March 22, 2006

The Brass of Some Authors
Need to get to heaven? There’s a solution. Quick. Maybe easy. (That one is up for debate.) Read Rukhnama three times. That’s the tome of Turkmenistan’s President Saparmurat Niyazov. The Guardian quotes him as having asked Allah for that highway to the pearly gates. That’s a book deal.

What’s VQR? Everyone Knows Now
VQR is a “national journal of literature and discussion,” and that sounds like the description of scores of other literary magazines. There’s one enviable difference. The magazine was nominated for six National Magazine Awards—for general excellence, two for fiction, two for essays, and for reviews and criticisms—beating out arper’s, Esquire, GQ, and Atlantic Monthly. Meghan O’Rourke goes into the history of the magazine dark horse for Slate.

The World’s Screwed Up
Edward Wyatt writes in today’s New York Times: “Knock-offs of the The Da Vinci Code, made-up memoirs, and accounts of life with ornery pets are selling tens of thousands of hardcover copies a week. But publishers say there is no harder sell in the world of books these days than literary fiction.” To pinch a penny and to gain longer shelf-life, publishers, such as Grove/Atlantic, are issuing paperback versions of books, such as White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway.

Peak at Award-Winning Short Story
The Willesden Herald is a long-running group blog from the streets of Willesden in London. This year, one of the joint winners of its annual short story competition, judged by local resident Zadie Smith, was part-time tiler and sometime writer Mikey Delgado. Pretend Genius Press is to publish his story in a new anthology called Fish Drink Like Us, due out in April; until then, you can read it in full here.” That’s the promise of the Guardian.

Poetry Workshop—Now
Sometimes it’s the very contradictions in a poem, the presence of two or more opposing forces pulling at each other, or interacting, that give the poem its power and energy, as if it were driven along by that friction and struggle.” That’s the opening of awarding-winning poet Jane Duran’s workshop available here.

Brokeback Debate in Print
James Schamus and Joel Conarroe take on Daniel Mendelsohn and his review of Brokeback Mountain in the The New York Review of Books, and I wondered how much of what they write about the movie’s theme relates to the Annie Proulx novel.


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