Posts Tagged ‘John Jeremiah Sullivan’
May 6, 2014 | by John Jeremiah Sullivan
At our Spring Revel last month, John Jeremiah Sullivan presented the Hadada Award to Frederick Seidel. Sullivan’s remarks follow, along with three of Seidel’s poems, which were read aloud that night: “Downtown,” read by Zadie Smith; “Frederick Seidel,” read by Martin Amis; and “The Night Sky,” read by Uma Thurman.
As a kind of offsite, ersatz staff member at The Paris Review, I claim the pleasure both of thanking you all for your presence here, and of thanking everyone at the Review—Lorin, and the board, and my colleagues there—for giving me the honor of announcing this award. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word honor in a less glib manner.
When you are in your twenties and living in the city, or any city, or anywhere, and trying to write, there are poets whose work will come to mean something to you beyond pleasure, beyond even whatever we have in mind when we use the word inspiration, and into the arena of survival, into what the poet whose work we are celebrating tonight describes as the “what will save you factor.”
When I was in my twenties and living in New York, the poet who came to mean that for me and a lot of the other younger writers and editors I knew was one named Frederick Seidel, a poet who had come, like another we’d heard about, from St. Louis via Harvard, and from there, via everywhere. Read More »
May 5, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Congratulations to our Southern editor, John Jeremiah Sullivan, who’s been honored with the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his essay “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee.”
The James Beard Foundation awards are presented “for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education.” “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee” appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Lucky Peach; it tells the story of Kevin West, who has recently discovered, or perhaps rekindled, a family passion for home-preserving and pickling. If the title strikes you as familiar but unplaceable, fear not, for I have done your googling for you—it refers to Wallace Stevens’s famous poem “Anecdote of the Jar,” first published in 1919:
I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.
The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.
It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
April 15, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
- John Jeremiah Sullivan’s latest piece is a masterful look at two musicians who have fallen into obscurity: “In the world of early-20th-century African-American music and people obsessed by it … there exist no ghosts more vexing than a couple of women identified on three ultrarare records made in 1930 and ’31 as Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley.”
- A statistical analysis of the paintings of Bob Ross. (Ninety-one percent contain at least one tree; 39 percent contain at least one mountain; 21 percent contain cumulus clouds.)
- Taking stock of today’s art world: “The artist has undergone an enormous increase in value, to the point of idolization. But success has come at a high price, with the power of the art system, the adjustment to taste guidelines, and the dependence on galleries and curators. To create something new all one’s own, while remaining in the game, is a balancing act that only few succeed at mastering.”
- An interview with Black Dog Bone, the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Murder Dog, hip-hop’s most “potent” underground magazine.
- “The original designs for the cubicle came out of a very 1960s-moment; the intention was to free office workers from uninspired, even domineering workplace settings.”
February 20, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
As New York’s brutal winter wends its way onward, ever onward, two among us have had the good sense to go West: our John Jeremiah Sullivan and Lorin Stein have absconded to LA, which reliable sources indicate is sunny, balmy, and unspeakably pleasant. The two of them are probably, at this very moment, tooling around in a slick late-model convertible and soaking up rays, the reflection of the Hollywood sign visible in the lenses of their Wayfarers.
But they have a job to do: tonight, at 7:30 P.M., Sullivan will give a reading as part of the Hammer Museum’s Some Favorite Writers series, where he’ll be joined by Stein. The event is free, and given how wonderful it must feel to be in Los Angeles, you can expect both gentlemen to be in top form. Go!
February 12, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Just when you thought you couldn’t wish for spring any more fervently, news arrives of our Spring Revel. Save the date: on Tuesday, April 8, writers, poets, artists, editors, readers, supporters, eminences, patrons of the arts, bon vivants, and other all-around admirable sorts will convene at Cipriani 42nd Street for a legendary evening. Women’s Wear Daily calls the Revel “the best party in town”; Mary Karr calls it “prom for New York intellectuals.”
This year, we’ll honor Frederick Seidel with the Hadada Award, to be presented by John Jeremiah Sullivan. Lydia Davis will present the Plimpton Prize for Fiction; Roz Chast will present the Terry Southern Prize for Humor; and Martin Amis, Charlotte Rampling, and Zadie Smith will all read. There will be dinner, and cocktails, and unabated merriment, thanks in no small part to our event chairs, Chris Weitz and Mercedes Martinez.
We’d love to see you there! Tickets and tables are available now.
January 24, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Japanese scrolls from the Edo period depict—yes—erumpent, competitive flatulence.
- Back to more dignified fare. Guess the classic novel from its first sentence.
- Fact: Kurt Vonnegut wrote a made-for-TV movie in 1972. It’s called Between Time and Timbuktu, or Prometheus-5: A Space Fantasy. Vonnegut later withdrew from the production: “I am not going to have anything more to do with film—for this reason: I don’t like film.” Well. As far as excuses go, that one’s airtight.
- “I think empathy is a guy who punches you in the face at a bus station, and you’re somehow able to look at him and know enough about what situation he was in to know that he had to do that and not to hit back. That’s empathy, and nothing ever happens in writing that has that kind of moral heroism about it.” A new interview with John Jeremiah Sullivan.
- As any reader of Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity knows, vagueness can be artful, but it’s especially so in Mandarin writing, where ambiguous sentences resemble optical illusions.