:: Buzzwords Archive: September 2017. Click here for the latest posts.

The Missing Links (published 14/09/2017)

On Kate Briggs‘s This Little Art. * Emily LaBarge on Mireille Gansel’s Translation as Transhumance. * Brian Dillon on what the essay does. * Brian Dillon reviews Susan Sontag‘s Debriefing: “Proximity to the essay form turns out not to be a failing in fiction, but one of its possible, experimental, tendencies”. * Kate Briggs on translation (audio). * Lara Feigel on melancholia. * Andrew Stevens kindly interviewed me about Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night. * Joanna Walsh on the Papertrail podcast. * Modernism‘s resurgence. * Cal Revely-Calder on Dom Sylvester Houédard‘s typestracts: “Houédard wasn’t interested in giving the viewer something to decipher; instead, he and you become ‘co-creators’ of whatever response your attention turns up. At Prinknash, concentration was an end in itself”. * Claire-Louise Bennett and Joanna Walsh at the London Review Bookshop (podcast). * Joanna Walsh interviewed. * Charming interview with the brilliant Eley Williams. * On Jean-Michel Basquiat. * John Ashbery RIP. * Ben Lerner on Ashbery. * Olivia Laing on Kathy Acker. * Knausgaard as Munch’s successor. * David Mitchell on autism: “I understand that science progresses over the bodies of debunked theories, and I know that judging well-intentioned psychiatrists from the higher ground of hindsight isn’t particularly fair, but when I consider the damage they surely inflicted on children like my son, as well as on parents like me and my wife, I don’t feel like being particularly fair”. * The young John Ashbery. * Heidi Julavits on the art at the end of the world. * Will Wiles: Lovecraft and Ballard are “connected, through time and space, by that most humble of architectural events: the corner, the junction between two walls“. * The death of postmodernism? * Will social media kill the novel? * James Wood on WG Sebald the humourist: “Sebald understands that a life is an edifice, which we build partly to hide its foundations”. * On Stan Brakhage. * Maggie Nelson‘s Bluets reviewed. * Foucault investigates. * Accelerationism. * On Anne Carson‘s Float. * Geoff Dyer‘s writing day: “Sometimes I just sit for an hour, feeling time almost as a physical force. Even sitting motionless at my desk I can feel it blowing back my hair as though I’m in an open-top car, careering towards oblivion”. * Chris Kraus on Mary McCarthy. * An interview with Joanna Hogg. * Gwendoline Riley: “If future readers have any sense they’ll be reading Claire-Louise Bennett”. * Claire-Louise Bennett on the recordings of Pauline Oliveros: “This is what a conference of black holes, isotopes, fossils, ghosts and nerve endings sounds like. Listening in is to be at sound’s most distant edge; there is nothing audible beyond this point”. * “The nearest thing to the Word, the logos, the burning bush: the Bloom. * Punk before punk. * The essential mundanity of grief. * The afterlives of Roland Barthes. * Roland Barthes: “Where is nature in Man? In order to call himself Man, Man needs a language, which is culture itself”. * Lara Feigel on Giacometti: “It was the nature of plaster that a sculpture was never finished. There’s a sense with many of Giacometti’s pieces that, with just a bit more cutting away, they might disintegrate into nothing, sinking like those expansive feet into the ground“. * Outstanding review of 3:AM fiction editor Eley Williams‘s Attrib. and Other Stories. * The ever brilliant Brian Dillon on the all-too-human desire to be inhuman: “The transhumanists have simply exaggerated a venerable truth about being embodied, which is that we are never entirely ourselves in the first place, machines or no machines”. * Brian Dillon on Joan Didion‘s South and West. * Brian Dillon on Fredric Jameson‘s Raymond Chandler: “Often, however, they are the hated essence of noir, embodiments of the existential void beneath the city and its florid environs. Hardly a story goes by without Marlowe rueing the moment he answered the phone and allowed that void to speak”. * Paul Morley on Anthony Burgess (audio). * Burgess at 100. * The life and work of Colin Wilson. * Rachel Cusk in BOMB and here: “You would never teach someone to write this way . . . it’s everything you shouldn’t do”. * Rachel Cusk on the Maldives and the age of rudeness. * Monica Ali on Rachel Cusk‘s Transit. * Claire Messud on Transit. * The literary glamour of madness. * On Henry Green: “Green didn’t leave behind an unfinished