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Wednesday October 31

IN BLURBS WE TRUST: Ever wonder about the recommendations of books by bookstores? Can you trust them? Well... "The sums involved are considerable: the leading high-street chain, W.H. Smith, charges £10,000 to call a book ‘Read of the Week’. Books etc.’s ‘Showcase’ and Borders’ ‘Best’ cost as much as £2,500, and Amazon demands £6,000 for its ‘Book of the Month’ endorsement. To have a book called ‘Latest Thing’ will set you back £15,000, and ‘Fresh Talent’, an accolade recently won by Richard Littlejohn, costs £2,850." The Spectator 10/20/01

ACADEMICS QUIBBLE OVER ACADEMIC LIFE: Harvard English Professor Marjorie Garber and Berkeley English Professor Frederick Crews both have new books out about their work. "Garber believes that academic jargon is actually 'language in action', marking 'the place where thinking has been', while Crews believes that it is the inscription on the tombstone of the place where thinking died." London Review 10/31/01

BIG BUCKS/LOW SALES: At a time when many serious writers have difficulty even getting published, publishers are paying millions of dollars to celebrities to pen books. But those books are rarely successes - either critically or at the cash register. In fact, they sell poorly. So why the big money? Poets & Writers 10/01

Monday October 29

THE GREAT NOVEMBER NOVEL: "National Novel Writing Month, where the aim is to produce a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days, starts on Wednesday. "What people need to do is just write and write anything that comes into their heads and if they did 50,000 words I'd be thrilled." Sydney Morning Herald 10/29/01

TAKING ON OPRAH: Writer Jonathan Franzen's criticism of Oprah's book club has brought him scorn from critics and other writers. "In a sense, the episode underscored how right Mr. Franzen was about the power of television and its transformation of literary culture. But the aftermath also showed that if there was ever a time in the book business when authors wrote to impress critics and their peers without regard to book sales, getting caught in that posture is now almost embarrassing." The New York Times 10/29/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday October 26

ANTHRAX SCARE POSTPONES POET: New American poet laureate Billy Collins "was to have read from his poetry Thursday night at the Library of Congress, one of the main duties of the poet laureate. The reading was canceled because of tests of the library buildings for anthrax and was tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 6." Nando Times (AP) 10/25/01

  • POETRY TO THE PEOPLE: America's new poet laureate Billy Collins "begins his very public year in Washington tonight with a reading at the Library of Congress. At age 60, he has become famous, as poets go, by touching something untrivial in people, without resorting to kitsch or pandering. He may be a poet of a sort not seen in America since Robert Frost. Though his poems are anything but ordinary, he manages to touch a large audience by using ordinary language, and by writing in and out of the dooryards of ordinary life." Boston Globe 10/25/01

CAMPAIGNING FOR OUR OWN: Columnist Noah Richler takes the Governor General Awards leadership to task for not including a book by his dad and that of a family friend for consideration for this year's awards. National Post (Canada) 10/26/01

Thursday October 25

PISSING OFF OPRAH: Jonathan Franzen's new book The Corrections is the most-hyped publishing project of the year. Among the stars aligning right for it was Oprah's decision to make it an Oprah Book Club selection. But then Franzen dissed O and her fans not once, but twice in the media. So Oprah withdrew the choice and Franzen's scrambled to apologize. Too late. "One can only wonder why Franzen went after her, and not once but twice, and in such ugly fashion. All she offered Franzen was a significantly increased readership. What's to not like? " Mobylives 10/24/01

  • ALL ABOUT THE STICKER: "Franzen didn't go so far as to reject Oprah per se. The essence of his complaint, as he cast it, was that the label signified not simply Oprah's endorsement of the book, but the book's endorsement of Oprah. Franzen seems to want us to believe that his anti-establishment sensibilities have been trampled." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/25/01

BOOKER BOOST: Peter Carey's "True History of the Kelly Gang has soared from 30th place to eighth in the British hardback fiction bestsellers list following last week's Booker win - selling 3,348 last week, compared with 436 the week before the prize announcement." But British readers evidently prefer runner-up Ian McEwan's Atonement, which was No.1 last week "selling 8,232 copies last week, about four times as many as the previous week." The Age (AAP) 10/25/01

