As the oil spill makes landfall off Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, or Texas, we must keep our focus not just on the current anguish and outrage over this leak, but clearly eye our future: Connect the dots, the spills. – “When Oil Spills, All Things Are Connected,” by Brenda Peterson, The Huffington Post
‘In the first edition, it had no name and in the second, he called it 'Walt Whitman' and then I think he called it 'Poem of Walt Whitman, an American' for a while,’ Hass tells Terry Gross. ‘And it really wasn't until the end of his life that he called it by the name that all schoolchildren know it by, Song of Myself.’ – from NPR Website
Mr. Carey’s new book is his first to be set in America. 'Parrot and Olivier' takes place in 1830 and is an “improvisation,” as Mr. Carey calls it, on the history of Alexis de Tocqueville, who appears here as the asthmatic, myopic, nosebleed-prone Olivier-Jean-Baptiste de Clarel de Barfleur de Garmont. – from “Peter Carey: at Home in Australia, New York and Writing,” by Charles McGrath, The New York Times
This book is full of Plimpton's most famous antics: his love of fireworks, his experiences with the New York Philharmonic and the Detroit Lions, and his exploits as a trapeze artist for the Barnum & Bailey circus. It also contains more tender, private sentiments of the man who wrestled the gun from Robert Kennedy's assassin and who was a husband, a father and a mentor. – from “Tasting the Flavors of Life as Only ‘George’ Could,” by Simon Van Booy, NPR Website
JEFFREY BROWN: There is also a real sparseness, even on the page -- these are short poems, you are a woman of few words. Is that on purpose? Is that boiling it down in some way?
RAE ARMANTROUT: Yes, it's on purpose. I mean, I admire compression and I think that sometimes the words can mean more than one thing or the phrases can be taken more than one way, so that there might be, I hope, a kind of density of meaning within the phrase. I could also say that really I almost learned my craft early on from reading William Carlos Williams, whose work is also very condensed, and Emily Dickinson, whose work is tremendously condensed. – from NPR Website
Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile is a multi-media and documentary film project by Tom Corwin that follows a classic bookmobile across country on back roads with acclaimed authors taking turns at the wheel. At each stop the bookmobile’s doors will open inviting the public in to take their choice of digital and analog titles in exchange for interviews about books that have changed their lives. – from “Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile” Website
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present, by Howard Zinn (New York: Perennial Classics, 2001; first published in 1980)
Part of the legacy of Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States “[chronicles] American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools – with its emphasis on great men in high places – to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace.” A People’s History of the United States should be required reading.
… a ‘people’s history’ promises more than any one person can fulfill, and it is the most difficult kind of history to recapture. I call it that anyway because, with all its limitations, it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people’s movements of resistance.
That makes it a biased account, one that leans in a certain direction. I am not troubled by that, because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the other direction – so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people’s movements – that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission. – from A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
Several films nominated for best picture this year are based on books, which might be a literary accomplishment if there weren't so many darned pictures in the running. For the first time in decades, the Motion Picture Academy has chosen to nominate 10 films for best picture; four are based on books. – by Carolyn Kellogg, The Los Angeles Times