Books

Poe's 200th: A Re:Print Celebration

Oh, it's going to be a wonderful week. This 19 January marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most influential figures in modern fiction. Here at Re:Print, we will be marking the occasion with a full week of Poe-related goodness. Today, we will run through a few of the biggest and best Poe events around the place. Tomorrow and throughout the rest of the week, we'll be scouring the Internet for the best Poe celebrations, and bringing you some exclusive interviews with some major Poe fans in the literary world including Laura Lippman, Charles Todd, and Hallie Ephron. We will also present a short guide to building your contemporary Poe library -- not a difficult task as, it would appear, Poe's hold over readers and writers has yet to wane. Featured throughout our tribute, will be original photography by Stacy Lenore Reed, a photographer, writer, and Poe fan in Richmond, Virginia.

Poe Museum, by Stacy Lenore Reed

The best place to go for news and information about Poe celebrations for the entire year is the phenomenal A Year of Events in Poe's Virginia. The site offers both a blog and a calendar keeping visitors well up to date with news of key going on in and around the Richmond area, where Poe spent a significant amount of creative time. Happening in Richmond just this week are candlelight walks, a 24-hour Poe brithday bash, a portrait exhibit, and a musical tribute. And as the year goes on, you can visit Poe-realted symposiums, talks, lectures, more exhibits, and even a cemetery tour. Clearly, for the Poe fan, Richmond is the place to be this bicentennial year.

Baltimore has its own Poe party going on tonight with screening at the Westminster Hall of the 1961 film, The Pit and the Pendulum and a performance of "The Black Cat". The free event starts at 7pm.

Read all about Poe influence on some top writers and entertainers at the Edgar Allan Poe 200 Project. Michael Connelly is among the interviewees, as is Alan Parsons and movie producr Gale Anne Hurd. Upcoming interviews are scheduled with actress Evangeline Lilly and others.

Baltimore's Westminster Hall will play host, too, to a Poe tribute by John Astin of The Addams Family, who will spend a dark hour reading from Poe's most recognized works, as well as discussing the writer's life and times. That's going to be huge. It takes place 31 January.

"Poe in his Times" with scholar David Reynolds at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia.

If you go here, you can listen to a podcast of "The Great Poe Debate", featuring Philadelphia's Poe scholar Ed Pettit, Jeff Jerome, curator of Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, and Paul Lewis, Professor at Boston College, who seek to once and for all end the argument of which state can lay claim to Poe and his genius. The fascinating discussion was recorded on 13 January.

And the celebrations don't end there. Right up until the end of the year, you'll find something Poe-related to do up and down the East Coast of America. In between, check back here tomorrow for our exclusive interview with Hallie Ephron about just how Poe has influenced her best-selling works.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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