Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: LitHub

“Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World”

The World Trade Center burns

We all want to know how to handle the horror that is, it seems, always around us now, haunting us all like a shadow we can’t shake. Poet (and director of the NYU Creative Writing Program) Deborah Landau has been thinking and writing about terror, and terrorism, and how to live in our unsafe world, for her new book.

“That Tuesday morning,” writes Fran Bigman, “September 11, Landau told me, she was pregnant with her second child and dropping her three-year-old son off at nursery school downtown; they were on a bus and people started screaming, and they saw a plane hit the tower. Scenes of disaster, both remembered and imagined, run through her head, but she isn’t a narrative poet who retells a story. “I am not a depicter, not any more. I’m never writing about something,” she tells me, “I’m always writing out of something—or into something.”

“Landau finished these poems, which make up Soft Targets [her upcoming collection], after the attack on Bastille Day 2016, in an intense 12-day burst—not her usual working method. These are poems for a world in which there is no safety. It opens with Landau’s fears for herself, familiar fears. But then the poem rushes outward—we, the innocent, are soft targets, but even bin Laden was a soft target to his attackers. The poems in Soft Targets keep sweeping outward, dizzyingly, from the intimacy of Landau and her “you” to the entire city to the entire world. Another of the book’s early poems follows this same trajectory:

I’m a soft target, you’re a soft target
and the city has a hundred hundred thousand softs;

the pervious skin, the softness of the face
the wrist inners, the hips, the lips, the tongue,

the global body,
its infinite permutable softnesses—”

Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World

“New Poetry by Indigenous Women” curated by Natalie Diaz

We are lucky to have a selection of Indigenous poets to read at LitHub: Abigail Chabitnoy, Tria Blu Wakpa, Heather Cahoonand Sara Marie Ortiz. I’m happy to draw your attention to their work.

New Poetry by Indigenous Women

Where New York’s Literary Single Girls Lived by Amy Rowland

NY is a gentrified city, with the Disneyfication of Times Square perhaps the best representation. But here’s an article about Eighteen Gramercy Park South before it was turned into swishy full-floor suites, when young literary women lived and took their meals there. Read this interesting article by Amy Rowland about her time of residence.

Single Girls

Shelving Books–not for the meek

Hanya Yanagihara gets my vote here for sheer numbers and gorgeous storage. I think only writers who are visual artists could be comfortable with the results after shelving by colour, don’t you, but nonetheless, Michael Chabon did it. (I was just as impressed at the existence of the summer home.) A fun article by Emily Temple at LitHub.

I organize mine into poetry, short fiction, novels, and non-fiction, then organize by “Best of” collections, and, in non-fiction, by subject (art, photography, biographies, gardening, animals etc) but I don’t alphabetize sections.

How 11 Writers Organize Their Personal Libraries

Read Your Way Back to Wholeness

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Emily Temple has gathered LitHub’s 10 Great Essays That Should be Made into Films

I look forward to making my way through these essays, some of which are familiar already, and some of which I’ve read recently, including Carmen Maria Machado’s fine ‘A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity.’

What Being an Editor Taught Anna Pitoniak About Writing

Anna Pitoniak on the Inside Tricks of the Trade

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“I’m an editor at Random House, but for the last several years I’ve been writing around the edges of my day job: mornings, nights, weekends, wherever I can grab the free time. I began my first novel (which is publishing today) while I was working as an editor, and I credit my job with giving me the courage, and the tools, to tackle writing a book. The truth is that spending one’s life reading good writing—not just reading it, but thinking about what makes it so good—is the best way to teach one’s self how to do it. For some people, this might mean enrolling in an MFA program. For me, I was lucky enough to learn by observing the other editors around me, and working on manuscripts as they went from rough drafts to finished books. It was the best writing education I could have received.”

LitHub

The Forgotten Women Writers

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early sketch, unknown date: Jane Eaton Hamilton

I think of Vivian Maier and wonder who else is missing…

A.N. Devers has written a compelling article, Bette Howland: The Tale of a Forgotten Genius, for Lit Hub about re-discovering a prominent writer who fell to obscurity. Howland’s memoir published in 1974 came to light in a bin of used books, and it turned out that she had been much prized, had won a Guggenheim, an NEA grant, a MacArthur, and was friends with Saul Bellow.

“As for writing (your writing) I think you ought to write, in bed, and make use of your unhappiness. I do it. Many do. One should cook and eat one’s misery. Chain it like a dog.” Saul Bellow to Bette Howland

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