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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Of Sentient Donkeys, Supple Ironies and Artful Digressions: An Interview with James Morrison

“Mainly, I wanted to avoid talking down to an audience of new readers. My teaching experience had convinced me that as long as the writing was concrete, as long as sentences were sharply honed, as long as ideas were connected clearly, as long as the pacing had some momentum–in other words, as long as the writing adhered to certain well-known standards for good writing across the board–new readers could respond to it.”

Asparagus for Frank O’Hara

by Monique Daviau

Last summer, I convinced my friend Chris that he and I should drive from Brooklyn to East Hampton, Long Island, to place a bundle of asparagus on the grave of a poet he had never heard of. I hoped to be very convincing when explaining that Frank O’Hara was my favorite poet, meant the world to me, and that I needed to make the pilgrimage. Fortunately, Chris is always open to using his Zipcar membership to drive down to the tippy-tip of Long Island for a day of cemetery-going, and on the day we’d planned to take the trip, the sun was shining and it was almost as if the city were throwing us out. Go see Frank! As a bonus: perfect beach weather!

Poetry from Todd Boss

ONE DAY THE DOCTOR TELLS YOU YOU’RE BLIND

to the truth. It’s physical; something about

the retina, rods, and cones. Truth is a wave-

length in the spectrum you’re unable to detect.

All your life you’ve been compensating,

convincing yourself you could see what you

could not. Suddenly you’ve got questions

What To Do With A National Book Award?

by A.L. Major

In November, I watched the National Book Awards ceremony via an online broadcast. A U of Michigan alum of 05′, Jesmyn Ward, was nominated for her novel Salvage The Bones , and if she won, I wanted to witness it. Of course, my impulse to watch the awards was a self-involved, highly illogical one: that if I am a U of Michigan MFA Fiction student and she is an alum of this same program, then I might be able to produce a work of similar notability and talent. When she won, I was surprisingly elated. As if I had won too. I bought her books, the hour after, not yet critical of why it hadn’t occurred to me to buy them before. Later, I realized I’ve become a complacent reader.

Marks The Spot

If you believe the Times, and why not believe them, Google is developing everything from robot drones and driverless cars to a space elevator, which, so far as I can deduce, is a kind of hybrid, Wonkafied rocket-cum-slingshot.