin sprinkled all around this one.
The WRB began
In twenty twenty-two
(Which was rather late for you)—
[If you appreciate the restraint I have shown by not subjecting anyone to a forced “The first Wet Leg LP” here, consider a paid subscription. —Chris]
To do list:
order a tote bag;
avail yourself of our world-famous classified ads, now stored on this page for non-paying readers to access, either by placing or responding to one [Lest you end up like Philip Larkin! (About which, see the poem toward the end of this email [for paid subscribers].) —Chris]; and,
Adam Roberts has a post on Medium exploring why it’s so typical of fantasy novels, like many other things in life and art, to come in threes, and examining a bit of what “fantasy” even means as a genre along the way.
And at The Paris Review, an excerpt from Elvia Wilk’s forthcoming collection of essays, on the secret lives of plants: “The possibility of plant consciousness cuts two ways, depending on whether you see plants as friend or foe, benevolent or threatening.”
Orion Magazine has a brief reflection on salt by Alexis Pauline Gumbs: “If you asked, I wouldn’t tell you, but it’s salt that keeps me going, not coffee. The way sodium is the main positive ion in all the extracellular fluids in our animal bodies. The way those fluids make the communication, waste removal, and nutrition of all my cells possible.”
Weʼd be remiss not to mention the Cheese Nun. Everyone loves the Cheese Nun.
For Bookforum’s new issue, Sasha Frere-Jones reviews a collection of Gary Indiana’s journalism: “It is the inescapable density of life that propels Indiana, a sense that experience deserves to be written about, but also that writing must not dissolve into the weak gas of opinion.”
And for 4 Columns a few weeks ago, she did that new Elizabeth Hardwick collection from NYRB: “Hardwick was ruthless, and so should we be with her. Her short pieces for Vogue, as far as I can tell, were done hungover with her eyes closed. Her 1976 riff on elections mentions Grendel and Kant and Hazlitt and Benjamin Franklin but none of the people on the ballot. The range of quality on show is extreme.”
In The Critic, we read that authorial dedications are out of control. [This seems a bit overwrought to me, but I did notice that their website is set with a particularly attractive body text. It’s Utopia. —Chris]
At Lithub, “Keith Gessen Explores the Often-Disturbing Biographies of Great Children’s Book Authors.” [You may remember we plugged a review of the book from which this is excerpted in the June 4, 2022 issue. —Chris]
The Times has a list of “The 25 Most Significant New York City Novels From the Last 100 Years.” If someone ever writes a novel that is not set in New York City, you, the readers of the WRB, will be the first to know.
The Boston Review has two writing contests closing on June 30: the Aura Estrada Short Story Contest and their Annual Poetry Contest.
The Smithsonian plans to put four new museums on the National Mall. [Big day for our local YIMBYs. —Nic]
August 9 | Norton
by Jana Prikryl
From the Publisher: In her third book, Jana Prikryl probes the notion of midlife, when past and future blur in the equidistance. Balancing formal innovation with deeply personal reflection, Midwood subtly but impiously explores love and sex and marriage and motherhood in plain, urgent language. Written for the most part early every morning over the course of a year, in all its changing seasons, Midwood includes a series of poems looking at and talking to trees; Prikryl’s careful attention to the ordinary world outside the window forms an alternative measure of time that leafs and ramifies. With their rapid shifts of scale and unusual directness, these poems find a new language for confronting our moment.
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