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Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Show Your Affection with Vintage Issues of The Paris Review

January 23, 2015 | by

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Photo: Stephen Andrew Hiltner

It’s not easy to describe matters of the heart. Even Shakespeare sometimes got it wrong: “Love is a smoke,” he wrote in Romeo and Juliet, as if we’re all human cigarettes, burning ourselves down with romance.

But Valentine’s Day is mere weeks away, and if we want to make a good impression, it behooves us to use our words—our best words. Fortunately, The Paris Review’s archive is full of writers, more than sixty years’ worth, who know all the right things to say.

That’s why we’re offering a special Valentine’s Day box set: choose any three issues from our archive, and at no extra charge, we’ll package them in the lovely gift box you see above, including a card featuring William Pène du Bois’s 1953 sketch of the Place de la Concorde. (You may have seen it on the title page of the quarterly, or in the footer of our Web site.) Then they go straight to the home of your significant other.

You’ll find all the details here—orders begin shipping next week, and delivery before Valentine’s Day is guaranteed if you order by February 10.

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Say “I Love You” with Vintage Issues of The Paris Review

January 14, 2015 | by

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It’s hard to put love into words. That’s why so many of us express our emotions with small, high-pitched noises, like woodland creatures.

But Valentine’s Day is only a month off, and we must rise to the occasion with language. Luckily, The Paris Review’s archive is full of writers—more than sixty years’ worth—who know all the right things to say.

That’s why we’re offering a special Valentine’s Day box set: you choose any three issues from our archive, and at no extra charge, we’ll package them in a beautiful gift box, including a card featuring William Pène du Bois’s 1953 sketch of the Place de la Concorde. (You may have seen it on the title page of the quarterly, or in the footer of our Web site.) Then they go straight to the home of your significant other.

Unless you’d rather send them to yourself, so you can memorize, say, the entirety of our Art of Poetry interview with Pablo Neruda and impress your valentine by quoting it at length. Either way, you look very thoughtful.

You’ll find all the details here—orders begin shipping the last week of January.

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R. S. Thomas’s “Luminary”

February 14, 2014 | by

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Photo: André Mouraux, via Flickr

I wrote in my journal, “It is Valentine’s Day. Very good weather. I walked through Central Park feeling lonely and benign and so happy for everyone I saw who was in love, or starting to be in love. I have come to accept that that kind of thing is not meant for me, but that is not a sad thought: there are many ways to love, and be loved, and live a rich life anyway. I will be okay!” I was eighteen.

At the time, I didn’t know the poem “Luminary” by R. S. Thomas; I wish I had. A friend would introduce me to his work the next year. This poem, which so captures a certain wistful quality, came to me even later; it is one of the “rediscovered poems” anthologized a few years ago with Thomas’s other uncollected works.

Those who know Thomas will recognize certain tropes: the elevation of the natural, the suspicion of institutions and “the Machine.” But it is, first and foremost, a love poem. “My balance / of joy in a world / that has gone off joy’s / standard.”

Romantic, yes, but as even I recognized as a melodramatic spinster of eighteen, romance and love can coexist quite comfortably. This poem, to me, conjures both. Read More »

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That’s a No-No

February 14, 2014 | by

Choosing your own erotic destiny, or trying to.

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Panel from Secret Hearts No. 111, April 1966.

A few nights ago, I was in a world-class sushi restaurant, holding a radish shaped like a rose and contemplating my next move. Koji, the head chef, had carved the radish-rose for me moments ago, after a game of strip poker that ended with him fucking me in the dining room. Earlier that night, I’d adjourned to a lavish hotel suite to suck tequila from a rock star’s navel; a renowned fashion photographer had taken pictures of my genitals and gone down on me in his darkroom, where I’d blurted without thinking, “God, I’m so wet!”; and I’d indulged in a little tasteful S&M with my friend’s older boss, spanking his firm, muscled, George Clooney-ish buttocks with a schoolteacher’s ruler.

Now I felt trapped, denatured, and sort of bored.

A Girl Walks into a Bar is a new choose-your-own-adventure-style erotic novel in which “YOU make the decisions.” YOU, in this case, was me—I was calling the shots in this vale of thrills. I’d picked up Girl in pursuit of cheap gender-bending laughs, but I also had what you might charitably call an anthropological curiosity. In the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wanted to see: What did a mainstream erotic novel look like?

Written by three South African women under the pseudonym Helena S. Paige, A Girl Walks into a Bar markets itself as an empowerment agent. “YOUR FANTASY, YOUR RULES. YOU DECIDE HOW THE NIGHT WILL END,” its cover says. (Another new novel with a similar conceit, Follow Your Fantasy, suggests, “Even if you choose submission, the control is still all yours.”) But by promising refuge for the powerless, the publishers reveal something much sadder—the subtext of these proclamations is that control, especially for women, is simply too hard to come by in the real world. One might as well get one’s kicks elsewhere. When you print “YOU DECIDE HOW THE NIGHT WILL END” on the front of a work of fiction, you imply that women are not often afforded the pleasure of doing so. Read More »

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Darling, Come Back, and Other News

February 14, 2014 | by

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Photo: Jnlin, via Wikimedia Commons

  • In Taiwan, a commemorative Valentine’s Day train ticket sold out in less than an hour: it takes you from “Dalin (大林, pronounced similarly to ‘darling’ in English) station in Chiayi County to Gueilai (歸來, literally: ‘come back’).” A journey any of us should be willing to make after we’ve behaved badly. It’s love on a real train.
  • Voltaire in love: “She understands Newton, she despises superstition and in short she makes me happy.”
  • But we can count on literature to remind us that things are not always so sweet. Here are the ten unhappiest marriages in fiction.
  • Can atrocity be the subject matter of poetry? Our poetry editor, Robyn Creswell, on Carolyn Forché’s new anthology.
  • “I also like to catch dangling modifiers, because we all miss those … I have had authors who say that dangling modifiers are part of their style and don’t want to change them.” An interview with a crackerjack copyeditor.

 

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Strawberry Fields

February 11, 2014 | by

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Photo: Ash Berlin, via Flickr

It has been some years now since I mastered the art of dressing strawberries in tuxedos.

I was first introduced to the skill at a friend’s baby shower in Rhode Island; a young woman demonstrated how one dipped the strawberry in white chocolate, and then, after letting it dry, dipped it again, at an angle, in milk chocolate. One appended a small chocolate bow tie and perhaps, with a toothpick, shirt studs. (And, if feeling really ambitious, made a distaff counterpart, all in white chocolate.)

My first strawberry-in-a-tuxedo looked like he had just come off a week-long bender. His lapels were smudged, his bow tie askew. But by the time I had dipped my fifth—I think we were supposed to stop at two, but I couldn’t—that out-of-season berry was a veritable Brummel. (Just in case one of them needed to attend a summer dinner-dance or something, I made one in a white dinner jacket, too.) The trick is letting it dry properly between dips, and holding it aloft while it does so. Read More »

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