...and here's the short list of what's been tickling my literary fancy the past few weeks:
Zbigniew Herbert, "The Fable About a Nail": A great piece of writing is relevant no matter when or where it was written or it is read. This poem could describe any number of kingdoms, fictional or real, and yet....
Tom Disch, "Abecedary": Did you know that the writer behind The Brave Little Toaster also wrote opera librettos, science fiction classics, and incredible poems like this one? I didn't know until this week! This piece is for the part of your adult brain that thinks fondly of Dr. Seuss's work and has been dying for another writer to take it out to the playground. (If that link doesn't work, you might be able to look up "Abecedary" by clicking on the Poetry Foundation's bio for Tom Disch here and then clicking on the "Poems, Articles, & More" tab.)
Steven Millhauser: The writing world at large has known about him for a while (he's got a Pulitzer). I found out about him the same way I found out about Philip Levine -- his latest book was on the "New Releases" shelf at the library. In this case, it was Millhauser's short story collection We Others that caught my eye. Magical realism that's ultimately very honest and human, as the best of it usually is. His style is gentle, and many of the stories I've read so far don't use dialogue, at least not in the conventional paragraphs-and-quotation-marks way. I've also checked out his novella Enchanted Night but have refused to let myself finish it.
Since we've brought up Philip Levine, I'll mention a fact about him that has made me happy: He and the British Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, are coming to Chicago to read! I doubt I'll be able to get in (first come, first serve basis, yikes), but it's worth a shot. And I can mention it here; there's only about ten of you at most reading this, so I'm not creating a lot of competition for a seat, and even if I were, hell, I'd be thrilled to see any of you there.
Also coming to read, in April, is Etgar Keret. I haven't gotten my hands on his stuff yet (play laugh track here), but the divine Miss M. recommended his stories to me, and that's enough to get my curiosity going.
And that's my list of literary stuff. I hope you have your own lists full of things you've been enjoying. All ten of you. :)