Notes on Caleb Crain’s “Overthrow”

In spite of embedded Shakespeare and sundry 19th Century potential footnotes, Caleb Crain’s new novel, “Overthrow” (Viking, August, 2019), may remind readers more of the William Powell and Myrna Loy films that made noir comedies out of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” than to Henry James (who, it might be argued, made drama out ofContinue reading “Notes on Caleb Crain’s “Overthrow””

Some Readings

Course of Mirrors (Ashen Venema); Beer in the Snooker Club (Waguih Ghali); Southeaster (Haroldo Conti); Envoy and Ward’s Fool (Caleb Crain) I was cured a couple of years ago of making unsolicited reading recommendations. Having pushed a couple of suggestions into the hands of a suspecting neighbor, who initially faked appreciation but later made meContinue reading “Some Readings”

Notes On Reading Caleb Crain’s “Necessary Errors”

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” And Caleb Crain would seem to agree. His recent novel, “Necessary Errors,” is full of conversations, and he’s now providing the pictures in an electronic “extra illustrated binding” on his blog. But any resemblance to the Alice books probably stops there. OneContinue reading “Notes On Reading Caleb Crain’s “Necessary Errors””

Writing and its Discontents: Lady Gaga to Replace McChrystal

I read with interest Caleb Crain’s recent post, about Freud, which begins with a doubt about blogging. Doubts about blogging can quickly reduce to an absurdity: why write at all? I’m beginning to suspect there are more readers than are being counted in the polls. The question is, what are we reading. Attendance at baseball gamesContinue reading “Writing and its Discontents: Lady Gaga to Replace McChrystal”

Books on Tee-Shirts: More on the Reading Crisis

In Ken Auletta’s “Publish or Perish,” about the sale of books in print copy versus electronic format (New Yorker, April 26), Steve Jobs is shown unwrapping the iPad as a reversal of Apple’s stated position two years earlier, when Jobs said, according to Auletta, that “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is,Continue reading “Books on Tee-Shirts: More on the Reading Crisis”

Solving the Texas Textbook Massacre, Scandal, and Mystery

Textbooks are like disposable diapers, fodder for landfills, their obsolescence planned and forced new editions programmed with regularity. When I was a kid we couldn’t write in our textbooks. The nuns used them year after year – textbooks must not have been programmed to self-destruct quite so quickly in those days. We had to coverContinue reading “Solving the Texas Textbook Massacre, Scandal, and Mystery”

Theo Jansen and Advanced “Avatar”

Caleb Crain, we learned yesterday, prefers movies that are true to nature, acoustic. He’s more interested in the Carny than the ride, while David Denby prefers the roller coaster, ignoring the Carny, and if he doesn’t have to leave the theatre for the ride, even better. Johnny Meah’s act wouldn’t make much of a movieContinue reading “Theo Jansen and Advanced “Avatar””

Crain, Denby, Dylan and the Avatar of Health Care

“Now there’s nothing wrong with technology per se, and there’s nothing wrong with fantasy, either,” Caleb Crain offers at the end of his Avatar movie review (posted both on his blog and at n+1). And there’s nothing wrong with corporations, per se, either, he might have added, for, in any case, are not many ofContinue reading “Crain, Denby, Dylan and the Avatar of Health Care”

caMels, whEN to caPITalize, & concrEte POEMS

Over at Steamboats, Caleb Crain has lately expressed a concern over the use of camel case letters. We are not opposed to the use of camel case in a corporate logo, particularly where Concrete poetry might find a place in commerce. We went to An Anthology of Concrete Poetry (Emmett Williams, ed., 1967, Something Else Press), remembering some camelContinue reading “caMels, whEN to caPITalize, & concrEte POEMS”

Caleb Crain and Becker-Posner Print Their Blogs

As we watch the coming of the end of books and the disappearance of newspapers, we note an increase in electronic self-publishing, blogs the obvious pedestrian example, but then, in an interesting twist, we see blogs subsequently published in more traditional print copy format. Two recent and noteworthy examples illustrate: Caleb Crain’s The Wreck of theContinue reading “Caleb Crain and Becker-Posner Print Their Blogs”

Back to the Futurism – What’s new in Poetryland: Flarf, Conceptual Writing, and Concrete Poetry

We cross the border into Poetryland. At the crossing the guards confiscate our miner’s helmet and swim fins, and ask the purpose of our visit. On holiday, sightseeing, see what’s new, we reply. We head to the old haunts, and what do we find? Flarf, a portmanteau word that identifies a poem created from electronicContinue reading “Back to the Futurism – What’s new in Poetryland: Flarf, Conceptual Writing, and Concrete Poetry”