Table-talk for April 18, 2008
Good morning! It is April 18, 2008! We are in New York City!
Oh I'm sorry—I thought I was talking to Duncan!
I. At the L.A. Times, Scott Timberg talks to me and two other editor-novelists...
NEW YORK—Is it possible to lead a dedicated literary life in the billionaire-filled, media-crazed New York of today? To be heedless of the material world as you burrow into novels and ideas the way the old Partisan Review gang did in the '40s and '50s, to come up with notions that rock the intellectual landscape? And if so, who exactly is still paying attention?
Those are questions three reasonably young men are asking now in much-awaited first novels that emerge over the next few weeks.
As a friend suggested, maybe a fact-checker made him slip "reasonably" in there....
II. Free Godzilla at the Guardian! (Via Dzyd Sam.)
III. Team Dizzies Member Izzy has a diverting piece on the longest poem in the world (or is it?), over at poetryfoundation.org. (Check out the cool illo as well.)
They came up with the idea in their 2003 self-help parody, This Book Will Change Your Life, which offers a self-improvement exercise for every day of the year. As Carey explained, "Helping to write the longest poem in the world was one of the tasks. It naturally seemed best suited to the web." They put the poem on their site in 2003, instructing their webmaster to use the line "Mercy, cried the popinjay to the Pope"—picked specifically because it was hard to follow.
[...]I think it's far to say that I've read more of "The World's Longest Poem" than anyone. In the interest of research, I scrolled through 500 pages on my Internet browser. I could fit 19 lines on a page, so I moved in units of nineteen, noting the last line on every page. When I gave up several hours later, I'd gotten about halfway through and counted 9,500 lines. I'd seen several themes develop: The antagonistic relationship between the popinjay and the Pope, recurring bits about badgers and penguins, various teenagers declaring their love, various teenagers abusing their classmates, a lot about soap (especially on a rope), and a running gag of declaring the poem over. I'd identified lyrics from R.E.M., the Pogues, George Michael, Public Enemy, Belle and Sebastian, and the entire Monty Python song "Every Sperm is Sacred." And I'd discovered that, like all open Internet forums, the content eventually turned dark, freakish, and threatening. I went to bed shortly after reading line 9,500 and had disturbing popinjay dreams.
IV. Levi's been blogging from London....Douglas is nominated for an Eisner for Reading Comics....and after protracted negotiations with ed-park.com, Personal Days got its own Facebook page!