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Peter Matthiessen

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 - 40 comments

 

The view from here

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 - 3 comments

Ceremonious Trespassing

Mysterious Skin: The Realia of William Gaddis [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Apr 26, 2013 - 4 comments

Books, book bindings, and the death of the book

Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 15, 2012 - 60 comments

'like a sort of soul-compass after I was dead.'

Last November, the Mayor Gallery had an exhibit of Sylvia Plath's sketches. (via)
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 20, 2012 - 5 comments

}}} so — ;;;;[blacked out ]] # # # – do you have my (keys)}} ?

Drunk texts from famous authors. (More good ones in the comments)
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jun 19, 2012 - 40 comments

Adding a sense of drama to the living room.

To expose a bookshelf is to compose a self. The Paris Review towards a history of bookshelves.
posted by shakespeherian on Feb 14, 2012 - 19 comments

Fucking librarians.

The Paris Review on librarian porn (nsfw).
posted by twirlip on Jan 30, 2012 - 53 comments

The Paris Review interviews William Gibson and Samuel R. Delany

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 - 37 comments

“This is not a definition, it is not true—and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.”

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 - 55 comments

Janet Malcolm: The Art of Nonfiction

"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 - 6 comments

James Salter Month at The Paris Review

James Salter Month at The Paris Review. A series of articles throughout April celebrating the life and work of one of the best at his craft there is. A great writer indeed.
posted by hydatius on Apr 7, 2011 - 9 comments

"I have the uncanny feeling that I’m making up the world as I’m going along"

"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 - 12 comments

'For my artwork, I have to use antique, archaic tools.'

R Crumb talks to the Paris Review about his adaptation of The Book of Genesis, cartoons, LSD, Winnie the Pooh, Terry Gilliam, and some other things.
posted by shakespeherian on Oct 18, 2010 - 30 comments

Do you remember the circumstances of your first meeting with Pound?

All the interviews from Paris Review (wikipedia) are now online! [more inside]
posted by mattn on Sep 20, 2010 - 13 comments

bouffées d’affadissement

Lydia Davis is blogging on translation during the lead-up to her forthcoming Madame Bovary. You can also read Davis discussing style, Beckett, Proust, and translation with The Believer here.
posted by shakespeherian on Sep 20, 2010 - 14 comments

[Insert joke about Ayn Rand dealbreaker here]

Looking for love among the bookstacks? Try Alikewise, a dating site based on book tastes, instead. [more inside]
posted by peripathetic on Aug 13, 2010 - 52 comments

San Francisco in Film Noir

San Francisco in Film Noir. Conversation with Nathaniel Rich, associate editor of the Paris Review and author of San Francisco Noir.
posted by matteo on Sep 16, 2005 - 5 comments

The DNA of Literature

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 - 7 comments

Plimpton death notice

The Paris Review Editor in Chief George Plimpton dead at 76.
posted by lilboo on Sep 26, 2003 - 10 comments

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