Linda Gregerson: The Pun-Ish Potential of Language

Excerpt from LA Review of Books:

Gregerson loves the pun-ish potential of language, the way the entangled accidents of time, circumstance, want, and will make meaning possible, and she frequently builds a poem around the unlikely marriages a single word makes. If the characteristic unit of much poetry is metaphor — the discovery of underlying likeness in seemingly unlike things — Gregerson is just as likely to turn that on its head, rhyming essentially unlike things based on surface likenesses. It’s a model of the ways in which she seems to love the world: not for what it hides but what it shows.


Gregerson has made the activity of her thinking into the driving force behind the language she uses, writing after clarity rather than for heft.

Read the full here.


Amrita Dutta: Revisiting Pride and Prejudice in India

Excerpt from Indian Express:

While the most sensitive of her students realise that it is not a straightforward romance, a superficial reading can, ironically, reinforce the necessity of marriage.

Of her book, Austen complained that “it was too light and bright, and sparkling; it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense.” She seemed to anticipate its appropriation by pop culture into a romance between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, a pastel-pink teddy bear wrapped with a red bow.

Read the full here.

Gil Scott-Heron: The Happenstance of Art

Review excerpt from LA Review of Books:

Navigating what seemed to be a “no Gil” rule, he schemed against his curmudgeonly music teacher for time at the piano in order to practice the songs he heard in his head. In hindsight, he calls that “a melodic form of guerilla warfare” that included knowing when and what to play so as to not get caught by the teacher or exposed by the ruckus of fellow students. Gil’s opportunities to play at Fieldston, even secretively, highlight the fact that such resources are central to mastery and eventual success — and that opportunities of this kind are often a matter of happenstance.

Read the full here.

Karen Russel’s Crazy Fiction

Excerpt from Kirkus Reviews:

This, in the end, is what’s so exciting about Russell’s fiction. She takes questions that plague us, painfully real questions about desire, love, and immortality, and then she explores them in places that are new, even amazing. So even as you marvel at her research–the weird details that make her stories shine–you’re being sucker punched. You are just as filled with desire as a vampire. You, if tricked into spinning silk, would also do absolutely anything to escape. Like Derek Zeiger, the man with a moving tattoo in “The New Veterans,” you are searching—at least I am—for “a story he can carry, and a true one.”

Read the full here.

Alex Estes on Elena Passarello’s Voice

Alex Estes’s review of Let Me Clear My Throat excerpted from 3am Magazine:

But the way [Elena Passarello] approaches each of her subjects, the skill she demonstrates at not allowing her personal judgments to cloud her vision of cultural moments that some of us know by heart, moments that have had their own moments, moments that the media has successfully piled so much opinion upon rendering them almost unrecognisable, allows the reader a chance to see everything anew. And in this newness we find a heightened ability to listen, for this is the change that occurs upon finishing Passarello’s book. It was as if scales could fall from my ears as well.


… when we have a voice we can listen to, a voice that carries much more than words, we are given a chance to hear what isn’t there in the letters.

Read the full here.

Adam Phillips, Anxious Writer

Excerpt from Lisa Levy’s review of Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life in LA Review of Books:

[Adam] Phillips, underneath his surface smoothness and kindness, is an anxious writer. This is not to say he lacks courage or confidence, for he has plenty of both. He has an elegant prose style too, with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams. Yet he is anxious in the sense of always being eager for something to happen, for his reader to be persuaded of something.

Read the full here.