Almost exactly a year ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Marilynne Robinson’s heartening commentary on the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the flowering of American literary history. As I prepare to enter the Workshop myself (and as informal celebration of its 76th anniversary), I thought I’d share that memorable speech here. It ought to give everyone something to smile about.
(If you’re running short on time, things really get cooking around the 12-minute mark.)
Marilynne Robinson’s latest collection, When I Was a Child I Read Books, is available here.
Regina Spektor has a new album out, and in some ways, it’s her best yet. It won’t be available for purchase until tomorrow, but you can preview the entire thing here.
As promised, the second installment of AD Jameson’s provocative commentary on Viktor Shklovsky and the devices operating in contemporary fiction.
Strange fruit for thought: A podcast that examines the spookier aspects of our ability to make truth.
What I’m reading next: David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green. Recommended to me repeatedly this year, it should make the perfect foil to this film, which we’d all do well to watch ASAP.
Helpful, hopefully: Poets & Writers‘ most recently updated list of literary agents.
Dish of the week: Buddha’s delight. Here’s one of many takes on it.
This is inscrutable: Yet so, so compelling.
Album you shouldn’t go another minute without downloading: Fear Fun, by Father John Misty. Equal parts contemplative and reckless, a perfect way to measure out the waning days of spring. Exemplary tracks can be found here, here, and here.
Thoughts on craft that whir and sing: Best writing-related article I’ve read in a while. If you like it, look out for the second installment on htmlgiant next week!
To read over the long weekend: Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, by Etgar Keret. You can find my thoughts on this collection in the upcoming issue of the Indiana Review…
A podcast to soothe the soul: Pop legend Phil Collins gives writer Starlee Kine advice on composing the perfect break-up ballad. A testament to the palliative effects of art.
An intimate moment with David Lynch: I want to follow him down this road, but I don’t know if I’m ready.
Homework: Writing contests with upcoming deadlines, courtesy of Poets & Writers.
What’s for dinner: This.
One thing I have in common with almost every other writer I know is the greed to live, that gnawing hunger to soak in as much of the spectrum of human experience as possible before we shed this mortal coil and are reduced to a smattering of witty headstones. It’s a must for the profession, I think–to take such fascination with the breadth of what life can offer us that we spend our entire time on this earth attempting to hunt it down with language.
Sarah Kay is a breathtaking spoken-word poet and the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E. In this short performance/lecture, she revitalized my interest in living–again and again and again and again.