BILLYBALL: When Billy Collins was named America's new poet laureate earlier this year, critics couldn't help but note that he was one of the few poets who actually makes decent money at his craft. "All of this man-bites-dog astonishment condescends to poetry, where such small sums count as fortunes. Yet the very existence of a 'popular poet' is reassuring for an art seemingly doomed to ivory-tower irrelevance." So what is so appealing about Collins' work that makes him stand out? The New Republic 10/23/01

HAS THE LITERARY SCENE CHANGED IN 20 YEARS? Let's see. Twenty years ago "Philip Roth was happily living with Claire Bloom. Salman Rushdie was just a mild-mannered lapsed Muslim with one novel under his belt. Allen Ginsberg was still alive and wandering the East Village. Zadie Smith turned five." Yep, things have changed. Village Voice Literary Supplement October 2001

AGAINST LOVE POETRY: It's the title of Irish poet Eavan Boland's new volume. "So much of European love poetry is court poetry, coming out of the glamorous traditions of the court. Love poetry, from the troubadours on, is traditionally about that romantic lyric moment. There's little about the ordinariness of love, the dailiness of love, or the steadfastness of love." The New Yorker 10/29/01

Wednesday October 24

GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SHORT LIST: Canada's Governor General Award for fiction announces its shortlist. Jane Urquhart and Richard B. Wright picked up nominations after earlier this month being named to the Giller fiction short list. "The other English fiction nominees for the GG awards, announced by the Canada Council for the Arts, are Yann Martel of Montreal for Life of Pi, Tessa McWatt of Toronto for Dragons Cry and Thomas Wharton of Edmonton for Salamander." Toronto Star 10/23/01

PUBLISHING-NOT-SO-ON-DEMAND: An on-demand publisher tries to put out a book of essays about September 11 in New York, with proceeds going to the Red Cross. But it turns out that "on-demand" is at the mercy of traditional distribution systems. Getting big distributors like Amazon to carry the book proves...how shall we say...a demanding proposition? Salon 10/20/01

OVERCOMING AGE: "Who has it worse: young writers or old? Ageism, it would appear, is a double-edged sword. In columns littering the opinion pages from London to New York to Toronto, the Old Guard and the Young Turks are lining up. Not, as one might have expected, to say who is best. As Robert Hughes has it, ours is a culture of complaint. The most important thing our artists have to establish is their victim credentials." GoodReports 10/24/01

Monday October 22

THE LITTLE MAGAZINE WITH BIG FANS: At its peak, Lingua Franca magazine had a circulation of only 15,000. Newstand sales never topped 2000. But its fans in academe were many - far beyond its circulation base, even as it announced it would shut down last week. "This can't work as a conventional business. It can only work as something dynamic and risky. It can only work for an investor who wants to do something dazzling and sexy to get attention." Chicago Tribune 10/22/01

THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR: Think America's war in Afghanistan is anything new? A hundred years ago the British were embroiled in the region. And "Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim – as well as his 1888 short story, The Man Who Would Be King – provide lessons on the risks the country now faces, even lessons on the quagmires of nation-building." Dallas Morning News 10/21/01

THE ESSENCE OF WRITING: "Literature is amoral, like biology, like physics, like the universe itself – and like the letters of the alphabet we use. Literature is an energy, an imaginative energy, which reflects all aspects of human nature. It is not part of our schoolmastering, but part of our learning in a wider and more imaginative sense. It teaches us to refute simplicities, simplicities which neatly separate good and evil. Above all, it is not just a set of cautionary or exemplary tales, but unpredictable, awkwardly shaped, not leading directly to bigger salaries and wages." The Independent (UK) 10/22/01

Sunday October 21

THE WRITER AS CELEBRITY: "In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century many successful and much-admired authors were unknown to the general public and to their readers - unknown in the sense that their appearance, their personalities, their habits, and their private lives were indeed private." How different from today, when writers have become performing animals and every aspect of their lives is open to scrutiny in the press. The Guardian (UK) 10/20/01

Friday October 19

ALL ABOUT BOOK(ER) SALES: The honor's nice, but Peter Carey's Booker Prize win will sell a lot of his books. "When Peter won in 1988 with Oscar and Lucinda, we released the paperback edition on the day that it was announced. We printed 20,000 and didn't know if it was going to be the stock for a day or a year. We sold them in an hour, and in the next six months sold 200,000 copies." The Age (Melbourne) 10/19/01

