I return to certain passages in my favorite reviews — and not only book reviews — as if they were poems: Manny Farber describing John Wayne as “focusing only on a tiny present area, nibbling at it with engaging professionalism and a hipster sense of how to sit in a chair leaned against the wall”; Robert Christgau asking of Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Why do I believe this Nashville liberal showers three times a day and doesn’t think sex is the right place to get your face wet?”
books you need to read in yr 20s
BuzzFeed included my book, Alien vs. Predator, on their list of 65 Books You Need to Read in Yr 20s. This was very kind of them (although I didn’t read my book in my 20s). But I hope no twentysomethings are taking BuzzFeed lists seriously, because with two or three exceptions these are not books you need to read in yr 20s. Most of them are not books you ever need to read, but in yr 20s you should be reading: Joyce, Whitman, Stein, Emerson, Nietzsche, Plato, Dante, Hegel, Williams, Pound, Melville, Kant, Homer, Marx, Stevens, Eliot, O’Connor, Wordsworth, Bishop, Donne, Johnson, Blake, Rilke, Shakespeare, Celan, Susan Howe, Dickinson, Keats, Beckett, Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Benjamin, Welty, Thoreau, & about a hundred other writers who aren’t on this list.
Janet Malcolm can write. Yes she can. She wrote about some artists & stuff. I reviewed what she wrote here. I quoted my sister’s email without telling her. I like art. It’s so much like snow.
My review of country trio Pistol Annies is now up at SPIN magazine (they cut my favorite line—”Take back the night cream, sister”).
My review of Susan Wheeler’s Meme is up at Books & Culture:
Reviewed two books on drone warfare for the Chicago Tribune (have to link thru twitter to get around paywall):
In a way, it all began with the collapse of the Soviet empire. The raison d’être of the Central Intelligence Agency and American military might evaporated between 1989 and 1991. Washington and Langley might not always realize it, but one of the main reasons the United States has been uninterruptedly at war since the ’40s — either officially or by proxy, somewhere in the world — is that state military spending has been a primary fuel of capitalist growth….
I have a new poem in The New Yorker this week. You can hear me reading it on the tablet edition, or something.
Pleased with how this review of Charles Simic, for the Chicago Trib’s Printers Row, turned out (follow link from twitter):