Arts & Culture

Author Interviews
4:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

'All We Know': Three Remarkable But Forgotten Lives

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:25 pm

The scene is Paris in the 1920s. The stars are three women: Esther Murphy, a product of New York high society who wrote madly but could never finish a book; Mercedes de Acosta, an insatiable collector and writer infatuated with Greta Garbo; and Madge Garland, a self-made Australian fashion editor at British Vogue. All three were lesbians.

Their histories burst onto the literary scene this summer in the biography All We Know: Three Lives by Wesleyan University professor Lisa Cohen.

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Sat January 19, 2013

A Memorized Poem 'Lives With You Forever,' So Pick Carefully

John Keats' poetry lends itself to memorization particularly well. Fortunately, you can learn his texts by heart without having to adopt his moody pose.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:39 pm

Take just a moment to estimate how many songs you know by heart. Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?

Now, how many poems do you have memorized?

For most modern readers, even poetry fans, that number's pretty low. But Poetry By Heart, a new competition in the U.K., is seeking to bring the art of poetry memorization to a new generation.

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The Salt
4:53 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Inaugural Balls Where Food Isn't An Afterthought

Guests arrive for the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball in Washington back in 2005 to celebrate President Bush's second term.
J. David Ake AP

Like everyone else in Washington, D.C., right now, we're gearing up for the long inaugural weekend, bracing ourselves for various events and balls around town that can be thrilling, patriotic, touristy and traffic-jamming, all at the same time.

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4:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

U.K. Asks Students To Learn Poetry 'By Heart,' Not By Rote

Emily Musette Hays performs in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C. The U.S. competition served as a model for the U.K.'s Poetry By Heart contest.
James Kegley The Poetry Foundation

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:13 am

When the Internet offers a superabundance of material to read, watch, listen to and play, it's easy to skim over text and half-listen to broadcasts. But the British government is inviting schoolchildren to put down their cellphones, turn off their news feeds and spend a long time lingering over a poem — so long that they learn it by heart.

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4:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

'Art Of Betrayal': A History Of MI6 That Reads Like A Spy Novel

Pegasus Books

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:13 am

For an organization that's supposed to be "secret," the British Secret Service, MI6, is awfully famous. MI6 agents turned novelists include Ian Fleming, Graham Greene and John LeCarre, and their books — together with the film franchise starring Fleming's James Bond — have made the intelligence organization a global brand.

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