Litblog Roundup 58

Litblog Roundup 58

Do grade-school kids still have to write or speak about what they did during summer vacation? I’m not a kid, so I don’t get to take the summer off, but I did anyway. At least, I took a break from some things, and the roundup was one of them. I’m back for now. If there are enough readers, I’ll keep going. Let me know if you’d like more of this, or if you have any thoughts at all, in the comments below.

For any new readers out there, the Litblog roundup is a regular summary of what’s going on across the literary Internet. Let’s get started…

John Ashbery

It’s something of a rule for the roundup that I should avoid obituaries. Obituaries, along with Harry Potter, occupy so much space in the conversation that they hardly leave room for anything else. The two topics remind me of some obnoxious people I know. Nevertheless, I enjoy breaking rules.

The New York Times’ obituary has been among the most widely-circulated commentaries, as is so often the case with theirs.

Mr. Ashbery’s early work was mostly known in avant-garde circles, but his arrival as a major figure in American literature was signaled in 1976, when he became the only writer to win the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the same year, for his collection “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” The title poem of the volume is a 15-page meditation on the painting of the same name by Parmigianino, the Italian Renaissance artist.

Ben Lerner has a remembrance in the New Yorker and Eileen Miles has one in Out .

Working Hard for (No) Money

Writers , artists , and cartoonists just don’t get paid the way they used to, it seems. It also seems that every so often there’s a volley of commentary about the problem. Unfortunately, it’s rare for that commentary to propose workable solutions.

What Does “Award-Winning” Mean, Anyway?

Speaking of the market, Amit Chaudhuri has a piece in the Guardian that has been making the rounds, arguing that…

What we read is now defined by the market, as the views of Booker prize judges carry more weight than the need for originality and innovation

How to Hack the Best Seller List

It seems there are two ways to make your way onto the New York Times Bestseller list. There’s the old fashioned way: sell lots of copies to people who want them. The other way? It’s as clever as it is rude.

How does a book with such a low Amazon ranking that’s ’temporarily out of stock’ suddenly become the most read book in YA? How does something that has next to no organic blogging coverage or even Twitter buzz do this? If the only Twitter gossip for your book is variations of ‘Seriously, has anyone heard of this book?’ you’ve got problems.

That’s all for this edition of the roundup. See you next time! Again, if you’ve got any remarks, clickbait, or other musings, put ’em in the comments.