Seen and Heard

Let’s face it, the usual lists of best-sellers and book reviews don’t offer much excitement. But there’s always a lot happening in the wild and wacky world of literature — if you know where to look.

— Yesterday the shortlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was announced. Finalists include The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard and The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. The IMPAC award is the literary world’s most international of awards and carries one of the largest cash prizes (100,000 Euros). The finalists for the upcoming Man Booker and Orange Prizes are yet to be announced. The question is, does anyone really pay attention to these awards and what do they mean to the average reader?

— Those not up for a literary award just yet: rap sensation Nas, baseball star Jose Canseco, tabloid smarm-king Joey Buttafuoco. What do these three have in common? Why, they all aspire to be best-selling authors, of course. Canseco recently made the rounds promoting his new book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big. Nas has indicated his desire to become a novelist. And Buttafuoco? Well, everyone’s got a story to tell and apparently his fifteen minutes of fame will not die.

— Could you use that in a poem? In a push to rekindle interest in poetry, The Chicago-based Poetry Foundation, acting in tandem with The National Endowment for the Arts, is looking to the National Spelling Bee as a model for a possible national poetry recitation tournament. In contrast to the numerous poetry slams that seem to be popping up everywhere, students would be required to memorize and recite classic works from published poets, instead of performing their own works. Pilot programs are currently being organized in Chicago and Washington, DC with competitions set to begin next month.

— Hear no evil, smell no evil? Many of us dread being shushed by the ever-vigilant librarian, however we might also want to start checking our deodorant before hitting the stacks. We’ve all read some books that really stink, but smelly library patrons in San Luis Obispo, CA may be booted in accordance with a new county ordinance approved last month. In addition to bad b.o., library and bookmobile visitors may also be asked to leave “for fighting, eating, drinking, sleeping, playing games, and printing or viewing illegal materials on library computers.” It’s almost as if they want us to go there to read or something.

— Last Thursday the Association of American Publishers honored Lawrence Ferlinghetti with the Curtis Benjamin Award for Creative Publishing. The award is given to a “living publisher in the United States who has demonstrated exceptional creativity and innovation in publishing.” We can’t think of a more deserving recipient.

Those are just a few stories that caught my eye over the past few days. What’s the literary news in your part of the world?

5 Responses

  1. How about resources?Great
    How about resources?

    Great stuff firecracker!

    Though this is not really news, I did stumble across some great links yesterday, the AA Independant Press Guide has something for everyone I think, and it made me think that sharing resources would be a good idea, n’est-ce pas?

    It’s all about finding the right market for what you write, so if sharing resources can give someone a hand up, then I say let’s!

  2. Speaking of booksAre you guys
    Speaking of books

    Are you guys still publishing stuff? Are you guys going to have any more things like the quest and that other one you had? Because I would like to have the chance to publish with something a little more polished than the last one.

  3. WellI don’t know how recent

    I don’t know how recent this is, but you know, there was this one time that Maya Angelou tried to climb the UN. That’s pretty literary, I think.


    Otherwise, a news article that mentioned my website/blog made me an internet superstar for about a day, and now I get approached by random people who tell me that they’ve been reading my website and boy, am I funny. It’s a completely bizarre phenomenon but I’m sure that my fifteen minutes of quasi-fame will be over by the weekend. This is literary because, well, um, yeah.

  4. Excuse me but, I’ve been
    Excuse me but, I’ve been reading your website. Girl, you are funny! What’s more, I sense in your work the glimmer of an underlying profundity, a maturity beyond your years possibly bordering on genius. But, girl, you are funny!

  5. okay, bill, you made me
    okay, bill, you made me look.

    yes,i looked, jam.
    yes, i agreed
    and worse
    i even followed the adventure of your desk cleaning episode

    i might get inspired and try cleaning mine. who knows who will be hiding in the lederhosen round here.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!