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Posts Tagged ‘John Jeremiah Sullivan’

Tonight! The Paris Review on Charlie Rose

August 16, 2013 | by

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Tune in tonight to Charlie Rose for a conversation with editor Lorin Stein, James Salter, Mona Simpson, and John Jeremiah Sullivan on the sixtieth anniversary of The Paris Review. Trust us, it’s an engaging interview—even Kevin Spacey agrees.

The show will air at 11 P.M. on PBS, but check your local affiliate to confirm the time.

 

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Kristin Dombek’s “Letter from Williamsburg”

July 26, 2013 | by

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Il Pordenone, The Holy Trinity

This essay may sound strange, read by a man—it is very specifically a woman’s essay. But Dombek’s voice is so powerful, every time I read “Letter from Williamsburg,” I hear it in my head. It’s like a song I want to sing along to. In fact, I remember reading the first two paragraphs to our Southern editor, John Jeremiah Sullivan, over the phone, before the rest of the essay was written. I wanted him to hear how beautifully Dombek modulates her tone from the sublime to the mundane. I only wish I could do justice to the music on the page.

Read the full essay in our Summer 2013 issue.

 

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What We’re Loving: George Packer, Joe Carstairs, Nick Laird

June 7, 2013 | by

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In a virtuosic long poem from his recent collection, Go Giants, Nick Laird inveighs against “the monotony of always being on a side!” Laird was born in Northern Ireland, but the complaint isn’t aimed only at sectarianism. His poetry, which shuttles between New York, Rome, and Cookstown, in County Tyrone, consistently escapes monotony and one-sidedness (including, in this case, a cricketeer’s pun on the word side). His book includes versions of Juvenal, Antoine Ó Raifteirí—a wandering bard and one of the “giants” of Laird’s title—and Anglo-Saxon poetry. You can also hear the nimble diction of Muldoon (“an atmosphere / flecked like emery paper, the finest grade, / that whets the seriffed aerials and steeples”) and the more ponderous music of Heaney (a summer job at a meatplant is spent “lugging plastic / crates of feathercut and paddywhack / and prime off the belt and onto palettes”). “Progress,” a long poem that rewrites Bunyun’s allegory, is a gathering of all these voices and ends up sounding like no one except Laird: “A fine baroque example / of how successfully the choral template / might adjust itself to fit an elliptic / non-contiguous life.” —Robyn Creswell

I recently visited my parents to help them sort through a lifetime of acquisitions in anticipation of a mammoth yard sale. Looking through boxes of my old books, I came across a favorite, The Queen of Whale Cay, and promptly reread it. Kate Summerscale’s biography is a vivid picture of Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs, a flamboyant figure of the Lost Generation. A boat racer, womanizer, dandy, and, yes, queen of her own island, Carstairs (an oil heiress) was also known for traveling everywhere with a doll, Lord Tod Wadley, who sported an equally dapper wardrobe. Summerscale was working on the Telegraph’s obit desk when she ran across the story of this forgotten figure; I’m so glad she did, and that I rediscovered my copy. (The office also acquired, from this foray, a brass whale, a crystal ball, and a harpoon.) —Sadie O. Stein

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Story Time!

March 1, 2013 | by

Man-Megaphone-3We are delighted to report that our contributors are racking up all kinds of well-deserved honors!

First, David Means’s story “The Chair” (issue 200) has been chosen for this year’s Best American Short Stories anthology.

We also have seven nominees for this year’s Pushcart Prize:

  • Sarah Frisch, “Housebreaking,” issue 203

  • David Gordon, “Man-Boob Summer,” issue 202

  • Lorrie Moore, “Wings,” issue 200

  • Davy Rothbart, “Human Snowball,” issue 201

  • Sam Savage, “The Meininger Nude,” issue 202

  • David Searcy, “El Camino Doloroso,” issue 200

  • John Jeremiah Sullivan, “The Princes: A Reconstruction,” issue 200

    Congratulations, everyone!

     

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    Just Like Christmas …

    November 29, 2012 | by

    Our Winter issue takes you north, to an unusual conference in Oslo with John Jeremiah Sullivan, Elif Batuman, Donald Antrim, and filmmaker Joachim Trier. In addition to the proceedings of the first Norwegian-American Literary Festival, this December we bring you new fiction from James Salter, Tim Parks, and Rachel Kushner, poems by Linda Pastan, Ben Lerner, and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), an interview with Susan Howe, and much more.

    Here’s Joachim Trier on literature and film:

    In Norway we have a great tradition of writing literature, whereas cinema … historically this is not our strength. A Norwegian friend of mine interviewed Don DeLillo and asked him, “What do American writers talk about, when they hang out casually?” DeLillo said, “We talk about movies.” I felt so proud!

    ... and Donald Antrim on the fantastical:

    When I began writing in earnest, I wrote stories that were modeled on the stories I thought I should write. The stories were about my family, mainly, about my alcoholic mother and about being her son, but they weren't successful. They were dutifully written and they failed ... I went into a depression over this. I didn't know what to do. I got out of the funk eventually, through the fantastic, through making up other worlds.

    ... and Elif Batuman and John Jeremiah Sullivan on false starts:

    BATUMAN
    My editor at The New Yorker was like, Why don’t you just skip the whole part where you do all the wrong things and just do the right thing.

    SULLIVAN
    Thank you. Thank you, editor.

    BATUMAN
    And then he was like, Of course I’m just joking. He wasn’t joking!

    Neither are we. Subscribe now.

     

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    Voices Carry: An Interview with Elena Passarello

    November 28, 2012 | by

    Elena Passarello is a writer with a confident voice. Her first book is centered around that voice: in Let Me Clear My Throat, Passarello draws from her writing and acting background, and the result is a quirky blend of reportage and some personal narrative. In a recent e-mail interview, we discussed everything from the recent presidential campaign to a Stella screaming contest.

    How did you choose your theme for your first book? Did you set out from the beginning to write an entire essay collection devoted to the human voice?

    I had a few essays on voices before I began working on the essays that appear in this collection. I didn’t know that they were on voices at the time, however—I was just writing profiles, critical pieces, lyric stuff that all ended up using voice either as an entrance point or as an organizing principle. The first essay that I wrote for the collection was the one on the Wilhelm Scream. I first drafted it not as an essay on the voice, but as a simple unpacking of this very juicy and mysterious piece of pop culture. A few drafts in, however, I saw that I was, once again, threading ideas about the voice throughout it. The essay became about the fact that a human body had made this sound, and in doing so, that body embossed itself into every movie which used the clip. The essay became an exploration of the purposes a human scream serves—both in pre-civilized human life and contemporary culture. Around the time I finished the essay, I started thinking I could do a whole book about the sounds of the human throat.

    Speaking of your essay on the Wilhelm Scream—a sound effect used in hundreds of movies—how did you first hear about it?

    I was just Googling around for the correct spelling of Ennio Morricone’s name for a now-defunct project. I landed on an IMDb page for a movie Morricone had scored, and in the roll of facts on the film was “Wilhelm Scream at 88:02!” Read More »

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