A few items worth reading this week:
War and Baked Beans by Robert Olmstead:
Robert Olmstead, who has distinguished himself as an accomplished novelist, takes our breath away with this moving column about our sad and scary state of affairs:
These days I feel my edges falling away. I am sure this is weakness. What else could it be in this armed and dangerous land of ours? When people learn that I teach they sometimes launch into lengthy condemnations of young people: their music, their laziness, their callowness. This makes my blood boil. Young people do not make war. Young people do not decide to send off the drones. But young people will be there to do the dirty work when the old people tell them to. Young people will be there to shovel the manure.
Read his entire essay War and Baked Beans in the New York Times here.
Lera Auerback and Laurie Anderson:
Shortly after the debut of her groundbreaking opera The Blind, Lera Auerback sits down with Laurie Anderson for Harper's Bazar.
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced on Thursday, October 10. Here's what one reliable news source has to say about John Ashbery's chances of winning.
"Everywhere I go, I visit cemeteries or abandoned ruins—including one in a very small village in Brazil that you can only reach by boat. You walk in and there's this incredible cemetery, with all sorts of flowering trees and completely disintegrating graves," she says, gesturing like an orchestra conductor, dark curly hair flowing around her face, her eyes gleaming. "And there's a sign at the entrance: PLEASE DO NOT DUMP BODIES UNATTENDED. It was exceptionally beautiful, in a gruesome way."
Much about Auerbach's career, including The Blind, is just that: beautiful, gruesome, devastating, and daring. Now 39, Auerbach, born on the border of Siberia, composed her first opera at age 12, and defected from the Soviet Union in 1991, when she was 17, to study at Juilliard.
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