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  • Spread @11:00PM, 2017-03-25
    Tags: atlas myth, bodybuilding, literature   

    The Literature of Bodybuilding 

    [Via The Paris Review] The Atlas myth is a critical part of bodybuilding lore, an eternally recurring ur-story. From the famed Greek wrestler Milo of Croton, who allegedly invented resistance training by toting a calf on his back and increasing the load as it gained weight, down to the tales of men like Lou Ferrigno, who fashioned weights out of milk jugs and sand, bodybuilding stories are, at base, creation myths. Something muscular is forged from frail nothingness, and the creator lives happily ever after. (Milo, the story goes, was eaten by wolves or lions after getting stuck in the tree he was attempting to split with his bare hands, but at least he perished doing what he loved.)

    Read the rest

  • Spread @6:16AM, 2017-03-24
    Tags: , literature, walt whitman   

    The Claustrophobic Paranoia of Walt Whitman’s Lost Novel 

    Via The New Yorker – Late one night last May, Zachary Turpin, a graduate student in the English department at the University of Houston, sat in bed next to his sleeping wife and daughter, hunting for lost works by Walt Whitman on his laptop. Turpin has spent untold hours poring over journals, letters, and other ephemera in the Walt Whitman Archive, noticing the poet’s distinctive phrases and cadences; that night, he was searching through old newspapers, hoping to find echoes of that prose. In an 1852 issue of the New York Daily Times (the newspaper dropped the word “daily” in 1857), he found a small advertisement for a novel that was to be serialized, anonymously, in another publication, the Sunday Dispatch. The novel was called “The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle.” Whitman had used the name Jack Engle in his journals. The ad’s grandiose copy also felt Whitmanian: it promised “an Auto-Biography, in which will be handled the Philosophy, Philanthropy, Pauperism, Law, Crime, Love, Matrimony, Morals, &c., which are characteristic of this great City at the present time.” Turpin wrote to the Library of Congress to request a scan of the newspaper in which the novel first appeared. “As it turns out, Jack Engle is the real thing,” he writes, in the introduction to the novel, which has just been republished by the University of Iowa Press. Whitman wrote the book while he was working as a contractor—he built houses—and writing “Leaves of Grass,” which he published in 1855. Only a single original copy has survived, in the six consecutive numbers of the Sunday Dispatch housed in the Library of Congress.

    Read the rest from The New Yorker

  • Spread @6:03AM, 2016-07-13
    Tags: , literature, neruda, ,   

    Neruda @112 

    Sonnet XVII
    by Pablo Neruda

    I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
    or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
    I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
    in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that never blooms
    but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
    thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
    risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
    I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
    so I love you because I know no other way

    than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
    so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
    so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

  • Spread @3:31AM, 2016-02-04
    Tags: , joan didion, literature,   

    From Didion the Writer to Didion the Legend 

    Joan Didion arrived in Los Angeles in 1964 on the way to becoming one of the most important writers of her generation, a cultural icon who changed L.A.’s perception of itself. Lili Anolik mines the author’s early years to examine Didion before all that.

    Read the rest from Vanity Fair

  • Titus Toledo @10:30AM, 2016-01-28
    Tags: , finnegans wake, fractals, james joyce, literature,   

    Literary multifractals 

    James Joyce, Julio Cortazar, Marcel Proust, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Umberto Eco. Regardless of the language they were working in, some of the world’s greatest writers appear to be, in some respects, constructing fractals. Statistical analysis carried out at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, however, revealed something even more intriguing. The composition of works from within a particular genre was characterized by the exceptional dynamics of a cascading (avalanche) narrative structure. This type of narrative turns out to be multifractal. That is, fractals of fractals are created.

    Read the rest from phys.org

  • Spread @5:34AM, 2015-12-11
    Tags: , literary life, literature,   

    Should Writing Be an Art or a Career? 

    There’s a very funny photograph taken by Brassaï of Pablo Picasso posing in his Paris studio. Picasso had acquired a giant oil painting of a nude woman from an antique shop, and he strikes an affected pose before it, his brush poised and his little finger extended, as though he’s preparing to make the finishing touch on a masterwork. The actor Jean Marais is stretched out on the floor beside him, pretending to serve as the model despite being fully dressed. The target of the joke is clear: Picasso was ridiculing the pretensions and conventions of the professional painter. “I am not a professional artist,” Brassaï recounts him repeating, “as if he were claiming innocence of a slander.”

