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Posts Tagged ‘The Paris Review’

“Bad Behavior”: An Interview with Alexia Arthurs

July 6, 2016 | by

Photo of Alexia Arthurs by Kaylia Duncan.

Photo of Alexia Arthurs by Kaylia Duncan.

Bad Behavior,” a short story by Alexia Arthurs in our new Summer issue, follows Stacy, the teenage daughter of Jamaican immigrants living in Brooklyn. After a series of troubling events at home and school, she’s sent to live with her grandmother in Jamaica. 

Arthurs, a graduate of Hunter College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, was born in Jamaica and moved to New York with her family at the age of twelve. She wrote to me about her story by e-mail. 

INTERVIEWER

Where did “Bad Behavior” come from?

ARTHURS

I wondered what an immigrant mother sacrifices when she raises her children in America—so many of her energies are directed toward survival and providing. I babysat to pay for my undergraduate education in New York City, and I noticed that women who were more financially settled—who could afford expensive childcare and someone to clean for them—were particularly concerned with the anxieties of their children. It’s interesting to consider which mothers have that privilege, to be present in a vigorous way. “Bad Behavior” deals with this—“Not all mothers could afford to be kind.” Also, once I knew of a young girl who was dangerously reckless, and I remember that someone suggested sending her to Jamaica as a last resort. I don’t know what became of the girl. Read More »

A Terrifying Morality Tale

February 17, 2016 | by

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Hawt.

Here’s the thing: This ad wasn’t just in the Winter 1968 issue of The Paris Review. It was on the back cover. And incidentally, if this brutal, vivid, and immediate glimpse makes you want to journey further beyond the conventions of reality, check out Jerzy Kosinski’s Art of Fiction interview from Issue No. 54! 

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We’ve Got Spines for Everyone, and Other News

January 22, 2016 | by

Collect ’em all. (All 215 of them.)

  • AIGA’s Eye on Design blog has a thoughtful, thorough history of The Paris Review’s art and design, with stories from our former editor Maxine Groffsky and our art editor, Charlotte Strick. “The masthead has shape shifted from serif to sans and back again; its size has gone from pamphlet, to book, to magazine, to somewhere in-between … ‘Mining The Paris Review’s rich archives revealed that the primary role of design in those mid-century issues was to support the publication’s beautifully curated literature and artwork,’ says art editor Strick. She was determined to make the current publication work in the same way, while simultaneously reminding the reader of The Paris Review’s continual evolution.”
  • Scholars have long endeavored to place Sarah Palin on the continuum of American poets—but where does she belong? Her speech endorsing Trump this week suggests that she’s the next Walt Whitman, as Jeet Heer writes: “There is a strong consensus among Palin scholars as to where she fits into the poetic pantheon: She is heir to the tradition of free-flowing democratic verse that runs from Walt Whitman to Carl Sandburg to Allen Ginsberg … Now that Palin is back in the spotlight, it’s hard not to hear her voice in her great precursor Whitman. Palin’s alliterative apostrophe to the common folk of Iowa (“You farm families! And teachers! And teamsters! And cops, and cooks!”) calls to mind the egalitarian inclusiveness of Whitman’s many lists … As a right-wing populist, Palin shifts the political valence but keeps the allegiance to the ordinary. As much as any Whitmanesque poet, she claims to be the voice of those who are never listened to.”
  • In which Janet Malcolm takes Ted Hughes’s unauthorized biographer, Jonathan Bate, to task: “Beyond tastelessness there is Bate’s cluelessness about what you can and cannot do if you want to be regarded as an honest and serious writer … The question of what [Hughes] was ‘really’ like remains unanswered, as it should. If anything is our own business, it is our pathetic native self. Biographers, in their pride, think otherwise. Readers, in their curiosity, encourage them in their impertinence. Surely Hughes’s family, if not his shade, deserve better than Bate’s squalid findings about Hughes’s sex life and priggish theories about his psychology.”
  • Fact: Robert Pinsky once wrote a text-adventure video game called Mindwheel. “For a brief time in the mid-nineteen-eighties major literary publishers, including Simon & Schuster and Random House, opened software divisions, and major bookstores stocked works of ‘interactive fiction,’ ” writes James Reith; Pinsky’s Mindwheel is “a playful mishmash of sci-fi tropes, Pop surrealism, and allusions both high and low: the work of a poet having fun, but still the work of a poet. After all, Pinsky pointed out to me, ‘allusion’ and ‘ludicrous’ both come from the Latin ludere, meaning ‘to play.’ ”
  • While we’re here poring over our “books” and our “literature,” there are people out there with their eyes on the real prize: an elevator to the stars. “As outlandish as it seems, a space elevator would make getting to space accessible, affordable and potentially very lucrative. But why it hasn’t happened yet basically boils down to materials—even the best of today’s super-strong and super-lightweight materials just still aren’t good enough to support a space elevator … ‘The problem with the entire space elevator effort is that there is no real support for it … This is what a project looks like when it’s done as a hobby, by hundreds of people spread out all over the world. There will be no substantial progress until there is real support and professional coordinating management for the effort.’ ”

No Stranger to Excess

December 17, 2015 | by

Terry Southern, as pictured on the cover of Yours in Haste and Adoration.