Thursday October 18

CAREY TAKES BOOKER: Australian writer Peter Carey has won this year's Booker Prize. "Carey, 58, is only the second writer in the Booker's 32-year history, after JM Coetzee, to win twice." The Guardian (UK) 10/18/01

LINGUA FRANCA SUSPENDS PUBLICATION: The current issue is coming out, but work on the next has stopped. "While Lingua Franca never turned a profit and its circulation hovered around 15,000, news of its apparent demise elicited exclamations of dismay in the world of letters." The New York Times 10/16/01 (one-time registration required for access)

  • BRILL'S CONTENT FOLDS: "Yesterday, after sputtering for years, Brill's Content magazine suspended publication, ending a three-year run of dissecting the personalities, obsessions and machinations of news organizations." The New York Times 10/16/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Wednesday October 17

LOOKING FOR SHAKESPEARE: Who was William Shakespeare? Some say he was the "17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. Oxford was eminently equipped to tackle the range and scope evident in Shakespeare's work: because of his education (arts, law, sciences), his renowned excellence in letters, his prowess at sports and arms, his travels in Italy and France, his patronage of literary and scientific contemporaries." Sydney Morning Herald 10/17/01

  • BUT NOT THAT THEORY: "The Oxfordian case is founded in snobbery, the idea that a non-aristocratic lad from the country could never have had the talent or insight to write such masterpieces." Sydney Morning Herald 10/17/01

EXPECT A RUN ON PIPES AND WEIRD HATS: "For devotees of Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's most famous detective, and his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the game will be afoot in Toronto this weekend. About 250 fans from around the world are expected at a conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of the most famous Holmes work, The Hound of the Baskervilles." National Post (CP) 10/17/01

Tuesday October 16

BAILING ON THE BOOKER: Booker Prize sponsor Iceland, a frozen food producer, is announcing it is withdrawing from sponsoring Britain's top literary prize. The company says that "new sponsors should be found for the literary competition as it sees 'no commercial link' between its supermarket business and the literary award. Iceland inherited the prize only because of a merger with food group Booker in 2000." BBC 10/16/01

DEFINING AMERICAN HIGHBROW OF THE 50s: "The concept of a highbrow culture, the culture of great books and the like, depends on the concept of a lowbrow, or popular, culture, whose characteristics highbrow culture defines itself against. Of course, there have always been good books and bad books, serious music and easy listening, coterie art and poster art. Making those distinctions is easy if you just put everything on a continuum, and rank things from worst to best. The mid-century notion of highbrow culture required something different—it required a rupture between the high and the low, an absolute difference, not a relative one." The New Yorker 10/15/01

THE NOBEL FOR LITERATURE: There is second-guessing almost every year; still, most winners since World War Two have been substantial literary figures. Much better choices, in fact, than "the bewildering early choices of the Nobel Committee, so obscure as to appear now wilfully blind. They were not the choices of Nobel himself, of course, but of the members of the Swedish Academy trying to guess what the repentant merchant of death would like." Boston Review 10/01

  • Previously: NAIPAUL WINS NOBEL IN LITERATURE: "The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2001 is awarded to the British writer, born in Trinidad, V.S. Naipaul 'for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories'. V.S. Naipaul is a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice." Nobel Institute (Sweden) 10/11/01

REMEMBERING HOW YOU GOT THERE: Joyce Carol Oates says she writes all the time - and she must, considering her prodigious output. But she remembers how and where she started. "She still sends short stories into The Prairie Schooner, a literary magazine at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, one of the first places that published her work. And she spoke Saturday at the magazine's 75th anniversary celebration." Washington Times (AP) 10/16/01

Monday October 15

BRAVE CHOICE: V.S. Naipaul is the Nobel Institute's bravest choice in years for the literature prize. "In choosing him as this year's laureate for literature, the Nobel committee has allowed the controversial Naipaul's influence - his aura - to accrue to the prize as much as the other way around." Salon 10/14/01

