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Tag Archives: Larry McMurtry

 

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  • On the Shelf

    Drama, Tantrums, and Bird-Watching

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  • High drama at the Oxford American. What exactly is going on?
  • A (very) strong month for booksellers.The beach-read effect?
  • A list of writers who throw tantrums.
  • The great Larry McMurtry book sale.
  • An American Writers Museum?
  • “But the thing that bugs me most about Jonathan Franzen is that he’s becoming the public face of bird-watching.”
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  • At Work

    Cathy Park Hong on ‘Engine Empire’

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    The summer issue of The Paris Review includes a series of poems by Cathy Park Hong. Hong has published two books of poetry, Translating Mo’um (2002) and Dance Dance Revolution (2007). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

    The poems published in this issue come from a longer work, entitled “Fort Ballads.” How does it fit into your forthcoming book, Engine Empire?

    “Fort Ballads” is part of the first section in Engine Empire. The poems in the collection range from a trilogy, ranging from Western ballads to love poems set in present-day industrial China to poems set in a virtual future. “Fort Ballads” follows a band of outlaw fortune-seekers who travel to a California boomtown during the 1800s. The boomtown isn’t real; it’s full of strange, violent, sometimes surreal happenings. It’s my own way of mythologizing California, which is where I’m from. The main character is “Our Jim,” who’s half Comanche Indian. In creating him, I was thinking of the typical iconic Western guys, like Billy the Kid, but his story is also reminiscent of Huck Finn and maybe a little of Faulkner’s Joe Christmas. He’s an orphan, a cipher, a boy trapped between identities, both innocent and vengeful. But the section isn’t all narrative—there are sound poems in there as well, where I let myself wallow in kitschy Western vernacular.  Read More

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  • Ask The Paris Review

    Writers and Their Libraries; Fashion v. English

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    I love reading authors talking about their own reading experiences—it seems like such a beautiful way to understand how and why they write. I recently read Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting,” and I was wondering if you could think of any similar essays about the private libraries of great writers.

    There’s a long tradition of writers writing about their libraries. Some of the first modern essays—by Michel de Montaigne and Sir Francis Bacon—are on that very subject. Among more recent publications, you might enjoy Anne Fadiman’s collection Ex Libris or Larry McMurtry’s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen. The trouble with people writing about their libraries is, well, every writer has one. It’s like writing about your left hand. Or your M.F.A. program. But McMurtry is a special case. If he had never written Lonesome Dove or The Last Picture Show, he would be famous—at least among collectors—as one of the country’s most respected dealers in used and rare books. When he writes about his library, he always has something interesting to say.

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