Litblog Roundup is a bi-weekly overview of topics, trends and highlights from the literary Internet.
Author Kelly Corrigan is the new host of a series on Medium called Foreword. A recent interview describes the series. “Plenty of other programs, from ‘The Daily Show’ to NPR’s ‘Fresh Air,’ feature writers, but ‘Foreword’ is different—the writers in the series talk about everything but their craft. ‘It cannot be just another stop on their book tour,’ Corrigan said by phone. ‘This is like if Comedy Central was crossed with TED talks—and they served drinks.'” The series has a blog and a YouTube Channel.
Towards a Safer Reading
The Rah! Rah! Roundup has an overview of a conversation that began recently at the Poetry Project in New York City. The Poetry Project hosted a panel discussion. The topic was “What is a reading? What should it be? What is read there? And to whom?” During the discussion of literary readings, their culture, etc., poet Eileen Myles described “personal instances of assault and harassment,” according to one of the other panelists, Jennifer Tamayo.
Culture or Content
Maria Popova has a post at Brain Pickings this week that considers Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Against Interpretation” in lights of today’s culture, where the Internet is full of interpretations, increasingly mere reactions, in response to a body of material that is frequently understood as “content” rather than as experience or art. It seems impossible to take anything at face value when anything can instantly become the subject of a conversation involving thousands of people. What would Susan Sontag say to all of this, or would she say anything?
Satire, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press have become contentious topics during the past few weeks, throughout the literary Internet, and the media in general.
Finally, the Charlie Hebdo attack has brought about a diverse conversation about expression, which in some cases can occur with both the pen and the sword, and the limits and freedoms of expression. The literary community in large part, and especially Salman Rusdie, have spoken out vehemently against the attack. Thought Catalog approaches the situation with an insightful distinction between free speech and open speech, with a reminder that “none of us raised an eyebrow in 2006 when the Bush administration criticized Charlie Hebdo for republishing Danish cartoons that mocked Mohammed.” The Open Democracy blog asks readers to consider whether Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are hate speech. It’s an argument shared in some sense by the Pope’s comments about the violent response to Charlie Hebdo. The Pope says “it’s normal” and “one cannot provoke” but the Guardian calls that “the wife-beater’s defence.”
Was J. Alfred Prufrock a hipster, before it was cool to be a hipster, before the word hipster had even been coined? If so, does that make him some sort of great, grand hipster? Maybe not, but the author of J. Alfred Prufrock is credited with the first printed use of the word bullshit.
A Day’s Work
The Telegraph has a piece this week that declares “These days, writing isn’t a career. It’s a rich man’s hobby.” with conversation and rebuttal at The Passive Voice.
Don’t you hate it when your social media feeds get clogged up with oversharing? There’s a new social link-sharing service called This and it proposes to solve that problem by only letting its users post once per day. It has to be a link to something, with minimal content. Might this be a good way to curate a reading list? The site’s full functionality is currently available by invitation only. As the homepage says, “ask your friends if they’ve got an invite.”
That does it for this installment of the roundup. What do you think of all this? Let’s hear it in the comments.