• This profile of Bret Easton Ellis is about a hundred times more interesting than you’d think. Or, than I thought it’d be. Ellis’ novels aren’t favorites but I think they’re smarter thought experiments than they get credited for (if sometimes wildly uneven in the follow through). For cultural juxtaposition, I suggest reading the profile while viewing this terrifying footage of Demi Moore talking about her “leech therapy.”
(First link via TEV.)
• Three books I’m desperate to read, with links to the why’s and wherefore’s so you can be desperate to read them too: Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem, Roger Deakin’s Wildwood, and Richard Fortey’s Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. I’m also already hearing great things about Jincy Willett’s new novel, The Writing Class, which comes out in June.
• From the vaults: Marianne Moore’s zealous editing wasn’t confined to her friends’ poems, she was just as active at hacking away at her own. In a 2003 essay for The Believer, Dan Chiasson writes:
“Omissions are not accidents,” was the adage, self-minted, that served as the epigraph to Moore’s 1967 Complete Poems. That book was anything but “complete,” except in the sense of “finished off.” It seemed more a tally of subtractions than additions; Moore had radically revised some poems, and radically erased others. The resulting dainty book misrepresented her, and Moore has seemed, though never less interesting, somehow less ambitious than her male counterparts, Stevens, Eliot, and Williams.
Grace Schulman’s new collected Moore, The Poems of Marianne Moore (November 2003), prints every significant poem Moore wrote, including many she later suppressed and several she never printed at all. It is not a desecration of Moore to do so; as Schulman points out, “change” was at the heart of her aesthetic, and had she lived another thirty years she most surely would have found her own Complete Poems inadequate.