Articles by Bill Morris

June 13, 2014

Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline: The New Jersey Poems of Timothy Walsh 0

When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive understands that loss is imminent and inevitable, and that the things we have lost are beyond retrieval. That’s what makes it so painful, and so lovely.

June 2, 2014

The Past Will Never Be Past: On A Detroit Anthology 3

But the thing I wanted to do with this anthology was get past the stance that we’re going to explain this city. I wanted to get the candid conversations Detroiters have with other Detroiters — diverse and true and candid conversations people have at a dinner table or in a bar.

May 13, 2014

Lee Zacharias Writes Again: On The Only Sounds We Make 1

“We are all just passing through,” Zacharias reminds us. “It is what we remember of the journey that we possess.”

April 29, 2014

Forget About James Franco 19

I’ve been around enough creative types to know that the only thing more toxic and debilitating than their schadenfreude is their seething resentment over the success of a rival. Especially when it’s seen as unearned.

April 4, 2014

Are We Entering a Golden Age of the Second Novel? 6

If a first novel fails to become a blockbuster, as almost all of them do, publishers are less inclined to get behind the follow-up by a writer who has gained a dubious track record but has lost that most precious of all literary selling points: novelty. Writers get only one shot at becoming The Next Big Thing.

March 31, 2014

Digging Beneath the Cliché of Ruin Porn in Detroit 1

Only a true Pollyanna would try to minimize Detroit’s staggering problems. But buying into the dreary old ruin-porn narrative is, in its way, as myopic as rosy optimism.

March 13, 2014

The Writing on the Wall (Redux): The 2014 Whitney Biennial, Starring David Foster Wallace 1

As the practice of writing on paper (everything from telegrams to letters to books to Post-It notes) is increasingly devoured by technology, words on paper are evolving from widespread tools of communication into the rarefied stuff of art. As things recede, they also expand. As a result, words are becoming as legitimate as the more traditional subject matter of painting, drawing, video and sculpture.

February 21, 2014

The Rise of Jay Gatsby and the Fall of His Inventor: On Sarah Churchwell’s Careless People 4

Churchwell has done something almost unimaginable: she has discovered something new and she has written something fresh and revealing about The Great Gatsby.

February 20, 2014

America Always Gets the RoboCop It Deserves 6

Even as the RoboCop movies have declined in quality, they have served as ever-sharper reflections of what’s going on in the culture at large.

January 23, 2014

Based on a True Story: The Fiction-Free Finalists for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar 0

This year’s five nominees spring from material that varies widely in tone and quality. This source material is not all bad, by any stretch. But there isn’t the handiwork of an untethered imagination in the pack.