Eaton Hamilton

the problem with being trans is cis people. The problem with being queer is straight people. The problem with being disabled is abled people. The problem with being Black is white people. In other words, prejudice.

Tag: LitHub

In the Green Sublime

My Garden with Poppies 2020; photo: Eaton Hamilton

What Do Writing a Novel and Tending a Garden Have In Common? by Naheed Phiroze Patel

at LitHub.

I can’t think of a better metaphor for writing than gardening. All the work one has to do outside–cleaning the debris from last year, tilling the soil, planting, waiting for germination, waiting for plants to grow and bloom/produce. Every year, if we have them, we side-eye our gardens thinking about what can be done better next time. What should be moved, and where? Editing, editing, editing.

We’re never truly satisfied, and so it is with our books as we coddle them through draft after draft, nudging them closer to fruition.


Forever young? Not on our lives

from LitHub

When we’re young, we can’t imagine aging. Many of us think we won’t get there, or if we do, we’ll be more vital than our grandparents or parents were, which is just another way of thinking we won’t get there. For some, that’s a reasonable thought given their circumstances, but for others it’s far more likely that we’ll pass through youth into middle age, and, if we’re lucky, into older age.

Read this. Such a fine author:

Bernardine Evanisto on aging and women’s stories at LitHub.

Diane Seuss: I Don’t Want to Die

photo: Jane Eaton Hamilton

Best essay on aging in the lit game I’ve read in forever. Highly recommend.

I Don’t Want to Die

“Back when I was wise I had a whole diatribe to lay out about writing toward an ending. It had crocuses in it, and snowdrops. Being from rural Michigan I know the names of flowers. My diatribe was also a bit bitchy about the state of contemporary American poetry. The marketing angle. The crowdsourcing. The hairdos and eyebrows. The celebrity. The social media posts by young poets saying, “Fuck Keats. Fuck Shakespeare.” One more round of make it new. How tedious that essay would have been. How mean-spirited. Witchy. Not a cool, green, voluminous witch, but a dried-up hag of a witch who doesn’t want to be replaced. Who fears a mass grave. Not just filled with bodies but with poems judged passé by the young. This is no country for old (wo)men (Yeats, me).”

 

“Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World”

The World Trade Center burns

We all want to know how to handle the horror that is, it seems, always around us now, haunting us all like a shadow we can’t shake. Poet (and director of the NYU Creative Writing Program) Deborah Landau has been thinking and writing about terror, and terrorism, and how to live in our unsafe world, for her new book.

“That Tuesday morning,” writes Fran Bigman, “September 11, Landau told me, she was pregnant with her second child and dropping her three-year-old son off at nursery school downtown; they were on a bus and people started screaming, and they saw a plane hit the tower. Scenes of disaster, both remembered and imagined, run through her head, but she isn’t a narrative poet who retells a story. “I am not a depicter, not any more. I’m never writing about something,” she tells me, “I’m always writing out of something—or into something.”

“Landau finished these poems, which make up Soft Targets [her upcoming collection], after the attack on Bastille Day 2016, in an intense 12-day burst—not her usual working method. These are poems for a world in which there is no safety. It opens with Landau’s fears for herself, familiar fears. But then the poem rushes outward—we, the innocent, are soft targets, but even bin Laden was a soft target to his attackers. The poems in Soft Targets keep sweeping outward, dizzyingly, from the intimacy of Landau and her “you” to the entire city to the entire world. Another of the book’s early poems follows this same trajectory:

I’m a soft target, you’re a soft target
and the city has a hundred hundred thousand softs;

the pervious skin, the softness of the face
the wrist inners, the hips, the lips, the tongue,

the global body,
its infinite permutable softnesses—”

Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World

“New Poetry by Indigenous Women” curated by Natalie Diaz

We are lucky to have a selection of Indigenous poets to read at LitHub: Abigail Chabitnoy, Tria Blu Wakpa, Heather Cahoonand Sara Marie Ortiz. I’m happy to draw your attention to their work.

New Poetry by Indigenous Women

Where New York’s Literary Single Girls Lived by Amy Rowland

NY is a gentrified city, with the Disneyfication of Times Square perhaps the best representation. But here’s an article about Eighteen Gramercy Park South before it was turned into swishy full-floor suites, when young literary women lived and took their meals there. Read this interesting article by Amy Rowland about her time of residence.

Single Girls

Shelving Books–not for the meek

Hanya Yanagihara gets my vote here for sheer numbers and gorgeous storage. I think only writers who are visual artists could be comfortable with the results after shelving by colour, don’t you, but nonetheless, Michael Chabon did it. (I was just as impressed at the existence of the summer home.) A fun article by Emily Temple at LitHub.

I organize mine into poetry, short fiction, novels, and non-fiction, then organize by “Best of” collections, and, in non-fiction, by subject (art, photography, biographies, gardening, animals etc) but I don’t alphabetize sections.

How 11 Writers Organize Their Personal Libraries

Read Your Way Back to Wholeness

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Emily Temple has gathered LitHub’s 10 Great Essays That Should be Made into Films

I look forward to making my way through these essays, some of which are familiar already, and some of which I’ve read recently, including Carmen Maria Machado’s fine ‘A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity.’

What Being an Editor Taught Anna Pitoniak About Writing

Anna Pitoniak on the Inside Tricks of the Trade

writing-3

“I’m an editor at Random House, but for the last several years I’ve been writing around the edges of my day job: mornings, nights, weekends, wherever I can grab the free time. I began my first novel (which is publishing today) while I was working as an editor, and I credit my job with giving me the courage, and the tools, to tackle writing a book. The truth is that spending one’s life reading good writing—not just reading it, but thinking about what makes it so good—is the best way to teach one’s self how to do it. For some people, this might mean enrolling in an MFA program. For me, I was lucky enough to learn by observing the other editors around me, and working on manuscripts as they went from rough drafts to finished books. It was the best writing education I could have received.”

LitHub

The Forgotten Women Writers

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early sketch, unknown date: Jane Eaton Hamilton

I think of Vivian Maier and wonder who else is missing…

A.N. Devers has written a compelling article, Bette Howland: The Tale of a Forgotten Genius, for Lit Hub about re-discovering a prominent writer who fell to obscurity. Howland’s memoir published in 1974 came to light in a bin of used books, and it turned out that she had been much prized, had won a Guggenheim, an NEA grant, a MacArthur, and was friends with Saul Bellow.

“As for writing (your writing) I think you ought to write, in bed, and make use of your unhappiness. I do it. Many do. One should cook and eat one’s misery. Chain it like a dog.” Saul Bellow to Bette Howland

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