The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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You Say

Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

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Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


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  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
    "It’s just one story. The oldest. . . . Light versus dark." Spanning 8 episodes between January and March of 2014, HBO’s runaway hit True Detective challenged the status quo of contemporary crime drama. The show has been widely celebrated for its philosophy, complexity, and visual aesthetic. Co-starring actors Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Ru […]
  • The Colonel’s World December 15, 2014
    Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (born 1940) is considered by many the living Iranian novelist, a perennial Nobel Prize candidate. Dowlatabadi wrote The Colonel some thirty years ago, because in his own words he had been “afflicted.” The subject forced him to sit at the desk and write nonstop for two years. “Writing The Colonel I felt a strong sense of indignation and pa […]
  • Mr Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn by Alessandro Baricco December 15, 2014
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  • The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash December 15, 2014
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  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
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  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
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New Volume of Wallace Stevens Poetry

Helen Vendler in the NYT calls the Selected Poems the volume of Stevens we have long needed”:

In 1954, Stevens allowed Alfred Knopf to bring out his “Collected Poems” in celebration of his 75th birthday. Less than a year later, Stevens died, and although a few late poems appeared posthumously, it was by the “Collected Poems” that we knew him. The Library of America, in 1997, gave us all of his poetry and some of his prose, but we have long needed, and now possess, through the unerring taste of John N. Serio — editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal and “The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens” — a genuine “Selected Poems.” What has been omitted? The juvenilia, the unpublished poems of unhappy love, the less interesting verbal experiments and a few of the more difficult lyrics that might turn away beginners. Serio, with distinct courage, has chosen to include most of Stevens’s major sequences, declaring, by this act, that Stevens would not be Stevens without them.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. A Poetry Brou-Hah-Hah Here it is. In a scathing review that appeared in the April 3 issue of The New Republic, Helen Vendler, arguably the country’s most prominent...
  2. More Wallace Links TNR has links to a bunch more Wallace content available free on the Web. As with the Harper’s material, many of these pieces were  been...
  3. The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy The Nation has a nice feature on the poetry of Greek poet C.P. Cavafy, whose work was just published in a new translation by Daniel...
  4. TEV at Wallace Reading Even though TEV claims not to like his fiction (say it ain’t so), he was on the scene at the latest DFW reading. TEV provides...
  5. Wallace on Fatalism While Little Brown goes to press on a gussied-up version of a public domain David Foster Wallace speech, James Ryerson writes in The New York...

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3 comments to New Volume of Wallace Stevens Poetry

  • mike

    This doesn’t make sense to me:
    “Serio, with distinct courage, has chosen to include most of Stevens’s major sequences…”
    Wouldn’t it be more courageous (which is not to say a better choice) NOT to include Steven’s major sequences?

  • jh

    Helen Vendler was also included in a scholarly book of criticism that Serio edited. Of course, this isn’t mentioned anywhere on the Times’ website.

  • PJ

    Somehow I think Helen Vendler’s professional life could survive a negative review of John Serio’s selection. I don’t think the Times needed to mention that. (Indeed, one could argue that Vendler was helping out Serio by writing for that collection, so she’d be even more free at this point to criticize his choices if she thought it necessary.)
    As for the “courage” line, Stevens’ major sequences are very long, and so it’s tempting as an editor not to include them in a book with any page constraints.
    And lest anyone think me a Vendler apologist, I thought this was a really subpar piece from her. The only quotation of the poetry from any length is from “Red Loves Kit”? And the piece is oddly tendentious and feels cut and pasted from other writings, and not very particular at all the specific volume under review.
    She’s generally terrific on Stevens, and a good reviewer, so this was disappointing.

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