Best of the Web 11/20/17
Thrice a month, we feature our favorite literary links. As ever, we promise: You’ll ruminate. You'll ponder. You won’t get any writing done.
From Literary Hub, "Ben Lerner on Why So Many People Rightfully Hate Poetry."
"Poetry can theoretically achieve anything—it can conjure complex emotions; it can describe a work of music or art with a beauty and depth greater than that work of music or art itself—so that any time it does not reach its near-limitless potential, whether it is as far off the mark as McGonagall’s poem or as close as, say, Keats’ six odes or Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” it is viewed—by definition—as a failure. And it is through poetry’s failure that we come back to it (hoping for better) and are repelled from it (knowing it can never reach the perfection expected of it)."
"Research suggests that recording our run-of-the-mill, daily experiences, rather than just our highs and lows, could bring us unexpected joy. And there are apps you can use to make doing that easier."
In a rare double feature, also from The New York Times, acclaimed novelist Edwidge Danticat on her visit to Grenada after Hurricane Maria: "Edwidge Danticat: Dawn After the Tempests."
"In front of the supermarket across from the Coyaba Beach Resort were blue barrels lined up to collect food and other urgently needed supplies for Dominica. At The Beach House Restaurant, just north of the airport, where I attended a pre-graduation cocktail party the night before the ceremony, the young female singer entertaining us with classic soul, as well as Caribbean covers, reminded everyone to drop something in the basket that would usually hold her tips. This time the funds would go to Dominica.
I have never been to Dominica but now I wish I had. This is not just born out of a desire to see a place “before.” Before the devastation, before the storm. I am from a place, Haiti, that constantly evokes nostalgia in the people who have seen it, lived in it, and loved it “before.”"
From McSweeney's, their highest-trending article of the week, Grub instructor Lisa Borders' hilarious "Signs That You Are A Gen-Xer Going Through Menopause."
From The Guardian, "EU and me: writers reminisce on their relationship with Europe."
"We’ve had enough. There’s only so much paella you can stomach. What we want is beans on toast and a decent cup of tea. We want to watch our own programmes and know the words for things. Tell Mum what we got up to, then early to bed. But we did Europe, came, saw and conquered. Lads on tour.
Prague, Marbella, Amsterdam. Drunk in the old town. Drunk at the station, at a sex show in the red light district. In the cafe, they come and go, the descendants of Charlemagne with their little 33cl bottles of beer and their social security. We’ve had enough of them and their espadrilles, enough of the trattoria, the mountain hut, the little pension that’s not mentioned in any of the guides. We’ve walked through the forum, through the dunes, past the mahogany men looking like a colony of seals in tiny red Speedos." -Hari Kunzru.
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