Litblog Roundup 2014-11-30

It seems there’s nothing quite like an obituary to get people talking. For example, an obituary can encouage some blog entries about that obituary, and then some social media posts will link to the blog entries about the obituary. It’s enough to say that two obituaries were noteworthy this week: about crime novelist P.D. James and Pulitzer-Winning Poet Laureate Mark Strand .

David is to Goliath as Everything is to Amazon

There’s an ongoing story of David and Golaith, where the role of Golaith is played by Amazon and the role of David can be played by pretty much anything else. This week, the role of David was played by The Strand , a prominent New York City bookstore that has thrived for two generations.

Bureaucracy vs. Writing

Conventional wisdom has it that governments, bureaucracies, corporations, and academics all tend to write their ideas using obscure language, because they’re all out to get you. By contrast to this notion, the recently released style manual from the Central Intelligence Agency asks writers to “prefer the forthright to the pompous and ornate”.

Making Sense of Ferguson

The Verso Books blog has an excellent roundup of things to read in order to understand the context and history behind the events in Ferguson .

Everything About Broadsides

Broadsides are a fascinating literary medium. The blog Writing Without Paper has a comprehensive roundup on the subject of broadsides .

Gabriel García Márquez

The New York Times reports, “there was an outcry in Colombia after the announcement on Monday that the archive of Gabriel García Márquez would go to the University of Texas instead of his native country”.

Rape Culture and the Poetics of Alt Lit

In the wake of what has been described as the “death” of the alt lit literary scene, a website called Delierious Hem has published a “ table of contents ” to help make sense of it all. It contains material useful as a primer to understanding the situation in context. The table of contents culminates in a roundtable discussion entitled, “ A Writers’ and Editors’ Guide to Dismantling Rape Culture ”.

What do we Talk about When we Talk about a “Scene”?

As a teenager, I would spend a considerable amount of time thinking about, talking about, and seeking out something called “the scene”. Whether it was the music scene , or any of its cousins like the zine scene. As an adult, and especially in light of the aforementioned death of Alt Lit, I’ve begun to wonder: what’s the difference between a “scene” and a “community”? That’s probably the topic for another post, but it came up in conversation the other day, and will probably come up again in an upcoming panel discussion at LitScape in Baltimore on December 13, 2014 . Until then, I’m collecting examples of what we talk about when we talk about a “scene”:

  • A set list is primarily for describing musical performances, and sharing them happens more often in a musical context, it’s not unheard of to find a set list for a literary reading .
  • Street festivals, pub crawls and the like are usually assembled around musical venues, or art galleries but San Fransisco’s Lit Crawl is an example of something similar, for the literary arts.
  • Usually when they say “cultural district” they mean visual art, music, theater, and if you’re lucky, dance. They rarely mean literature, but in Boston there’s a cultural district specifically for the literary arts .
  • and more, I’m sure, to come…