Tag Archives: biography

Poet Laureate of Spaceship Earth: An Excerpt from ‘You Belong to the Universe’

This Thursday at 7 p.m., author (and ZYZZYVA contributor) Jonathon Keats will be at City Lights to discuss his newest book, You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future (Oxford University Press). Called by Douglas Coupland a “wonderfully written and highly necessary book about one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic outliers,” the book takes Fuller’s life and personal myth as a basis for applying his world-changing ideas in the present. The following is an excerpt from Keats’s book. Late one evening in the winter of 1927, Buckminster Fuller set out to kill himself in frigid Lake Michigan. …Continue reading

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‘The Most Thrilling Terms’: ‘Nabokov in America’ by Robert Roper

Speaking about what he refused to characterize as his personal fame, Nabokov once told an interviewer, “Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.” However, in the face of what the author and his family called “Hurricane Lolita,” Nabokov remained personally obscure only because he was intent on doing so. Yet all the while the near mythical dimension of his persona grew around his unwillingness to appear in public, and because of his pithy, self-orchestrated, and tightly managed interviews, which tantalized but revealed little. Appearing in a candid television interview once (and …Continue reading

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Straight-ahead Look at Foster Wallace: D.T. Max’s ‘Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story’

The main triumph of Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story (Viking; 368 pages), D.T. Max’s biography of the late writer David Foster Wallace, is that it’s not really a triumph at all – at least not in the ways fans of Wallace’s jittery, hyper-articulate prose might expect. By examining the author’s life in sterile and often painful detail, Max teases out the sort of truths that Wallace, for all his rhetorical and conceptual acrobatics, could only ever seem to orbit. The book’s resultant paradox (its most immediate one, anyway) is almost Wallace-like in its complex reflectiveness: it’s through decidedly …Continue reading

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