AWARDS TOM CLANCY WILL NEVER WIN: "A German philosopher and sociologist who has captured - and at times defined - the Zeitgeist of postwar Germany was honored Sunday with the Frankfurt Book Fair's Peace Prize, the event's highest honor. Juergen Habermas is renowned for his talent of pointing out deficits in the values held by Western society, including democracy and equality. His writings have been translated into dozens of languages and he has been compared to the late philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre." Nando Times (AP) 10/14/01

THE NON-FICTION SQUEEZE: "Nonfiction, or nonfiction that masquerades as fiction, nonfiction that aspires to be fiction, nonfiction that wants to be fiction when it grows up, is in sudden, best-selling vogue." It's squeezing out fiction. This is not a good thing. San Francisco Bay Guardian 10/12/01

THE WEAKEST 'LINK' EXCUSE: "Frozen food retailer Iceland will announce on Wednesday that it intends to withdraw from sponsorship of the Booker prize. The current sponsor will say that new sponsors should be found for the literary competition as it sees 'no commercial link' between its supermarket business and the literary award." BBC 10/15/01

THE VAGARIES OF FACT OR FICTION: A Toronto politician trying to get elected is haunted by a book he wrote years ago that contains unsavory details of his life. He claims the book was fiction, but the book was marketed as a true story. "The non-fiction novel and gonzo journalism have blurred the line between fact and fiction, and a controversy like this highlights the difficulty in keeping them apart." Good Reports 10/15/01

E-BOOK SPUTTER: "Electronic publishing has turned its focus to niche markets at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair as the industry admits most readers would still rather curl up with a book than a bulky screen. In contrast with the euphoria of last year, when some electronic publishers predicted paper books would become museum pieces within a generation, the industry has scaled back its ambitions since the crisis that struck the new economy." National Post (Canada) 10/15/01

Sunday October 14

LANGUAGE BARRIER: One of the greatest challenges confronting European publishers is successfully translating foreign books into the local language without losing any of the style, meaning, or minutiae of the original. A mediocre translation can mean the difference between a success and a failure on the market, and many publishers are loath to take the risk. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/12/01

CHASING THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN NOVEL: Once upon a time, Australian writers loved to tackle big, global ideas and wide-ranging philosophical subtexts in their work. But these days, it seems that every new novel to hit the bestseller list is narrowly focused, specifically targeted, and just so gosh-darned local. Whatever happened to collective experience? Sydney Morning Herald 10/13/01

GOLDIE WON'T BE STARRING IN IT, WILL SHE? "Film rights to a newly published Mark Twain novelette have been sold by the Buffalo library to the Hollywood production company owned by movie stars Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Cosmic Entertainment will have exclusive rights to "A Murder, A Mystery and a Marriage," written by Twain in 1876 but published for the first time this year, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library executives said Thursday." Baltimore Sun (AP) 10/12/01

IMMODEST, MAYBE, BUT STILL NOBEL: This year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, V.S. Naipaul, is nothing if not aware of his own accomplishments. He claims, among other things, to have helped bring India into modern times through his writing, and to have helped "educate" the country's population. Not everyone appreciated the help: "The trouble with people like me writing about societies where there is no intellectual life is that if you write about it, people are angry." BBC 10/12/01

Friday October 12

SOME E-BOOKS MAKE MONEY: Prize money, that is. Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh won the $50,000 Grand Prize for Fiction, and American journalist Steven Levy won the Grand Prize for non-fiction at the Frankfurt Book Fair. To be eligible for the competition, "entrants must include technical enhancements that distinguish the ebook from its printed version." The Guardian (UK) 11/12/01

COMING TO TERMS WITH AN OLD FRIEND/ENEMY: Think of Ödön von Horváth as Germany's answer to Garrison Keillor - a much-beloved writer and teller of tales about his hometown that make locals distinctly uncomfortable. But unlike Keillor's fictional town of Lake Wobegon, Horváth's Murnau really does exist, and his airing of the burg's dirty laundry for his own literary gain has not sat well with the natives. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/11/01

Thursday October 11

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEES: The two most widely (some might say flagrantly) publicized books of the past year were Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections, and David McCullough's literary biography John Adams. Nominees for the National Book Awards have been announced; Franzen made the list, McCullough didn't. The National Book Foundation has its own website, listing all nominees in all categories. Nando Times 10/11/01

