September 6, 2012KR BlogBlogShort Takes/Mixed Tape

Mix Tape: Inventors, Masters, Starters of Crazes

Will the old writing you’ve disowned—the poems full of mixed metaphors, the stories you never knew how to end, the essays that seem to fall flat—follow you around forever? And, as readers, “are we somehow wrong if we seek out—and even dare to enjoy—words that [an author] doesn’t believe in any longer?”

What happens to an author’s work—ready to publish or not—when he or she dies? A recent article in the Paris Review likens organ donation to “posthumous publishing, which presumes to take into account the wishes of dead authors, but involves a similarly complex set of actors. If only having one’s wishes carried out were as easy as checking a box or submitting a form.”

This is a must-read for poets sending out book manuscripts this fall: an enlightening interview with poet Kathy Fagan—professor in the Creative Writing Program at The Ohio State University and this year’s judge for The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry—on what she looks for in a book manuscript.

The six types of writers, according to Ezra Pound. Are you a “master” or a “diluter”? Or perhaps a “starter of crazes”?

A look at David Foster Wallace as a “Midwestern writer.” How did growing up in the Midwest shape Wallace’s work—and why did he return to the region?

Next time you visit Boston, check out Infinite Boston, a guide to the landmarks that appear in or provide inspiration for Wallace’s 1996 novel Infinite Jest.

Whatever kind of writer you are, may you not resort to violence. And may you avoid the new line of soups from the folks who brought us countless Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Figurative soup for the soul is one thing, but literal soup for the soul is beyond bizarre.