WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Learn the craft with William S. Burroughs

Now here’s a thought. Instead of forking over the bucks for that MFA at Iowa or Stanford, spend four hours or so listening to William S. Burroughs lecture on writing. … Continue reading

February 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

Yes, literature is elitist… thank God!

A while back, Salon’s Laura Miller asked the musical question, “Is the literary world elitist?” My short answer? Yes. Because it’s supposed to be. The word “literary” has a certain … Continue reading

February 21, 2014 · 21 Comments

Did the CIA infiltrate the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the ’60s? (Uh…no.)

Psssst. Have you heard? The Iowa Writers’ Workshop was a CIA front in the ’50s and ‘60s. Oh, wait. No. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop was funded by the CIA. Sorry. … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · 5 Comments

Which are you? MFA or NYC?

This looks like it’ll be an interesting book: a compilation of essays that look at the nature of the American literary scene. Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) has gotten … Continue reading

February 4, 2014 · 7 Comments

Craig Nova on the future of the novel

In July I did a brief post about the future of the novel, provoked by a quote I’d run across by novelist Craig Nova. Mr. Nova has recently chimed in … Continue reading

January 2, 2014 · 5 Comments

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar: symbolism in fiction

So in 1963 some kid grew the cojones to ask a bunch of famous writers about symbolism in their work, i.e., did they think about it consciously and stick it … Continue reading

December 1, 2013 · 19 Comments

A new book recommendation site: Just One Book

Looks like it’s just getting off the ground, but Just One Book is a place where readers recommend — you guessed it: Just One Book. There are only twelve books … Continue reading

November 29, 2013 · 2 Comments

Block that extraneous, disposable, redundant, pointless adjective — unless it works

  A quickie today, because I have Yesterday Road business to attend to. Here is a list of “exquisite” adjectives I came across this morning. It got my mind to … Continue reading

October 11, 2013 · 2 Comments

Social media and common sense: no tweeting while walking!

“There’s this new neediness — it pervades everything.” These are the words of a character in Dave Eggers’ new novel, The Circle, which seems to be about a monolithic information/social … Continue reading

October 8, 2013 · 2 Comments

The world’s strangest book? Quite possibly!

  (Click image to enlarge) Since The Codex Seraphinianus is written in an indecipherable language and is illustrated with bizarre images of impossible things, why, yes, it could be the … Continue reading

September 18, 2013 · 3 Comments