The New Yorker has a review of Frederick Seidel’s new book of “suave and vengeful” poems: “If the id had an id, and it wrote poetry, the results might sound like Widening Income Inequality (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Frederick Seidel’s sixteenth collection. . . . American poets like to think of their art as open, democratic, all-embracing; few aside from Seidel have imagined the lyric poem to be an exclusive haunt of self-flattering, hedonistic élites. Seidel is securely on the winner’s side of the widening wealth gap; the implication, if we’re reading him, is that so are we.”
Tobi Haslett has published an intriguing conversation with Margo Jefferson in Bomb, about Negroland and much besides: “Sometimes I look at myself on tape,” she says, “and I think, ‘Ugh, God, that perfect diction.’ It’s natural to me—but oh it’s just so pristine. You know? It’s strange to keep confronting, in these stylistic ways, how you were constructed. What you were constructed to be in the world.”
And, as he publishes his second novel, The Queen of the Night, fifteen years after his first, Alexander Chee tells The Millions exactly what his writing life is like.
Meanwhile, Sarah Manguso’s exploration of writerly envy is a welcome tonic.