The fifth annual PEN Word Voices festival will kick off in New York City on April 28, featuring sixty events with writers from forty countries, PEN American Center announced on Wednesday.
Editor Steve Luttrell interviewing Charles Henri Ford at his home in the Dakota, a famous apartment building in New York City, for the Summer 1996 issue of the Café Review.
Editor Steve Luttrell interviewing the late Robert Creeley, a frequent contributor, at the poet's Maine summer cottage for the Spring 1995 issue of the Café Review.
In this letter, dated November 11, 1998, Café Review contributor Donald Hall wrote, "It took me a while, but I have finally been reading Steve Luttrell. I can tell that you love Creeley as much as I do." Luttrell, who is also a published poet, had interviewed Hall the previous summer. Lutrell recalls: "Don once told me that he never refers to himself as a poet. He said, 'I let others call me that if they wish to, because that's a term of high honor.'"
The Café Review has been a haven for Beat luminaries such as Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose 1999 postcard to Luttrell is shown here.
Luttrell says he wants the magazine he helped found to outlast him. True support of small presses, he says, has to come in several ways: “If you care enough about a magazine to submit your work there, you should care enough to send a subscription check and know that the magazine will still be there when they get around to publishing your work.”
Once, at Naropa, Luttrell overheard an exchange with one of Ginsberg’s and Kerouac’s old cronies, the poet Gregory Corso. While the famously iconoclastic Corso was chatting with a small circle of friends, a man approached him and said: “Hey, good to meet you, Gregory. I’m a poet too.” Corso shot back: “Oh yeah? You’re a poet? Well, you’re an asshole, too!”
“There was nothing Corso hated more than talking with poets about poetry,” says Luttrell, laughing.
Luttrell often evokes William Carlos Williams’s explanation of a poem (“A poem is a machine made out of words”) as an analogy to the Café Review.
“That’s how I feel about the Café Review, it’s this perfect little machine,” says Luttrell. “Ideas are abundant,” he says of journals that are created by groups of several people and sputter out, “but it takes something else to see those ideas through.”
Man Group, the investment company and hedge fund that sponsors the annual Man Booker Prize, last week announced the finalists of its other high-profile award: the Man Booker International Prize. The biannual award, founded in 2004, is given to a writer of any nationality whose work is available in English. It's worth around eighty-five thousand dollars. The finalists are:
Peter Carey (Australia)
Evan S. Connell (USA)
Mahasweta Devi (India)
E. L. Doctorow (USA)
James Kelman (UK)
Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
Arnošt Lustig (Czechoslovakia)
Alice Munro (Canada)
V. S. Naipaul (Trinidad/India)
Joyce Carol Oates (USA)
Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Kenya)
Dubravka Ugresic (Croatia)
Ludmila Ulitskaya (Russia)
The judges are Amit Chaudhuri, Andrey Kurkov, and Jane Smiley. The winner will be announced in May.
Previous winners of the prize are Ismail Kadare of Albania and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Below is a video poem by Kadare and Achebe's 2007 acceptance speech.