MAYBE IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EASY: James Joyce's Ulysses may be the best and surely is one of the most complex novels of the twentieth century. Four years ago Macmillan published a new edition, inserting material from the author's unused manuscript material to produce an easier-to-read version. Now the trustees of the Joyce estate are suing for copyright infringement because the Macmillan edition "altered some of the author's original punctuation, spelling and name places." The Guardian (UK) 10/10/01

A NEW GOLDEN AGE OF PHILOSOPHY? If the Frankfurt Book Fair is any indication, Europe is about to be hit with a wave of high-minded philosophy tomes and arts books that address the more abstract, existential elements of art. Such books had fallen out of fashion for a time, but publishers apparently think the public is ready to embrace them again. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/10/01

NAIPAUL WINS NOBEL IN LITERATURE: "The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2001 is awarded to the British writer, born in Trinidad, V.S. Naipaul 'for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories'. V.S. Naipaul is a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice." Nobel Institute (Sweden) 10/11/01

Wednesday October 10

POOH BEAR AT 75: Yes, it's true. Winnie-ther-Pooh (don't you know what "ther" means?) turns 75 years old this week, and A.A. Milne's classic tales of childhood, imagination, and the Hundred Acre Wood are as popular as they ever were. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/10/01

SEX, BOOZE, AND SCHMOOZING: Is the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference really all that it's cracked up to be? "What I believe is that you can make people better writers," says its director. On the other hand, says a (now former) faculty member, "This place is the shocking culmination of all that is foolish and ill-conceived in the writing programs. The boosterism, the childishness, the prolonged collegiate atmosphere. It's like a fucking parody." The New Yorker 10/15/01

TO DISCUSS A MOCKINGBIRD: For the past couple weeks, everyone (well, nearly) in Chicago has been reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is the week they're supposed to gather and discuss the book. So, what are they saying? One of the city's papers assembled a not-quite typical panel to find out. Chicago Sun-Times 10/09/01

TAKING ON THE BIG BOYS: In Germany, small and medium-sized presses struggle daily against the larger corporate publishing houses to maintain their small share of the market. But "[u]nlike the United States, where 80 percent of the publishing industry is dominated by just five companies, more than 90 percent of the roughly 2,000 German book publishers remain independent." In fact, in the battle between the many Davids and the few Goliaths, the little guys have been winning more than they're losing. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/09/01

THE POEM, THE TEMPLE, THE PEOPLE: The temple at Angkor Wat incorporates a poem which has never been translated into English, and never before been the subject of academic study. Now it is being studied, and translated; it's expected to reveal much about the history and culture of the Khmer people, going back to the twelfth century. Humanities (NEH) October 01

Tuesday October 9

CAREY COLLECTION SNUBBED: "The National Library of Australia has declined to buy a collection of the early personal archives of Australian author Peter Carey, prompting a claim that they are likely to be sold overseas." Carey is one of the country's most prominent and outspoken authors, and is considered a favorite to win his second Booker prize this month. The Age (Melbourne) 10/09/01

MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING: In fact, if your book sells only eight copies, it's just about nothing. Still, that could be enough to get you noticed. It got one book nominated for Wednesday's Frankfurt eBook Awards. Wired 10/09/01

Monday October 8

WRITERLY ATTACK: B.R. Myers provoked the biggest literary debate of the year this summer when he wrote in The Atlantic that much of contemporary fiction was not worthy of attention, then attacked critics and the literary establishment for maintaining the status quo. The counterattacks came predictably, but the most bizarre might have been by Judith Shulevitz in The New York Times... Mobylives 10/07/01

TODAY'S LIT GOING CRIT? Is contemporary literature doomed to be forgotten? "Philip Roth . . . said this: Literature 'will probably more or less disappear except in a cultic way over the next 25 years. . . . The screen did it, didn't it? . . . The human mind prefers the screen to the page. There's nothing we can do about it.' Then Naipaul was quoted in the Guardian of London this month as saying this: 'Nearly everything written in the last century will crumble away to dust - all the novels. In every novel written now, there's an element of mimicry.' " Washington Post 10/08/01

