The Week in Review

It’s been a busy week in Literary Ashland. First off, congratulations to Ashland’s Jennifer Margulis, who’s been awarded a prestigious Senior Fellowship at Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

This week featured an SOU Emergent Forms reading by poet Nick Demske, which I sadly missed, and a Chautauqua Poets & Writers visit by poet Eavan Boland, who I didn’t miss. Boland gave a fine reading and two workshops, one for teachers and one for students. According to my napkined notes from the teachers’ workshop, she cautioned teachers to help students find their inner critics as writers but not to make them too superstitious of perfectionistic about writing. And she reminded us that teaching is one of the lucky jobs where you learn something every time you go to work.

And there was a provocative Friday Science seminar on art and science—Alissa Arp took us from C. P. Snow to E. O. Wilson. The discussion afterwards raised the idea (via Kasey Mohammad, but my paraphrase) that scientific revolutions overturn while artistic revolutions add on. I need to think about that some more. And an exchange between Bill Gholson and Peter Wu also got me to thinking of another dichotomy—that science seeks to understand what is out there while the arts seek to understand what is in here (so the Hubble telescope versus Tehching Hsieh, the performance artist who lived in solitary confinement for a year). The dichotomy I was thinking of seems overly simple, since cognitive science, for example, seems to try to do both, but this too needs more puzzling.

And tomorrow’s New York Times magazine features Sam Anderson’s article on Haruki Murakami. Don’t miss it.

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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