Welcome to Grove at Home!
Every weekday, from now until we’re all out of the house again, we’ll be sharing a couple of links — some fresh, some from the vault — to say hi, remind you to keep reading, and let you know what’s on our minds.
Friday, May 28
Caleb Azumah Nelson talks to the goop Book Club!
As we were delighted to announce back at the beginning of the month, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water has been the goop Book Club’s May pick! This week, Caleb spoke remotely with goop wellness director Kiki Koroshetz for a live audience of exhilarated readers. After sharing an excerpt from the book, he discussed the influence of photography on his writing, the subtle power of being seen, the challenges of writing in the second person, and much more. If you missed the live event, catch up right here.
Apply for our fellowship!
By now, you’ve probably heard the news: Roxane Gay is starting a new imprint at Grove Atlantic! If you read the full story, you also know that we’ve announced a Publishing Fellowship, intended for those who may not have access to the publishing industry through more traditional avenues. The fellow will receive a “crash course” in publishing, working in several departments at Grove Atlantic, as well as directly supporting Roxane Gay Books, and will receive a $25,000 stipend. We begin accepting applications this Tuesday! Check out the posting on our site for full information on the fellowship and information on how to apply for it!
Jimmy Santiago Baca: “a sliver of rock sank into my heart”
Finally, we’re delighted to share this video of American Book Award-winning poet Jimmy Santiago Baca reading his poem “A Desire,” included in his book Singing at the Gates, against a stunning natural landscape. What better way to end the week?
Thursday, May 27
Today marks the 127th birthday of Dashiell Hammett, the author of hard-boiled detective fiction starring enduring characters like Sam Spade and Nick and Norah Charles. To celebrate, here’s the sublime trio of Myrna Loy, William Powell, and the fox terrier Asta in W.S. Van Dyke’s pre-Code film adaptation of Hammett’s The Thin Man.
Charles Kaiser on Bob Dylan as queer icon
On Monday, we had a very excellent time celebrating the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan. Today, we celebrate again, this time with a powerful article by our own Charles Kaiser, author of The Gay Metropolis and 1968 in America, in Slate. Considering Bob Dylan’s relationships with queer friends and communities dating back to the early sixties, and including some discussion of his friendship with Allen Ginsberg, it’s crucial piece of history, and a story worth reading at once.
“To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Dylan is gay. In his autobiography he celebrated his devotion to the ‘eclectic girls… non-homemaker types’ whom he met when he first arrived in Greenwich Village, and that passion has never wavered. But there’s something else about Dylan that hasn’t wavered either, something that I sensed when he first strode out onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in 1965 and have followed as he went electric the following year, as we spoke for my first book on 1968, as I imbibed all of his words and music ever since. What made Dylan special, made him a queer icon and ally, throughout all that time is this: Comfort with queerness doesn’t require a particular sexual orientation. It’s a political stance, a clarifying lens, a challenge to orthodoxy, a celebration of difference.” Continue reading…
Today also marks the 51st birthday of actor Joseph Fiennes, who starred alongside Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, and others in John Madden’s 1998 Shakespeare in Love, written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman. It went on to win Best Picture at that year’s Oscars, and remains a beloved classic today. Here’s a scene:
Wednesday, May 26
Publishing reporter Elizabeth A. Harris broke some big, excellent news in the New York Times this morning! It concerns the one and only Roxane Gay, as well as a certain hard-working indie publishing house (👋). Let’s get right to it:
“Roxane Gay wears many hats — professor, editor, social commentator, advice columnist — but she is perhaps most widely known as a best-selling writer, whose books include the essay collection ‘Bad Feminist’ and a memoir, ‘Hunger.’
“Now she is starting a book imprint. Roxane Gay Books will be part of Grove Atlantic, the publishing house announced Wednesday, with plans to release three titles a year, a mix of fiction, nonfiction and memoir, and a focus on underrepresented voices.” Continue reading…
Roxane Gay on pay disparities in publishing
Gay has for years been a fierce critic of pay disparities in publishing. In this characteristically trenchant clip recorded during her conversation with Saeed Jones at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y in 2017, she shares some of her thoughts.