Friday October 5

WINNING THE HARD WAY: Later this month Peter Carey could be only the second writer to win the Booker Prize twice. He just won Australia's top literary prize, but it was a peculiar win. Frank Moorhouse had been announced as the winner, but two hours later Moorhouse was told there had been a mistake and that Carey had won. Sydney Morning Herald 10/05/01

CANADIAN BOOK PRIZE FINALISTS: Canadian literature is hot these days. So paying attention to the Giller Prize, Canada's top literary award, is a good idea. The list of previous winners includes a Who's Who of Canadian writers. But this year, the six finalists are relative unknowns, including a first-time novelist. National Post (Canada) 10/05/01

Thursday October 4

THE GILLER SHORT LIST: Six finalists have been chosen from among 78 books for the $25,000 Giller Prize, one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards. The winner will be announced next month at an awards dinner which "has become the social event of the season for the Canadian literary crowd." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/04/01

TAKING BACK THE PRIZE: Frank Moorhouse was told he had won the Victorian Premiere's Literary Prize for his first novel. He'd even started spending the $20,000 prize in his head. Then came a call from his agent. "Although the State Library, which administers the awards, earlier that day had confirmed his win in calls to the media, it had subsequently retracted his name, saying a 'typo' had been made." The Age (Melbourne) 10/04/01

READERS DEMAND BOOK COVERAGE: Last spring, the San Francisco Chronicle cut back its books section to save money, incorporating it into another section of the paper. But so many readers complained that "on Sunday, the Chronicle's readers will get what they want - and more - when the newspaper debuts its new Book Review, a broadsheet-size, stand-alone section that will wrap around Datebook." Los Angeles Times 10/04/01

UNFILTERED ACCESS: New federal regulations say that public libraries will lose federal funding if they don't filter out objectionable material from computers in the libraries. "There are over 160,000 school and public libraries in the United States; Many stand to lose much-needed federal funding if they don't follow requirements." Now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to keep filters off library computers. Wired 10/04/01

Wednesday October 3

THE SCIENCE OF LIT PRIZES: Okay, so this year's crop of Canadian novels isn't so captivating as last year's. But there's still a Giller Prize to be handed out, and there's no reason we can't come up with a fairly scientific formula for how to choose the short list... isn't there? National Post 10/03/01

Tuesday October 2

AN OLD ORDER PASSES: With thirty miles of shelving, Foyles in London is generally regarded as the world's biggest bookshop. And until recently, it was one of the most old-fashioned. Traditions have been changing, however, and it may no longer be the gathering spot for "women wearing big hats who live in Knightsbridge and Kensington." The Guardian (UK) 10/01/01

LITERARY LIST: Robert Belknap has written a dissertation that looks at "the list" as a literary construct. "Lists are deliberate structures, built with care and craft, and perfectly suited to rigorous analysis. They compile a history, gather evidence, order and organize phenomena, present an agenda of apparent formlessness, and express a multiplicity of voices and experiences." It's an original idea - so why can't he get a teaching job or get his dissertation published? Chronicle of Higher Education 10/01/01

Monday October 1

THE END OF WRITING (IN SF)? A San Francisco writer leaves town feeling unappreciated. "Outside of academia, nobody seems interested in reading anymore. I'm saying this not to generate pity but to present a tough fact: technology and entertainment are leading the way to a sort of glossy, cushy dark age. When people say they want 'the arts' in San Francisco, what they really mean is they want Entertainment – yummy restaurants, Frappuccinos, road companies of Broadway shows, virtual bowling, clubs." San Francisco Bay Guardian 10/01/01

TEACHING WRITING: Can you teach good writing? "What you can't teach, it seems to me, is the right kind of observation or the right kind of interpretation of what has been observed. It worries me to think of all those earnest pupils who have diligently mastered the mechanics, wondering with varying degrees of misery and rage why the finished recipe just hasn't somehow worked. Washington Post 09/30/01

POWER OF POETRY: Many have chosen poetry as a way to express their feelings after September 11. "Almost immediately after the event, improvised memorials often conceived around poems sprang up all over the city, in store windows, at bus stops, in Washington Square Park, Brooklyn Heights and elsewhere. And poems flew through cyberspace across the country in e-mails from friend to friend." The New York Times 10/01/01 (one-time registration required for access)

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