A letter from Terry Southern to Fayette Hickox, dated June 29, 1978, and sent to the offices of The Paris Review. Southern, a novelist and screenplay writer, contributed often to the Review; he died in 1995, and our humor prize is named after him. Hickox—who is, as Southern was apparently unaware, a man—was George Plimpton’s assistant and a former managing editor of the magazine. Gene Andrewski, referred to below, was a former managing editor, too, and Maxine Groffsky ran the Review’s offices in Paris from 1966 until it moved to New York in 1973. (The letter’s original spelling and punctuation have been retained.)

This letter appears in Yours in Haste and Adoration: Selected Letters of Terry Southern, edited by Nile Southern and Brooke Allen, out now from Antibookclub. Read More »

Aesop and The Paris Review

December 7, 2015 | by

A concentrated treatment to reinvigorate intellect and imagination.

How to Use

Read attentively from cover to cover at least once; repeat as desired. For best results, pair with a responsible intake of red wine.

Ingredients

Erudition, insouciance, concision, onomatopoeia, allegory, exposition, allusion, anastrophe, synecdoche, metaphor, ekphrasis, irony, verisimilitude, euphony, assonance, litotes, caesurae, alliteration, metonymy.

What to Expect

Aroma: ink, paper
Product texture: smooth, substantial
Feel: stimulated, transported

We recommend pairing this stimulating read with application of a facial cleansing masque. 

Read More »

Surprise—It’s Dylan Thomas, and Other News

October 27, 2015 | by

Two of Lilliput’s 1942 covers.

  • A lost poem by Dylan Thomas, published originally in a magazine called Lilliput in 1942, has been recovered from a torn-out page; this weekend, in an act of poetic resuscitation, the actor Celyn Jones will read it aloud in public. We know the poem is called “A Dream of Winter,” and that it “features eight verses of three lines and focuses on imagery of a birdless wood, snow, and ‘singing statures.’ ” Anyone who can reconstruct it word for word based on these parameters will receive the entirety of my checking account.
  • The novelist H. L. “Doc” Humes helped to cofound The Paris Review in the early fifties—an often delicate enterprise, apparently. “Doc’s essential contribution to the founding of The Paris Review was his gusto and charisma; he was the first managing editor, but he prioritized his own writing … Doc was embarrassingly demoted to ‘advertising manager’ at the first issue’s release in spring 1953—a slight that prompted him to stamp his name onto the masthead of as many copies of the first issue as he could. In future issues, Doc was restored to the masthead as a founding and contributing editor, in spite of his laissez-faire style.”
  • Today in mourning through psychogeography: “When’s the last time you’ve spotted someone you know on Google Maps? I never had. And my mother, besides, is no longer alive. It couldn’t be her … By moving the camera position up and down the street, and using the zoom function, I could trace my mom’s movements on that day as the Google car drove by. In the first frame, she’s a few paces from the door, with her back to the street; she was probably just returning from work … I took screenshots of my mom from every angle available on the site, saved them to my hard drive, and e-mailed copies to myself, just in case my hard drive crashes at some point. Then, like a living, breathing grief-complicating cliché, I e-mailed the images to family and friends, in order to simultaneously brighten and ruin their days.”
  • Jim Shaw is working a vein that you might call “crackpot gothic”: his retrospective at the New Museum features his own work as well as the thrift-store paintings, UFO magazines, and wooden theatrical flats he’s recovered from various ends of America. “Like the surrealist Max Ernst, Shaw eschews a single signature style in favor of an elaborate, somewhat hermetic personal mythology … Shaw’s show may be titled ‘The End Is Here,’ but he appears to share our national optimism. Although his obsessive faux naïve work dares you to find it creepy, it is more often strangely cheerful, as well as enigmatic. How nice to see a swarm of gnat-sized Superman clones in pink capes fly through a giant keyhole.”
  • Growing old blows. Art and literature know this—in fact, they know it better than science, or at least better than dermatology. And so dermatologists, in their textbooks, turn to art: “The authors of Surgical Anatomy of the Faceconclude their efficient run-through of the changes that occur from approximately age thirty to seventy by referring their readers to a few seventeenth-century oil paintings. ‘These changes,’ they note, ‘can be clearly seen in the sequential self-portraits of Rembrandt.’ And indeed, in the four that the authors have selected, we can trace the Dutch master’s transformation from soft, luminescent youth to jowly, faded old man. More precisely, we can observe as ‘the melolabial lines deepen, forehead lines appear, and undulation of the mandibular line becomes noticeable,’ observe ‘the nasal tip descend, and the rhytids of the forehead, the perioral area, and the neck deepen … ’ ”