Archive for September, 2008

Midnight Poetry: “Alea Jacta Est”

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
Alea Jacta Est

(William Haskins)

in fury’s grasp
or throes of pain,
when nightmares stalk
the waking brain,
and monsters wear
the masks of men—

still the mind,
move the pen.

beneath the heel
of tyrants’ wrath,
when robber-barons
plot your path,
to journey through
the vipers’ den—

steel the soul,
move the pen.

and when the
final die is cast,
each breath connected
to your last,
a matter of
not if, but when—

steal the night,
move the pen.

(Read more of William Haskins’ poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

“There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I’m greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed.”

- John Kenneth Galbraith



War of Words over Nobel-Worthiness of American Lit

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The top member of the jury that decides the Nobel Prizes for literature finds the U.S. “too insular and ignorant” for its writers to compete with their counterparts in Europe.

As you can imagine, the comments went over like, um…let’s see… a rejected American Idol contestant throwing a Big Gulp of Coca Cola on Paula Abdul.

Said permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Horace Engdahl:

“Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world … not the United States… The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining.”

The insults provoked passionate responses from American editors, including David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker:

“You would think that the permanent secretary of an academy that pretends to wisdom but has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov, to name just a few non-Nobelists, would spare us the categorical lectures,” said David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.

“And if he looked harder at the American scene that he dwells on, he would see the vitality in the generation of Roth, Updike, and DeLillo, as well as in many younger writers, some of them sons and daughters of immigrants writing in their adopted English. None of these poor souls, old or young, seem ravaged by the horrors of Coca-Cola.”

Oooh… snap!

(Join the discussion at the AuthorScoop Message Boards)

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Washington’s City Paper discusses the crisis in book reviews.

Societal decline fore and aft of ONE FIFTH AVENUE if you ask The International Herald Tribune.

Lake Wobegon is back with its Lord and Master, Garrison Keillor, in LIBERTY.

HAPPY FAMILIES aren’t really, but this collection of short stories by Carlos Fuentes (translated by Edith Grossman) is an absorbing read for Eric Liebtrau.

Re-do Anna Karenina?  Well, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat and, apparently, more than one way to tell this story.  Irina Reyn bites off much with her novel, WHAT HAPPENED TO ANNA K.?, but chews it right up according to The Chicago Tribune.

Afternoon Viewing: Paul Bowles

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A brief excerpt from an interview with author and translator Paul Bowles:

Paul Bowles
Uploaded by hylas8

Writerlance Update

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Received an update from Michael Santiago, the new owner of Writerlance on their recent problems:

Hello Writerlance user,

This is Michael Santiago the new owner of Durning the past 3 months we had some major issues with the previous owner still having access to our site and causing major problems.

We have finally regained total access to writerlance and can now resume business as usual. There are several members that have NOT received their writing fees and or been able to deposit money.

This needs to be straightened out asap so members can get paid for the work that has been done. We are reviewing pending payments now and will send out payments as soon as we can.

If you have any questions at all, please email:

All other emails related to the site aren’t currently working.

Thank you and we hope to serve you better in the future.

Best Regards,
Michael Santiago

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Publisher Martin Rynja reportedly not backing down from publishing The Jewel of Medina, despite recent firebombing of his home…

…Author Sherry Jones calls for an apology from the U.T. Professor who called the book “softcore pornography” and deemed it a “national security issue”.

Galleycat measures the success of literary novels.

Great moments in headlines: “Babe Ruth Barfs, Cops Strike, Hoover Gets Nasty in Lehane Novel

Robert Burns arrives… to Scottish toilet seats.

R.I.P. Konstantin Pavlov

Midnight Poetry: “Despair”

Monday, September 29th, 2008

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

…………………………I have experienc’d
The worst, the World can wreak on me–the worst
That can make Life indifferent, yet disturb
With whisper’d Discontents the dying prayer–
I have beheld the whole of all, wherein
My Heart had any interest in this Life,
To be disrent and torn from off my Hopes
That nothing now is left. Why then live on ?
That Hostage, which the world had in it’s keeping
Given by me as a Pledge that I would live–
That Hope of Her, say rather, that pure Faith
In her fix’d Love, which held me to keep truce
With the Tyranny of Life–is gone ah ! whither ?
What boots it to reply ? ’tis gone ! and now
Well may I break this Pact, this League of Blood
That ties me to myself–and break I shall !

