KR BlogBlog

Short Takes: A Million Lines, A Million Books

It’s one thing to be in that enviable state of owning more books than you have time in the (foreseeable) future to read, but quite another to be drowning in so many physical texts that, to paraphrase Lao Tzu, your possessions possess you. One company’s devised a creative antidote to Too-Many-Books Syndrome.

In case you’re not busy enough with your own projects—or if you just want to do something, well, interesting—you can always dabble in collaboration and support a venerated small press by adding a few lines to The Million-Line Poem.

Norman Mailer wrote over 40,000 letters in his lifetime. Take a look at some interesting excerpts.

Jarvis Cocker of Pulp: “It’s strange that the most intelligible part of a song—the words—should be seen as the most boring and chore-like aspect of the songwriting process by musicians themselves. And I think that’s down to a very simple fact: the words to a song are not that important. They’re contractual obligation, a necessary evil, an afterthought…. I have always had an extreme aversion to the way lyrics are often typeset to resemble poetry. Lyrics are not poetry: they are the words to a song.”

Amazing, inventive, cross-genre, campy—or all four? It’s the first movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but accompanied by a live orchestra and choir.

William Deresiewicz: “The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. … Social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The ‘best’ are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this.”

Is poetry a “project,” or can it be described as such? Is a “project” something a poet can have? Dorothea Lasky says no.

The relative worth of a certain award (nonsense, neutral, good, indispensable) is up for debate. But nominating a best-selling young adult fiction writer for a National Book Award and then rescinding the nomination as a mistake is at least downright tacky, if not, well, wrong.