Roxane Gay talks Difficult Women at the Toronto Public Library
To put a little more Roxane in your morning, we recommend this excellent clip of her in conversation with Garvia Bailey in 2017, shortly after the release of Difficult Women. The capacity crowd had set a record by selling out the entire auditorium in 88 seconds, and the conversation is riveting — by turns hilarious, provocative, and deeply moving.
Tuesday, May 25
Today would be the 83rd birthday of Raymond Carver, the short story writer and poet who, by the time of his death at the age of 50 in 1988, had forever changed the American writing scene. We’re proud to publish A New Path to the Waterfall, the powerful poetry collection that formed the capstone to Carver’s too-short, richly productive career. Here, as we celebrate that career and the man behind it, is a recording of Carver reading perhaps his most famous composition, the short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
“What are brows anyway, after 14 months of pandemic?”: LitHub has your summer reads
The long, hot days of summer are just around the corner, and your friends at Literary Hub know just what that means: books! It may be hard to define just exactly what constitutes a “summer read,” but LH’s brilliant staffers have some choice recommendations — including Yan Lianke’s Hard Like Water, forthcoming in Carlos Rojas’s translation June 15th (thanks, Dan Sheehan!); Chris Offutt’s The Killing Hills, forthcoming June 15th (thanks, Jonny Diamond!); and Thora Hjorleifsdottir’s Magma, forthcoming in Meg Matich’s translation July 13th (thanks, Katie Yee!). The whole thing eminently worth a read.
“Ah, summer reading—the most fraught seasonal category in literature. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it new? Is it old? Is it lowbrow? Is it highbrow? What are brows anyway, after 14 months of pandemic? The word ‘unruly’ comes to mind. So here’s a slightly unruly list for you: 38 novels that will be hitting the bookshelves in these United States between June and August. These are the new books that the Literary Hub staff has read and loved, and thinks you should probably read and love too. What else should summer reading be?” Continue reading…
Will Ferrell gets a nasty surprise
To round out your Tuesday morning, here’s a memorable scene from Everything Must Go, Dan Rush’s 2010 film adaptation of Raymond Carver’s story “Why Don’t You Dance.” It may not quite have the intoxicating potency of Carver’s writing, but it’s a powerful scene, anchored by a terrific performance from Will Ferrell, and an enjoyable inducement to meditate on Carver’s singular literary achievements.
Monday, May 24
We’ve been waiting, and the big day is finally here: it’s Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday! We’re wishing one of our favorite poets, Nobel laureates, and song-and-dance men a very happy day, and celebrating by reading the new, updated edition of Howard Sounes’s definitive biography, Down the Highway, as well as catching up with some favorite Dylan interviews and performances.
Howard Sounes on Bob Dylan’s recent years
To start off with, here, live today at Literary Hub, is an excerpt from the book, in which Sounes writes of Dylan’s more recent years, as he has continued to produce world-shaking songs and received some of his greatest honors yet, while a number of friends, collaborators, and fellow travelers — Tom Petty, Rubin Carter, Sam Shepard, many others — have passed away.
“Dylan had already received many of the world’s highest awards, including France’s Legion of Honour, Sweden’s Polar Music Prize, a Pulitzer, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, from Hollywood, ten Grammys and an Oscar. Those who believed that Dylan was a great writer had long argued that he might be a worthy recipient of the world’s most prestigious literary prize as well, and he had received a Nobel nomination back in 1996. Since it was first awarded, in 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature had been given to writers of poetry, short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, historical and philosophical works, but never to a songwriter.” Continue reading…
Bob Dylan sings “Isis” in 1976
Bob Dylan’s iconic 1965 press conference in San Francisco
Bob Dylan sings “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”
Bob Dylan sings “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”
Bob Dylan sings “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” in 1971
Dylan sings “Like a Rolling Stone” at Newport in 1965
“Johnny’s in the basement mixin’ up the medicine”
Finally, here’s D.A. Pennebaker’s iconic promotional video for Dylan’s 1964 song, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” featuring his close friend Allen Ginsberg in the background. Oh yes. Accept no imitations.