(Read more of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, September 29th, 2008

“The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”

- Oscar Wilde




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Amazingly (or not) there are already books on the shelves about the U.S. mortgage crisis.  Oh look, here’s one now – CHAIN OF BLAME by Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla.

The New Scotsman dishes on Dirk Bogarde’s posthumous epistolary biography: EVER DIRK: THE BOGARDE LETTERS.

ROB NAYER’S BIG BOOK OF BASEBALL LEGENDS gets a happy notice in texas from Lone Star Ball.

And today, random feels good, so I’ll throw in a review of a gardening book by Moya L. Andrews, called PERENNIALS SHORT AND TALL, because everything needn’t be dire.

Afternoon Viewing: Stephen King

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Stephen King’s new ad for ESPN:

Sports Center King
Uploaded by bsap11

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Radical Islamic clerics warn of more attacks over The Jewel of Medina.

Libraries and bookstores pay tribute to controversial works during Banned Books Week…

…while David L. Ulin, writing for the L.A. Times,  cautions against turning the celebration into a “toothless, feel-good spectacle that makes us less likely to consider the actual ramifications of free expression”.

Literary festival goers meet e-reader with skepticism.

R.I.P. Charlotte Kohler

Midnight Poetry: “Quiet Girl”

Sunday, September 28th, 2008
Quiet Girl
(Langston Hughes)
I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs.

(Read more of Langston Hughes’ poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

“If I have ten minutes I use them even if they bring only two lines, and it keeps the book alive.”

- Rumer Godden



Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Arranged marriage as an alternative to Craigslist?  It only sounds crazy the first time you say it.  Read Anita Jain’s MARRYING ANITA.

Terrorism as suspense fiction’s new Cold War gives us DEATH IN SMALL DOSES and a pretty good review from

Is it anti-climactic to be the second man to walk on the moon?  Buzz Aldrin will tell us in MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION: THE LONG ROAD HOME FROM THE MOON.  (Technically it’s more a preview than a review, so sue me.)

The Economist plays Devil’s advocate on the moral highground of miliary intervention by contrasting two books: FREEDOM’S BATTLE by Gary J. Bass and AN IMPERFECT OFFERING: HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY by James Orbinski.

Afternoon Viewing: Peanuts

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

The Book Report song from the 1985 special “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”. Which character represents your writing personality? The word counting Lucy? The digressing Schroeder? The over-researching Linus? Or the procrastinating, tortured Charlie Brown?


The Orwell Diaries – Day 32

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Note: Each day that one was written, The Orwell Prize will be posting an entry from Orwell’s Diaries on the 70th anniversary of its composition. You can read the AuthorScoop preview here.


Today’s entry:

September 28, 1938:

Distinctly cooler at night. Last night used blanket all night. Red hibiscus in flower.

Read all entries.

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Borders in Pico Rivera becomes Latino literary headquarters.

Times Online presents Tom Gatti’s exclusive interview with Margaret Atwood.

Minx, a young adult graphic novel line published by DC Comics, gets the ax.

Charles Berstein addresses the “subprime poetry crisis” in Harpers.

R.I.P. Neville Armstrong

Midnight Poetry: “The Finding of Love”

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The Finding of Love
(Robert Graves)

Pale at first and cold,
Like wizard’s lily-bloom
Conjured from the gloom,
Like torch of glow-worm seen
Through grasses shining green
By children half in fright,
Or Christmas candelelight
Flung on the outer snow,
Or tinsel stars that show
Their evening glory
With sheen of fairy story–

Now with his blaze
Love dries the cobweb maze
Dew-sagged upon the corn,
He brings the flowering thorn,
Mayfly and butterfly,
And pigeons in the sky,
Robin and thrush,
And the long bulrush,
The cherry under the leaf,
Earth in a silken dress,
With end to grief,
With joy in steadfastness.

(Read more of Robert Graves’ poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”

- Thomas Berger