Thursday News: War poets, dark side of tech, 2016 Goldsmiths Prize, and all about vowels
Spotlight on War Poets – The U.S. will recognize Veterans Day on Friday November 11th, and in anticipation, My Poetic Side has a post on some noteworthy wartime poets, from Walt Whitman to Brian Turner:
American poet Rolando Hinojosa’s service in the Korean War provided inspiration for Korean Love Songs. This 1978 corrido is narrated by an orphaned and somewhat eccentric soldier named Rafa Buenrostro, the reader’s guide through Japan and Korea. As a Mexican American poet and soldier, Hinojosa plays with the identities of the Chicano soldiers serving alongside his fictional Buenrostro. The soldiers are individualized to start, but as the corrido progresses, the reader is presented with seemingly more urgent identities for these soldiers to carry. Their place in the 219th Field Artillery Battalion, for instance. Or the institutional nature of the United States Army. Hinojosa has dedicated the majority of his career to his Klail City Death Trip series, a project that consists of fifteen volumes to date, including Korean Love Songs. In 2013, Hinojosa was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle. – My Poetic Side
The 2016 Election Exposes the Very, Very Dark Side of Tech – Issie Lapowski writes about the intersection of technology and politics, and the extent to which their relationship enables the best and the worst human behavior.
This election cycle has revealed the deep, dark underbelly of all that technological progress. It’s shown us—and not for the first time—how the same communication tools that can connect strangers in far-flung parts of the world can also be used to disseminate gas chamber memes and death threats. It’s shown us how the same platforms that put a world of facts and information at our fingertips can just as easily be used to undermine basic truths. It’s shown us that our most personal communications—so many of them digital—are exceptionally vulnerable to anyone with a vendetta and that the online masses, typically so precious about their own privacy, would be all too eager to see what we’ve got to hide. And we all have something to hide.
This election, we’ve seen so many unintended consequences of what can happen when we rely on this innovation. Since I started covering politics for WIRED, people have often asked me why a tech publication is writing about politics. It’s a fair question. But considering that email servers, Russian hackers, Twitter trolls, and WikiLeaks now have a prominent role in our electoral system, the more pertinent question seems to me: How could we not? – WIRED
Mike McCormack wins the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize for his novel Solar Bones – Written as a single sentence (echoes of James Joyce?), Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones has won the 4th annual Goldsmiths Prize, a £10,000 award that focuses on innovation (the “novel” in a novel). Interestingly, three out of the four winners have been Irish, something McCormack comments on below:
The Goldsmiths Prize was launched in 2013, in association with the New Statesman, “to reward fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form”. . . .
Remarkably, McCormack is, after Eimear McBride and Kevin Barry, the third Irish novelist to win the Goldsmiths Prize: in the four years it has been running, the prize has not yet been won by an English writer (in 2014 it was awarded to the Scottish author Ali Smith). In an interview with the New Statesman McCormack described British fiction as “dominated by an intellectual conservatism”, suggesting that there has been a “rejuvenation of the experimental pulse in Irish fiction”, partly because writers were at last able to “digest the legacy” of their literary “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”: James Joyce, Flann O’Brien and Samuel Beckett. – New Statesman
8 Things You Might Not Know About Vowels – From the most common vowel (schwa) to an explanation of “The Great Vowel Shift,” this is a great little primer.
8. YOU DON’T NEED ALL THE VOWELS TO WRITE A NOVEL.
In 1969, George Perec, a member of the French experimental literature group known as Oulipo published La Disparition, a 300-page novel written only with words that did not contain the letter e. It was published in English as A Void, also without using the letter e. The Spanish translation, El Secuestro, used no a. Works created with this kind of restriction are called lipograms, explained here in an e-less lipogram. – Mental Floss