How to See the World
"I believe that poetry at its best is found rather than written," writes poet Linda Gregg in "The Art of Finding." Maybe luminosity is the quality poets hope to find most, she adds. But seeking and finding are not the entirety of a poem. "At the start, let us agree that the poet must master the elements of his craft: the rhythm, the strategies, the importance of compression, when to use rhyme and when not to use it--all of that," she writes. "But at the same time, we have to acknowledge that the craft must not become the content of the poem. It must not become an end in itself."
Sites You'll Probably Like
Quote of the Week
"What we’re looking for, what we’re trying to grasp, is not there, will never be there; yet looking for just that thing is what made some turn to art. Art is not about things, but about the remembrance and the interpretation of things, not about time, but about the inflection of time. Art sees footprints, not feet, luster, not light, resonance, not sound."
Memoir vs. Journalism vs. Bloggers
In "The Problem with the Problem of Memoir," The Rumpus founder Stephen Elliott takes issue with yet another criticism of memoirs and personal essays that appears in The Gawker. In "Journalism is Not Narcissism," Hamilton Nolan disapproves of what he identifies as a disturbing trend: encouraging young journalists to write more about themselves than the world around them. "Left unsaid in most discussions of this sort of writing is the fact that most people's lives are not that interesting," he writes. Elliott responds, "It’s easy to point to bad memoirs and use them to attack the entire form but the form is never the problem. When you attack personal writing you attack Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, and Sylvia Plath." Read the comments under each piece for further insights into what readers expect from writers of journalism and memoir.
And Furthermore . . .
Count British novelist Zadie Smith among those who are not very interested in writing about their own lives publicly. "A little goes a long way with me," she confesses in an interview shortly after her first-person piece, "Joy," appeared in The New York Review of Books. Smith also discusses the relationship between writing style and fashion, her early career, and the pleasures and perils of writing: "You think I don’t have anxiety every day about being a writer? Incredible! Of course, yes, I don’t come from a background in which being a writer was even a conceivable fantasy. Of course. But the way I deal with things is to focus on the page I’m writing. Otherwise I’d find it impossible to work at all." Joyce Carol Oates described Smith's latest novel, NW, as "an urban epic."