Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some happy developments

Hello, dear neglected readers. It's been too long and I will post something soon; the world is still full of good books. But, in the meantime, several pieces of my writing have appeared around the Web.

First, Paul Kingsnorth, whose collection of poetry I reviewed a few months ago, discovered this blog and generously invited me to be part of the Dark Mountain project. They are re-publishing some of my old reviews -- starting with this one -- and then I'll be writing new essays for them as well.

Also, a surprise: Energy Bulletin reposted that article. I wasn't a regular reader of this website, but there's very often interesting things there, and I recommend the site to anyone who doesn't find my recent gloomy preoccupations entirely baffling.

Next, a friend at htmlgiant asked me to write a review for them. I saw Stanislaw Lem on the list, a writer I loved in college, and requested The Cyberiad. It was just as enjoyable as the other books of his I've read, and unlike many other science fiction writers, contained little outdated techno-messianism, just a deep feeling for the limits of human understanding as well as a rollicking sense of humor. Here is the review. Htmlgiant publishes its reviews anonymously, to facilitate honesty/nastiness, but I am quite happy to identify it as my own work.

Finally, I secure my livelihood partly through the generosity of the literary magazine Ploughshares, where I work to put together the issues and often write for the blog. So far, I've reviewed a recent Tolstoy biography, the poetry of A. S. J. Tessimond (who I discovered through the wonderful blog First Known When Lost), and the Japanese writer Kanoko Okamoto. I also contributed to or assembled our lists on books for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Winter.

That's all for now. Some good books that I've read recently, but probably won't write about, include Joe Bageant's two books, In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard, and the Blackmores' excellent translations of Victor Hugo's poetry.

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