Robert Cohen on co-editing a new anthology where established writers discuss their practice and vocation
The Writer's Reader: Vocation, Preparation, Creation, eds. Robert Cohen and Jay Parini (Bloomsbury, 2017).
The Writer’s Reader: Vocation, Preparation, Creation, eds. Robert Cohen and Jay Parini (Bloomsbury, 2017).

How did you come to put together The Writer’s Reader?

[Jay Parini, my co-editor, and I] both taught workshops for emerging writers — here at Middlebury, at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, at Iowa and Harvard and elsewhere — for more years than we care to think about, and all that time we’ve been Xeroxing certain essays we love, essays that seem particularly well-suited to providing consolation, instruction, and the muscle of inspiration, not just to the small-w aspect of the practice but to the larger, more long-term, capital-W sense as well. At a certain point it became almost physically painful, not having these essays between covers (especially the ones out of print), not being able to share them in an easy, accessible way. It just seemed somehow stupid and wrong that there was no way to introduce a new generation of writers to Natalia Ginzburg’s piece, say, or Tillie Olsen’s, or Ted Solotaroff’s, or Danilo Kis’ — to name just three of the wiser, more over-arching essays about the writer’s life you’re ever likely to find. (more…)

From Callie Hitchcock (3:AM Magazine):
Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin
Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin
If Baudelaire thought of love as “the traditionally artistic attempt to escape boredom,” then Anaïs Nin waged a war of attrition. Nin’s effusive narrative, Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin 1939-1947, chronicles the vast annals of love and literature in the first 8 years Nin came to the United States after fleeing Paris and the encroaching WWII. This compilation of entries has been re-printed in 2013 after Nin’s second/simultaneous husband, Rupert Pole, commissioned them the year her first husband, Hugh Guiler died in 1985. However, Nin’s diary is not just a torrid, Don Juan-esque description of her sexual exploits. She also probes deeply into concepts like love and happiness with the spasmodic élan of a woman on fire. She is a neurotic, a visionary, and a ravenous epicurean of the known world. [Read More]