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Levi Stahl

Levi Stahl has written 57 posts for The Constant Conversation

Paris Review interview with Anne Carson

We’re big Anne Carson fans around here, so I’d be remiss not to point out that she’s interviewed in the newest Paris Review.

This exchange, about a line from Carson’s poem “Stanzas, Sexes, Seductions,” is both interesting–I love Carson’s description of the way the line came to her–and amusing:
INTERVIEWER
The other line, the one I persist in [...]

The National Humanities Medal, or, the New York Times misses a trick

Yesterday, the Times’s Arts Beat blog featured a post titled “Roth and Oates to receive National Humanities Medals.”
Which led me to ask: Where’s Hall?
Today, I learned, from an amazing photo on the National Journal Tumblr, that Hall was right there the whole time!
Poet Donald Hall, that is. Oh, and the Oates was Joyce Carol. Still, [...]

“Nothing genuine in a poem, or so I have learned the hard way, can be willed,” or, Charles Simic on sources of inspiration

Over at the New York Review of Books blog, Charles Simic has written a wandering, endearing post about where poets get their ideas, the way those ideas transform in the process of writing, and the “uncertain and often exasperating” work of writing a poem. The post is full of wonderful lines–the sort of aphoristic observations [...]

“This poetry is not an ornament to the uprising—it is its soundtrack and also composes a significant part of the action itself.”

At Jadilayya, Elliott Colla has published an interesting and informative piece about the role of poetry–slogans and more–in the current protests in Egypt, as well as in earlier protests and revolutions in Egyptian history. Colla writes of a feeling that will be familiar to anyone who’s been part of a demonstration, however small or inconsequential [...]

The rewards of the poetic life

Poetry’s rewards may not come in this life . . .



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  • Pete: If nothing else, that headline would have totally pissed off Huey Lewis.
  • Levi Stahl: In a large sense, it’s not a patch on his major work, but good god, I love Javier Marias’s...
  • KAO: Good to have you back, sir.
  • Soo Jin Oh: Hi, Jeff, I am loving the dispatches from the Winter Institute as it was one event I always wished I...
  • Jeff Waxman: That cover for CONTEMPTIBLE is phenomenal! Thanks, gents!
  • Diane: This only confirms what I have known intuitively for several years now in relation to my own store in the...
  • Jeff Waxman: Not in my family, it won’t.
  • M: The former. The latter: http://bit.ly/12alRq
  • Levi Stahl: Ouch. That sounds easily bad enough to take the prize. E-mail me with your address and I’ll put the...
  • DebraG: Thanks, Levi, for your post. By linking Jonathan Ames and “Dance” you’ve prompted me to...