1. Here’s a newly-found old video of Beat Generation/Summer of Love poet Michael McClure reading poetry to caged lions. The last section of the poem consists of McClure yelling “roar” repeatedly. The video might strike some as precious — Steve Silberman called it “beat kitsch” in a recent tweet — but it gets cool around the time the lions start roaring back in harmony with McClure. If you can get a bunch of lions to respond to your poetry, you must be doing something right.
2. Suzuki Beane! I heard long ago that YA-novelist Louise Fitzhugh (Harriet the Spy is her most famous book, though I liked The Long Secret even better) began her writing career with an illustrated book, Suzuki Beane, a parody of Hilary Knight’s Eloise starring a punky kid with beatnik parents. But I’d never been able to find a copy of the book until I saw a link to this digital version in a Boing-Boing article that also links to a surprising TV show pilot version of the book (the show never got made, which is too bad, because it looks pretty cute). Serious fans of Harriet M. Welsch, Sport and Beth-Ellen will find many echoes of their favorite Fitzhugh books in Suzuki Beane, particularly in the affectionate depictions of the tortuous relationships that sometimes exist between eccentric, artistic parents and their stubborn kids.
3 . Leo Tolstoy’s classic How Much Land Does a Man Need? has been republished.
4. Rodger Kamenetz channels Rabbi Nachman with a protest letter after his new literary study Burnt Books gets panned.
5. Phatitude’s African-American Literary Festival at the Langston Hughes Library in Queens, New York will feature Amiri Baraka, Quincy Troupe, Ishmael Reed, Shonda Buchanan, devorah major, Yusef Komunyakaa, Stephani Maari Booker, Tony Medina, Askia Toure, Haki Madhubiti, Danny Simmons.
6. Lisa Catherine Harper on reading poems about yourself by your ex.
7. Book recommendations by the eclectic Yoko Ono.
8. A dry encounter in Jaipur with J. M. Coetzee.
10. Larry McMurtry, meanwhile, is judging a short story contest for the Texas Observer.
11. Vaclav Havel is still roaring.
12. Tom Jacobs on psychological insights in Victorian novels.
13. Paul Krassner is also still roaring. The former editor of The Realist has been very talkative on Facebook, where he just posted “I had no friends in high school and college, and now I have 5000+ Facebook friends” …
14. Jewcy selects The 50 Most Essential Works of Jewish Fiction of the Last 100 Years. Michael Orthofer is not convinced. I’d toss some Chaim Potok in there, but it’s not too far off.
15. Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth.
16. Eric “Very Hungry” Carle is moving beyond caterpillars — his new book is inspired by Expressionist painter Franz Marc.
17. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd sings a Shakespeare sonnet. I don’t know why either, but he does a very nice job.
18. Words Without Borders features graphic novels from around the world.
19. Happy Birthday this Sunday (2.13.11) to Henry Rollins!