Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.
"He is the only writer ever to win the National Book Award for nonfiction and fiction, but it’s not just the writing: Born into the East Coast establishment, Matthiessen
ran from it, and in the running became a novelist, a C.I.A. agent, a founder of The Paris Review, author of more than 30 books, a naturalist, an activist and a master in one of the most respected lineages in Zen. As early as 1978, he was already being referred to, in a review in The New York Times, as a 'throwback,' because he has always seemed to be of a different, earlier era, with universal, spiritual and essentially timeless concerns." Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86
posted by homunculus
on Apr 5, 2014 -
This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it.
I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Aug 9, 2013 -
This summer, The Paris Review interviewed two science fiction writers at length, Samuel R. Delany
and William Gibson
. Below the cut there are two passages, one from each interview. They aren't representative, they are just two of the many, many passages which have been going around in my head for the last few days. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 25, 2011 -
In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
posted by villanelles at dawn
on Dec 5, 2011 -
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review
posted by escabeche
on Jul 25, 2011 -
"Like most committed crystal meth smokers, when he wants to share his pipe Duze does not take no for an answer."
Clancy Martin, the author of How to Sell and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine, is hitchhiking from Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City in order to catch the last day of Christian Marclay's The Clock at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Part I
, Part II [more inside]
posted by not_the_water
on Mar 2, 2011 -
The DNA of Literature. The Paris Review
, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, makes available free .pdfs of fifty years of interviews with leading writers.
posted by rushmc
on Jan 12, 2005 -