First of all, a poem. Listen to Sara Peters read “The Last Time I Slept in This Bed.” Then, melt into yourself.
Donna Tartt gave Laura Miller a long, incredible interview. I want to pull a million quotes for you, but let’s make do with this one: “A novel is really the only way you can be someone else.” More than anything, I want you to read The Goldfinch. Actually, maybe more than that, I want to read the book again. I was lucky enough to read it as a galley this summer (I suppose this is a brag, but I don’t mean it that way), and now that it’s out here in the world I’ve been having a great time watching reviewers react to it. Stephen King in the New York Times, Ron Charles in the Washington Post. The book is technically a big one, more than 800 pages, and I think that means we’ll have reason to keep talking about it for some time. I hope it works out that way. I’m excitedly waiting for someone great with an art history background to talk about the book (one of the central motifs is the relationship a kid, Theo Decker, has with a specific Dutch painting from the 17th century). I am so mad I can’t drop out of work and life for a bit and read this again, today, right now. I better stop now before I have a tantrum.
And welcome to the world, Scratch magazine! (If you loved Who Pays Writers and that one inside baseball Branch post on paying people in the freelance economy, then you’ll lose your shit over it.) SPEAKING OF MAGAZINES, Hazlitt contributor Sarah Nicole Prickett’s launching her print baby, Adult Magazine, this month. And! Of course! Hazlitt’s entering the print game!
Okay, another poem. Still Sara Peters. Here, she reads “The Red Cloth.” It’s a little bit different from the first one. The body, the unconsciable wholeness of it, the idea that we are inside of it rather than simply being it ourself, all those paradoxes are, as with the previous poem, intact. This one has a point it perceptibly turns on, you can see the instant the poem rolls over onto its other side in the line “I am not sure why I’m convinced / That expressing contempt is my life’s work—” and you realize this poem is a bit of a two-for-one. I’ve been reading Peters’ book, 1996, and it’s fascinating to notice how her guileless reading voice subtly changes my perception of her poems.
I can’t stop listening, I am not sure why. (I’m convinced.)