Kurt Vonnegut’s Term Paper Assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Teaches You to Read Fiction Like a Writer

≡ Category: Creativity, Education, Letters, Literature, Writing |Leave a Comment


Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Commons
I wish I’d had a teacher who framed his or her assignments as letters…
Which is really just another way of saying I wish I’d been lucky enough to have taken a class with writers Kurt Vonnegut or Lynda Barry.


When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem “The Raven”

≡ Category: Literature |Leave a Comment

“There comes Poe with his raven,” wrote the poet James Russell Lowell in 1848, “like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” Barnaby Rudge, as you may know, is a novel by Charles Dickens, published serially in 1841.


Hear J.G. Ballard Stories Adapted as Surreal Soundscapes That Put You Inside the Heads of His Characters

≡ Category: Literature, Radio, Sci Fi |1 Comment


Image by Thierry Erhmann via Wikimedia Commons
“This enormous novel we’re living inside thrives on sensation,” J.G. Ballard once said. “It needs sensation to sustain itself.


Hear What Homer’s Odyssey Sounded Like When Sung in the Original Ancient Greek

≡ Category: History, Literature, Music |3 Comments

Image by via Wikimedia Commons
It’s been a humanist truism for some time to say that Shakespeare speaks to every age, transcending his time and place through the sheer force of his universal genius.


H.G. Wells Reads Finnegans Wake & Tells James Joyce: It’s “A Dead End,” “You Have Turned Your Back on Common Men” (1928)

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment


Images via Wikimedia Commons
I first heard the phrase “terminal aesthetic” in a class on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, who collaborated on the final version of Eliot’s post World War I edifice, The Waste Land.


Aleister Crowley Reads Occult Poetry in the Only Known Recordings of His Voice (1920)

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry, Religion |4 Comments

Image by Jules Jacot Guillarmod, via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, we brought you a rather strange story about the rivalry between poet William Butler Yeats and magician Aleister Crowley. Theirs was a feud over the practices of occult society the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; but it was also—at least for Crowley—over poetry.


Hear Raymond Chandler & Ian Fleming–Two Masters of Suspense–Talk with One Another in Rare 1958 Audio

≡ Category: Literature, Radio |2 Comments

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj6cc0T1z7I&index=1&list=PL42C705CF056C7F25″>this 1988

In the mid-20th century, the red-blooded reading man in America and Britain each had a character on whom he could rely to have vivid, in their separate ways exotic, and on a certain level somehow relatable adventures on the page: Philip Marlowe in the former, and James Bond in the latter.


Famous Edgar Allan Poe Stories Read by Iggy Pop, Jeff Buckley, Christopher Walken, Marianne Faithful & More

≡ Category: Audio Books, Film, Literature, Music |1 Comment

In 1849, a little over 167 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe was found dead in a Baltimore gutter under mysterious circumstances very likely related to violent election fraud. It was an ignominious end to a life marked by hardship, alcoholism, and loss.


Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize in Literature for Creating “New Poetic Expressions within the Great American Song Tradition”

≡ Category: Literature, Music |3 Comments


Image courtesy of The Nobel Prize’s Twitter stream.
His apocalyptic poetry plucks images and forms from the blues, the Bible, the Beats, Symbolists, William Blake, T.S. Eliot, and a balladeer tradition dating from medieval French and English minstrelsy to Appalachian settlement to Woody Guthrie, his first muse.


How to Fill the Blank Page: Advice from Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell & 5 Other Authors

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |Leave a Comment

A couple months ago we featured a video of eight writers on how to face the blank page produced by Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. (And if you should ever find yourself in Copenhagen with time for a bit of a train ride, I do recommend a visit to the museum itself.


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