It’s a bird it’s a plane

I wonder if Scribner, publishers of Don Delillo’s Underworld (1997), thought much about their cover after September 11, 2001. Delillo’s novels work high off prophetic allusions, almost desperate for dystopia, so the cover detail above showing a bird approaching the side of one of the World Trade Center towers seems like sad good luck (not to mention the twin towers in his last name). No social commentary is complete without a passive-aggressively placed Cross, a solemn mark increasing the +3000 headcount by 1. It’s all math they say, the number of copies sold, which is why massive books are not sold by the pound. To be nominated for a National Book Award is to lose, no matter how shiny the embossed sticker is. If Don tells you that at a party, you’ll know he got that from me.

Author Spotlight / 25 Comments
June 2nd, 2010 / 7:32 pm

Read, Listen, Think, Go

DeLillo on NPR!

The Rumpus has got Steve Almond on “Why I Went Ahead and Self-Published.”

TNR’s The Book has reprinted Auden’s “A Preface to Kierkegaard” from their May 15, 1944 issue. First sentence: “In a just world, translators would be paid ten times as much as authors.”

NYT reports that the diary that Faulkner used as the inspiration for the grandfather’s ledger in Go Down, Moses has been discovered. “The original manuscript, a diary from the mid-1800s, was written by Francis Terry Leak, a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi whose great-grandson Edgar Wiggin Francisco Jr. was a friend of Faulkner’s since childhood. Mr. Francisco’s son, Edgar Wiggin Francisco III, now 79, recalls the writer’s frequent visits to the family homestead in Holly Springs, Miss., throughout the 1930s, saying Faulkner was fascinated with the diary’s several volumes. Mr. Francisco said he saw them in Faulker’s hands and remembers that he ‘was always taking copious notes.’ ”

The Poetry Foundation has got Tao Lin analyzing five love poems by Michael Earl Craig, Matthew Rohrer, Joshua Beckman, Chelsea Martin and Ben Lerner. Quoth Tao from the thesis: “I have limited my thoughts to a context of “romantic relationships.” I have included, as the last sentence of each set of thoughts, when I would most like to be forced to read each poem for the first time (if I hadn’t already read them).” And on Ben Lerner’s “Mad Lib Elegy”: “Out of the poems in this essay I think I would most be interested in a psychology experiment—of which I would also like to be a participant—where one hundred people who have just been “dumped” to emotionally devastating results in the past hour are forced to read this poem then interviewed about their experience, with accompanying brain-scans.”

Ian Vanek from Japanther on Note Books at Largehearted Boy— Note Books being the feature where musicians discuss books like they like, as opposed to Book Notes, where authors discuss music they like.

And for NYC folks, tonight is the Greatest Three Minute Rock N Roll Story Ever at Bar Matchless in Lower Greenpoint. I’ll be one of over a dozen readers, including Jami Attenberg, Zachary German, Kendra Grant Malone, Franz Nicolay, Lincoln Michel, and James Yeh, who is also hosting the event along with Jason Diamond of Vol 1 Brooklyn, which itself is the site I ganked the DeLillo and Japanther links from. Come on out and see us why don’tcha? There’ll be booze specials, The Wailing Wall will play, and each reading will run 3 minutes or less.

Random / 12 Comments
February 11th, 2010 / 11:30 am