    The same question vexes literature, too: Is writing an art or a career, or can it be both? The Unprofessionals, the title of a new anthology of American writing from The Paris Review, defines itself against the emergence of a hyper-professionalized breed of fiction writer. In his preface to the anthology, editor Lorin Stein laments that a familiarity with social media has made young authors almost unthinkingly proficient as publicists for themselves and their friends. Even in M.F.A. programs, he argues, the tricks of self-promotion have been woven into the craft of writing, resulting in “less close reading, less real criticism, lower standards, and less regard for artistic, as opposed to commercial, success. … Young writers, in other words, were encouraged to think of themselves as professionals: to write long and network hard.”

    Read the rest from New Republic

  • Spread @5:31AM, 2015-12-11
    Tags: flash fiction, literature,   

    A Crash Course in Flash Fiction 

    Because of this expectation, many critics, authors, and readers are quick to dismiss short forms like flash, micro, and short-short fiction as superficial, i.e. lacking depth in plot, character, and setting. Others see these forms as a symptom of our increasingly shortening attention spans, our desire to consume quickly and without much reflection. One consistent argument is that flash fiction, despite its ongoing popularity, simply doesn’t have that quintessential “staying power” of longer stories or novels. They don’t, in other words, linger.

    Rooted in the oral tradition, fairy tales have survived for thousands of years precisely because they employ techniques like brevity, repetition, flatness, abstraction, and shock—mechanisms designed to aid the brain with retention and recall. And these stories have not only lingered, but lasted for thousands of years. They did so not because of their specificity or depth, but because they emulate cultural patterns, build community, provide comfort, and offer up new ways to see and interact with the world.

    Read the rest from Literary Hub

  • Spread @4:13AM, 2015-12-11
    Tags: , emily dickenson, literature,   

    Called Back 

    Emily Dickinson published only ten poems. Printed in various newspapers, her verses all appeared anonymously. It was not some failure of contemporary taste but her own decision that kept the rest of her poetry private. Dickinson wrote in one poem that “Publication—is the Auction / Of the Mind of Man—” and indeed she seems to have felt there was something crass, even violative about fixing one’s words in a particular arrangement of type, surrendering them for a price.

    Read the rest from The Paris Review

  • Rosendo Makabali @5:12AM, 2015-09-04
    Tags: absurd, , , literature   

    Kafka's Pop Cultural Inheritors 

    Many writers and directors make a touchstone of the absurdity and mordant humor of Kafka’s prose, and while some of us may only be vaguely acquainted with his fiction (his work The Metamorphosis was published 100 years ago) the works of his creative heirs are more likely to be immediately familiar.
    Read the rest from Biographile

  • Spread @12:08AM, 2015-08-14
    Tags: literature, pens, ,   

    Writers & Their Favorite Tools 

    I am not alone in my intense relationship to the tools of the writing trade, so I thought I’d ask some writers I deeply admire about their favorite pens and pencils. The first person who came to mind was Mary Norris, author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and a copy editor for The New Yorker.

    Source: Writers and Their Favorite Tools ‹ Literary Hub

  • Titus Toledo @1:53AM, 2015-08-05
    Tags: , literature, ,   

    Kurt Vonnegut: so it goes 

    “I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did’.” —Kurt Vonnegut

  • Titus Toledo @2:53AM, 2015-07-14
    Tags: , literature, ,   

    Poetry Mathematics 


    2.1. ( a ) What is literal in poetry must be in some significant way (aspect, regard) incomplete, so that there is no complete discernable literal proposition. ( b ) This is a feature of the idea that poetry, as its mathematics, must be both incomprehensible and incontrovertible.

    2.2. Poetry differs from nonsense in being incontrovertible.
    It cannot be proved to be nonsense, that nothing is being said.

    2.3. The classics are static. They do not change.

    2.4. A greater amount of emotion is the effect of a greater
    work of art.

    2.5. No one is capable of understanding poetry except for
    the poet.

    2.6. My actions mimic yours. This is what is known
    as meter.

    2.7. “Form” is what we call the appearance of chaos.

    —Read the rest from thebatterseareview.com

  • Titus Toledo @3:52AM, 2015-07-04
    Tags: , , , literature   

    We need the books that affect us like a disaster 


    Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle. I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief. —Kafka

    here: http://amzn.to/1JJXgNq

  • Spread @1:58AM, 2013-11-11
    Tags: code poetry, literature, robert frost   

    15 Poems For Your Smartphone 

    Poem by Robert Frost

    Poem by Robert Frost

    —Via Buzzfeed

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