The Most Misread Poem in America by David Orr [The Paris Review]
“And almost everyone gets it wrong. This is the most remarkable thing about “The Road Not Taken”—not its immense popularity (which is remarkable enough), but the fact that it is popular for what seem to be the wrong reasons. [...] Frost’s poem turns this expectation on its head. Most readers consider “The Road Not Taken” to be a paean to triumphant self-assertion (“I took the one less traveled by”), but the literal meaning of the poem’s own lines seems completely at odds with this interpretation. The poem’s speaker tells us he “shall be telling,” at some point in the future, of how he took the road less traveled by, yet he has already admitted that the two paths “equally lay / In leaves” and “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same.” So the road he will later call less traveled is actually the road equally traveled. The two roads are interchangeable.”[more inside]
HAL, Mother, and Father Watching the sixties and seventies through 2001 and Alien.
"2. Airman Thompson possesses outstanding talent in writing. He has imagination, good use of English, and can express his thoughts in a manner that makes interesting reading 3. However, in spite of frequent counseling with explanation of the reasons for the conservative policy on an AF base newspaper, Airman Thompson has consistently written controversial material and leans so strongly to critical editorializing that it was necessary to require that all his writing be thoroughly edited before release." - A memo regarding Airman Second-Class Hunter S. Thompson's reporting for the base newspaper. [more inside]
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.