ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


A Poetry Slam, Moved From The Apollo Theatre To A Clothing Boutique

"By noon, a dozen poets had arrived. Several paced the sneaker section, frantically whispering their metaphors, anaphoras, and onomatopoeias to themselves; others scrolled TikTok. A few snapped approval as fellow-finalists recited pulsing trochees and accentual slant rhymes. Alex Guzman, a nervous sixteen-year-old who wore glasses held together with Scotch tape, wandered into an empty room at the back and bellowed his stanzas into the dark." - The New Yorker

Amazon Makes Deal To Lend Books Through The Digital Public Library of America

The deal represents a major step forward for the digital library market. Not only is Amazon Publishing finally making its digital content available to libraries, the deal gives libraries a range of models through which it can license the content, offering libraries the kind of flexibility librarians have long asked for from the major publishers. - Publishers Weekly

Why People Hate The Sound Of Their Own Voices

The discomfort we have over hearing our voices in audio recordings is probably due to a mix of physiology and psychology. For one, the sound from an audio recording is transmitted differently to your brain than the sound generated when you speak. - The Conversation

The Hidden Treasures Of The St. Louis Central Library

"First editions of Palladio and Alberti as well as 16th century printings of Vitruvius — oh, and first editions of Piranesi etchings that once belonged to the House of Lords. All of these sit behind glass and wood cabinets in an English country house library hidden within the I-Am-America-Hear-Me-Roar Gilded Age splendor." - The Daily Beast

Blake Bailey’s Philip Roth Biography, Withdrawn By W.W. Norton, Picked Up By New Publisher

The acclaimed but controversial bio was dropped by its original publisher after several women came forward with serious allegations of sexual misconduct on Bailey's part. The book is now in the hands of Skyhorse Publishing, which picked up Woody Allen's recent memoir after Hachette cancelled it and has also released titles by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, political dirty trickster and pardoned felon Roger Stone, and lawyer-to-famous-pariahs Alan Dershowitz. - The Guardian

The Guardian Newspaper Was Founded The Year Napoleon Died. It’s Been A Singular Enterprise Ever Since

Its history is peppered with financial crises and near-death experiences. Perhaps it was placed on earth to make “righteousness readable” (in the centenary words of Lord Robert Cecil), but the paper has nearly always struggled to make it remunerative. - New York Review of Books

And The Dylan Thomas Prize Goes To

Raven Leilani for Luster, her debut novel (which was also awarded the admiration of former President Barack Obama, but that's a different kind of prize). - LitHub

Chicago Had The Most Radical Advice Columnist Of The Roaring ’20s

That is, the '20s that were a century ago. Princess Mysteria's columns in The Defender "presented a stark contrast with other advice writing of the time, and not only because white advice columnists tended to toe a racist line when it came to matters of segregation and racial hierarchy, and rarely printed letters from Black correspondents. The columnist believed in women’s capacity for independence, and she addressed topics other columns wouldn’t touch, including premarital sex, rape, and abortion." - Slate

Where Should, Or Could, A Reader Start With Speculative Fiction From Africa?

As speculative fiction from African writers starts to gain mainstream press attention in the U.S. and U.K., readers might wonder where to start. Short story anthologies? A trilogy about an alien invasion of Lagos? (Yes, definitely.) But also, says writer Lavie Tidhar, "African literature is huge and diverse — from the Francophone works of West Africa to the Arabic powerhouses of Egypt and North Africa, not to mention such classic authors as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who wrote primarily in the Gikuyu language. ... We haven’t even mentioned local imprints, such as Umuzi in South Africa, which publish great genre fiction not available elsewhere." - Washington Post

In Paris, Bookstores Are Essential Landmarks – And Struggling To Survive

Paris has lost 30 percent of its independent bookshops in the last 20 years, despite a lot of government intervention: "Small shops qualify for subsidies. And rents are stabilized in pricey areas of the city. To keep book prices from dropping too low, the French parliament passed a law restricting Amazon from offering free delivery and a 5% discount across France." - NPR

The Shy Performance Poet Who Writes About Everything From Sex To Death

Hollie McNish, who once changed her name to "Hollie Poetry" - what she now calls "a search engine name" - says that sex and writing are linked: "All energy drives are linked. I’d call it an orgasm drive – an urge to make something specific from a dream inside your head or skin." - The Guardian (UK)

Writers Know All Too Well The Other American Epidemic

And it was one exacerbated by the virus - loneliness. - The New York Times

Novelist Brit Bennett Is Considering What To Think About Next

Her newest book is a deliberate picture of how America wasn't ever really great at all for quite a few people. And what's she considering now? She thinks we're all in recovery from the former president. "This is a person who colonised our brains for years. I don’t think there was a day in the last four years when we were not constantly reacting or commenting or reading about the things he was saying and doing, or weren’t being affected in a visceral way by his actions and his whims, his moods and emotions.And suddenly they’re just gone? It feels very surreal."- The Guardian (UK)

The Brontes Probably Died Young Because Of Their Water

It came from a graveyard. Or maybe some public privies. In any case, the water was very, very bad. - LitHub

Nobel Committee Was Nervous About Giving Prize To Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Fifty years on (as is the rule), documents on the deliberations for the 1970 prize have just been made public, and some committee members were genuinely concerned that awarding the Soviet dissident writer, who had already spent time in the gulag, would put him in danger. While Solzhenitsyn did win that year, he didn't collect his medal until after he was expelled from the USSR in 1974. - The Guardian

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