The Wind-Up

It’s getting to be around that time in December when I put up a wrap-up post and disappear for a week or two.

I stopped by the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City recently, and was once again energized (a visit always helps) by the spirit in that eclectic room. You know, some people have asked why I claim to be interested in poetry when I don’t follow the lit journal/academic/prize scene at all. Well, the spoken word scene is quiet but very much alive. The poems are still good, the talent keeps renewing itself, and the format still works. I guess the reason I keep this Action Poetry thing still rolling on this site (it’s been around since early 2001) is to try to capture some of that spoken word spirit here on this blog. Which is why I’m happy to announce the launch, on Thursday morning, of this year’s Action Poetry Randomized Wrap-up. One poem per click, all the poems you can want (from the best ones posted this year), just like we always do at this time.

I reach the closing days of 2010 in a reflective mood; not exactly satisfied, not suffering either. Let’s just say I feel optimistic about the year ahead. Here on Litkicks, I’m looking forward to continuing my weekend excursions into philosophy (and politics, psychology, sociology, religion, ethics and history). I’m also looking forward to continuing to work with the excellent gang of Litkicks contributors (you can see 8 of our best names in the “By Author” panel in the right sidebar, in case you haven’t noticed) who will certainly help me stay on top of the literary news of the day in 2011. I’m always looking for new contributors, too, so get in touch if you’d like to be a part of Litkicks 2011.

I’m in a rush and don’t have time to stir up my usual bucket of snarky literary muck today, but here are a few real quick links before I blow this popsicle stand and catch you in the new year.

1. My oldest daughter showed me this New York Times Book Review feature about what people read on the subway and said “don’t you think it’s cute?”. Yeah, I said, and it was also cute two years ago when I thought of it first.

2. The legendary and popular swinging-80s-era Limelight nightclub in New York City (think Jay McInerney and Rielle Hunter on an off night — hey, they let me in, so how cool could it have been?) is now a pathetic shopping mall. Limelight was famous for being the only New York City nightclub in an actual church. The disco-ball-strewn cathedral is now an unholy church of Christmas-spirit commerce, with an Au Bon Pain and massage chairs. Ahh, Jay McInerney is probably an investor.

3. Here’s an excellent list of literary films, one per year since 1982, by Carolyn Kellogg of Los Angeles Times. My favorite of the bunch? Either A Room With A View or Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle or Trainspotting. My un-favorite of the bunch? I thought The Outsiders was much worse than the book, and I didn’t get what Robert Altman was doing to Raymond Carver in Short Cuts at all. And I’d like to add Tom and Viv for 1994.

4. “BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS?” This hilarious kid doesn’t like it. Well, for the record, I was always very happy to get books for Hanukkah.

5. Jeff Price at Electric Literature ponders Samuel Beckett and Joshua Ferris.

6. Steve Donoghue at Open Letters Monthly rants about the year’s ten worst books. You know I loved Freedom, but I still like this insult:

The cynicism of our Worst Novel of 2010 is the God the Father of such evil, The Great Author. Franzen’s oily, unsmiling acceptance of this horrific honorific is not the least of his many sins, and his arrogance is by far the worst part of Freedom, a big fat speeding ticket of a novel that’s as long as it is bland, as strident as it is dull, and as stilted as it is silly.

7. A promising film experiment: Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio in a modern-day setting in Chicago. I’d like to see it.

8. Here’s the latest Quarterly Conversation if you’re looking for something else to read …

… and with that, I’m out. Don’t forget to come back Thursday to read some poems!

9 Responses

  1. I thought of variable-speed,
    I thought of variable-speed, intermittent windshield wipers before any came out. But there was no Review article on this. Happy holidays to all!

  2. Levi, thanks for sharing, via
    Levi, thanks for sharing, via your daughter, the cute NY Times Book Review feature. You thought of many things first, including the whole literary/artistic/cultural blog idea, since you were one of its pioneers. I’d like to wish you and the entire Litkicks community, which I got to know this year, a wonderful and prosperous new year! La Multi Ani (Happy New Year) 2011!

  3. Levi, Belatedly, Happy
    Levi, Belatedly, Happy Hanukkah, & Seasons Greetings!

    I liked to get books for the holidays, too…One of my favorites, besides the COLUMBIA ENCYCLOPEDIA was THE EARTH FOR SAM–a book about paleontology. I’ve read avidly since the age of nine or ten.
    Another book I liked was ISLANDIA, by Austin Tappan Wright; & moreover, the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis. Many more books were checked out of the library. The library, along with newsreels on movies & TV opened up the world for me. I
    also listened to late night FM radio at an early age… My cousin, once removed, had a shortwave ham radio set.

  4. my sincere thanks and many
    my sincere thanks and many wishes for the days ahead.

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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!