It’s a new month, and once again, a new issue of Open Letters Monthly is live and ready for your reading pleasure!
As usual, the pieces range widely and probe deeply. I have a proprietary interest in a handful of them. Alyssa Mackenzie, a former honors student at Dal (now doing graduate work on Virginia Woolf in NYC) contributed a great review of Sandra Djwa’s new biography of P. K. Page — by the time I’d finished working through it with Alyssa I was convinced I have not read nearly enough of Page’s poetry. Nicole Perrin, better known to some of you as bibliographing, takes a sharp look at Jane Gardam’s latest and (to her disappointment and mine) finds it not as good as her earlier books. My Dal colleague Jerry White has a stem-winder on Fintan O’Toole’s attempts to generate a new vision of republicanism in Ireland. It is genuinely exciting to work with people on books and ideas that they are excited about themselves, and gratifying to see our efforts (well, OK, the effort is mostly theirs, but I helped!) pay off with strong, interesting critical writing.
My own contribution is a review of Deirdre David’s Olivia Manning: A Woman at War, which I found fascinating for its account of Manning’s life and work and thought-provoking for the questions it raises about being (or refusing to be) a “woman writer.”
The issue also includes John Cotter’s take on Terry Eagleton’s How to Read Literature, Steve Donoghue keeping up with the Tudors with a new alt-history account of Anne Boleyn, Spencer Lenfield with an impressively detailed and nuanced reading of Richard Ford, and much more. I hope you’ll come on over and read around in it — and if you read something you like, help us get the word out. Sometimes (perhaps unfoundedly) it feels like we are putting out the best online literary magazine nobody has ever heard of! And also, in case this doesn’t go without saying, if you ever have an idea for an essay or review that you’d like to contribute, let me know (rmaitzen at gmail).