How to Start Writing (and When to Stop): Advice for Authors by Wisława Szymborska | BOMB Magazine

The literary world brims with glib advice for aspiring writers. Look on Instagram or Twitter and you’ll find oodles of reassuring, platitudinous phrases about not giving up, trusting your instincts, or writing what you know. Visit a bookstore and open up, at random, one of a plethora of volumes promising to assist novice scribblers in their clumsy geneses. While most of it is well intentioned, you rarely come across anything of real value. Continue reading…

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What’s in a Name?: A Review of Carrie Bennett’s Lost Letters and Other Animals, Nicholas Wong’s Besiege Me, and Mark Leidner’s Returning the Sword to the Stone | Salamander #53

You can tell a lot about a poet by how they use nouns. An abundance of common nouns or abstract nouns usually means the poetry aims at loftier, grander themes. There is an ethereal quality to words whose referents are generalized—like some Platonic ideal of “bird” or “love” or “fingers.” One gets a sense of being high above the subject, gazing down at a panorama so vast as to preclude the use of specific, proper nouns. Continue reading…

Older, Grayer, Sober: Aging Alongside the Jackass Dudes | Literary Hub

When I was 26, I took part in a weekend-long skate contest with a team of about ten other skaters. The contest was a New England version of Thrasher Magazine’s iconic “King of the Road,” in which groups of skaters are sent around the country with a list of tricks and tasks to accomplish scavenger-hunt-style while they travel around. The one I participated in was called “Search and Destroy” (a nod to Thrasher’s slogan “Skate and Destroy”), and it was the wildest weekend of my life.

To begin with, we drank while we drove. Not drinking and then getting in a car, but getting in a car and then opening a beer. The skateboard brand Anti-Hero used to sell these covers that wrap around beer cans to make them look like Cokes or Mountain Dews. We brought 11 cases of Budweiser, a couple handles of Jim Beam, some champagne, and so much weed that our trip technically constituted trafficking. There’s a photo of me in one of the vans (our crew was big enough to require two vehicles) taken from the other van. I’ve got a big shit-eating grin on my face (I was probably tipsy), and I’m holding the sliding door open, while we were driving on the highway. You can see our Budweiser-can-shaped cooler and my friend Mike holding a beer with one of the Anti-Hero covers on it. Continue reading…