Friday News: RIP Miranda Neville and some less important stuff
Miranda Neville has passed away – If you are on Twitter, you have probably seen that the wonderful and talented Miranda Neville passed away peacefully yesterday morning. She had been struggling with cancer, and her last general tweet, on September 30th, was one announcing an “unexpected surgery.” An extremely talented author of historical Romance, Miranda (aka Frances) was also just a lovely person – quick-witted, so bright, thoughtful, insightful, and fun-loving. A sad, sad loss, and I see that the book scheduled for a May release is no longer for pre-sale on Amazon. #FuckCancer
Kirkus Reviews and the Plight of the “Problematic” Book Review – Nathan Heller’s take on the controversial move by Kirkus Reviews to do a re-take review on Laura Moriarty’s American Heart. The situation in this case was interesting, because the reviewer is Muslim, simultaneously bringing into focus and confounding the complexities of cultural critique within a reviewing context. Whether or not you agree with Heller, he highlights the role of reviewing as distinct, perhaps, from the role of cultural critic, and that is a discussion worth having, as well.
. . . Kirkus, one of the country’s most prolific book reviews, has somehow managed to misapprehend both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books. As I’ve written in this magazine, criticism exists in different flavors, but its defining feature is an individualism of response. That response can be wise or unwise, popular or unpopular. A reviewer can squander authority by seeming too often at odds with good judgment. But, without critical autonomy, the enterprise falls apart. The only reason to hire a critic, instead of giving a megaphone to the crowd, is that creative work—books most of all—isn’t processed as a collective. People make sense of art as individuals, and their experiences of the work differ individually, too. A reviewer speaks for somebody, even if he or she doesn’t speak for you. – The New Yorker
Behind Bars: 61 Poets Who Went To Jail – This is actually a pretty interesting list, and it highlights the history of imprisonment as a tool of political power. Writers have been in prison for everything from debt (Aphra Behn) to “undesirable activities” (e.e. cummings) to Sir Walter Raleigh (unauthorized marriage).
While freedom of speech is generally promoted today, this wasn’t always the case, and a lot of poets have caused a stir with their unfiltered approach. Controversial topics and unfavourable connections have landed many poets in hot water, so much so that a few of them have ended up behind bars because of it. Of course, there are a number of poets that have gone to jail for reasons that aren’t so closely related to their craft, such as throwing a brick through a police station window! [Richard Brautigan] – My Poetic Side
What Would the Disney Princesses Be For Halloween? This Artist Puts Them in Costumes – Isaiah K. Stephens has imagined Disney characters in some inspired Halloween costumes. Quasimodo as Austin Powers may be my favorite, only because it so cannily captures the pop culture meta-ness of the entire exercise.