Springing Links

(1) The action remains fast and/or furious -- choose your own appropriate conjunction! -- in this year's Tournament of Books. Some upsets in the first round, I have to say. Who foresaw The Luminaries flaming out so early? Certainly not the author of its first-round opponent, Hill Williams, who didn't even want his book involved in the competition. I like to think Ruth Ozeki kicking his tail in the second round hurt at least a teensy bit. Sad to see The Son going up so soon against Eleanor & Park. Nobody wins this one, I'm afraid. Both are too good: we all lose when either bow out. 

 

(2) Jarret Middleton's essay on "the beauty of forgetting" is wonderful, whether you know who Jacques Ranciere is or not. 

"Returning to so many early influences has again reminded me to thrive in partiality. Like a good mentor, I have been prompted not to be a vampire, to not be a tourist, to make the first maneuver toward originality by looping back around and returning to where I departed, reexamining the point of origin and all the detritus that litters and hides it from me. Not to relearn what has been forgotten, but to forget what has been learned. To search deteriorated notions and oppressed positions. These microscopic transgressions form the phenomenal ground of varied arts that help me live. The message has been a relief: adhere to the indeterminate in all of us. Go small, go slow, go weird and unknown, and you won’t have to worry about being interesting."

 

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(4) Christopher Tignor sets to music a recording of John Ashbery reading his 1956 poem "A Boy," and upward the heart jumps and ears perk. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. (Hear the rest of his album, "Thunder Lay Down in the Heart," at his website.)