masterpiece. He didn’t write masterpieces, period. Some of the most unfairly gifted people are extraordinary self-saboteurs, as if driven by a leveling force. Some too are lazy. The strewn plots and loose diamantine air of Green’s work and the indeterminacy of his or Yorke’s life suggest a recalcitrance to mastery, to becoming a master in both a literary and a class sense”. * The American Oulipian. * Lauren Elkin on Vanessa Bell: “a whole symphony of impure sounds hurtles off her canvases”. * The ever wonderful Linder Sterling: “Often, the application of glue can release all sorts of smells that have been absorbed by the paper over the decades, tobacco is the strongest scent, sometimes there’s a faint whiff of perfume or fried eggs. You don’t get that olfactory rush with Photoshop and I miss it”. * Francesca Woodman‘s “indoor shots invest the crises at hand with the uncompromising hardness of walls, corners, and floors”.  * Julia Jacklin covers The Strokes‘ “Someday”. * On Volume Four of The Letters of Samuel Beckett. * David Stubbs remembers Mark Fisher (followed by an excellent 2010 interview conducted by Agata Pyzik). * Commemorating the 40th anniversary of BuzzcocksSpiral Scratch EP. * Paul Auster interviewed (video). * Lengthy piece by Paul Laity on Paul Auster. * On art Strikes. * Eimear McBride on the problems with erotica. * Roland Barthes and Japan. * Wonderful BBC Radio 3 programme on John Berger. *  John Berger RIP. * John Berger remembered. * Ben Lerner on John Berger: “A similar active silence surrounds his work. His shorter essays seem chiselled out of it. I see it in the way poems often appear as structuring devices within his novels, and I feel it in the white space of the poems themselves, just as it surrounds the lines of his drawings. In his collaborations with photographers and visual artists, one feels a companionable silence as the author and reader look at the images together across time. And now with his death those silences are deepening”. * Tom Overton on John Berger. * John Berger’s life in quotes. * John Berger: beyond the obituaries. * Jean Mohr’s pictures of John Berger. * Adam Biles on John Berger at Shakespeare and Company in late 2014. * John Berger at Shalespeare and Company (audio). * John Berger at 90. * Sally Potter on John Berger. * Wonderful piece by Lucy Jones on her pregnancy: “As she is readying to be born, part of me is dying”. * Knausgaard interviewed by Lorien Kite in the FT. * The Riviera Set. * Anne Carson: “If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it”. * Arno Schmidt‘s modernist masterpiece. * Ben Lerner at the London Review Bookshop (audio). * Ben Lerner on Chris Marker’s studio. * David Bowie’s London. * Beckett’s long farewelling: “I hope words have now failed me”. * Great piece by Brian Dillon on A Matter of Life and Death: “Four years later, in Orphée, Jean Cocteau would film that tale with radio broadcasts, an undead protagonist and otherworldly tribunal – but the Archers were there first, expressing with amazing lightness of touch a real yearning to bring the war’s dead back to life”. Tom McCarthy avant la lettre. * Brian Dillon in conversation with Mark Greif (audio). * On Mark Greif‘s Against Everything (audio). * Houellebecq‘s poetry. * The growing charm of Dada. * The story of Slash magazine. * On Henry Green: “Nothing in his novels — including almost any sentence — proceeds as one might expect, and although nothing seems arbitrary, the books are surprise after surprise. Green seems to have been free, or to have made himself free, not only from literary conventions but also from conventions of thought, such as our unexamined assumptions of what a narrative is—what merits attention, how something comes to occur, and the language and constructions in which the elaborate workings of human behavior can be expressed”. * Henry Green, the novelist of human knowability. * Why do we get homesick? * Robert Bresson. * Virginia Woolf in the bomb-scarred city. * Max Richter on composing Woolf Works. * Mark Cunningham on Mars and Blood Quartet. * JG Ballard‘s Project For a New Novel. * Fils de punk. * Hari Kunzru: “I used to force myself to finish everything I started, which I think is quite good discipline when you’re young, but once you’ve established your taste, and the penny drops that there are only a certain number of books you’ll get to read before you die, reading bad ones becomes almost nauseating”. * Iain Sinclair on Will Ashon‘s Strange Labyrinth.

[Illustration: Kenneth Garland.]