Saturday, September 19, 2009

 

Tom Clark
responding to Vincent Katz
about romanticism & Jim Carroll

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Vincent Katz, posting as Vanitas

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Just Visiting

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Friday, September 18, 2009

 

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

 

I only met
Kurt Cobain twice,

and he was
certainly not

a people
person.

Jim Carroll, 1998

If Jim Carroll had any impression of me, it was as a drinking buddy of his one-time Bolinas housemate, Jim Gustafson. This was in the early 1970s, after Gustafson had followed Andrei Codrescu to California from Detroit. There was a period where Jim was working in the City in a car wash down on Lombard & after work he & I would work our way through the bars between his job & the Union Street scene. We’d walk past the location where the Gallery Six reading had taken place in 1955, but neither of us were ever entirely certain of just which building it was. Invariably, we’d eat at one of the establishments & there was often live music to be heard (once even Bonnie Raitt!). After we got tired, I’d head home, walking directly up the Fillmore Street hill & then down Sacramento. Gustafson used to aim to find some woman with a car who would drive him back across the Golden Gate, preferably to her place. I would marvel at how often he was successful at this.

Gustafson invariably described Carroll as fragile, but two readings of his that I still remember hardly felt that way to me. The first was at Intersection, back when the arts program was still in the unused Methodist facility just down from the Art Institute in North Beach. Readings were in the basement & the place really had the Church coffee house vibe to it, as the audience sat at tables that crowded up against what passed for a stage. I have no memory of just whom Jim was reading with, but he was going first & reading works that would find their way into Living at the Movies. He mentioned heroin in the introduction to one poem and someone maybe two tables back said loudly, “You were a junky for an an hour & a half, just to get methadone.” Without another word or a second’s hesitation, Carroll leapt from the stage over the table this rube was at & had to be pulled off the fellow, who may have been quite a bit bigger than Carroll but was caught entirely off-guard. At least some basketball skills never go away, or so it seemed. When they were separated, the heckler was unceremoniously 86’d. After the upended tables were turned back upright & people had retaken their seats, Carroll continued reading as if nothing ever happened.

The other reading was a few years later at Cody’s in Berkeley. Whoever was the emcee that night introduced Jim by holding up a copy of the Grossman edition of Living at the Movies, noting the cover by Larry Rivers (this may also have been on the cover of the edition Michael Wolfe brought out from Tombuctou before the Grossman “first edition” in ’73). “This is a book you buy for the cover, but keep for the poems,” the emcee said – I wish I could remember if that was Richard Silberg or not – while Carroll’s eyes widened & nostrils flared. After the reading, Carroll was still fuming. “I could punch him out. How could he say that about my book?” But no theatrics (or worse) ensued.

So Gustafson’s sense of Jim Carroll wasn’t quite my own, tho I could see why Gustafson felt protective of him. While there was an undercurrent of anger, what I saw most clearly was Carroll’s shyness. And there was no doubt that Carroll always looked frail, regardless of his athletic abilities. But what he was not, as I’d been warned earlier, was a naïf created rather out of whole cloth by Ted Berrigan. Living at the Movies was a decent book that fit right in with the range of 3rd generation New York School poetry. And if Patti Smith’s “I met him in 1970, and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation” mostly makes you wonder what tiny universe she was inhabiting, Carroll himself had none of that hubris. His interviews – with Rolling Stone, Back Beat or the rest of the rather amazing collection you can find on Cassie Carter’s Catholic Boy website – are free of pretension. He’s frank about his limitations (and those of others as well), and clear that his influences place him in a context headed up by Ashbery & O’Hara more than the Beat scene he’s sometimes associated with just because that’s what rock & roll understands as poetry.

I lost touch with Carroll once Gustafson & I stopped hanging out together, well before Carroll pulled the band together and briefly became famous – a rep that ramped up even further once a movie was made of the Diaries. For all of Carroll’s celebrity, the one major anthology that actually includes some of his work is Paul Hoover’s Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, where Carroll is listed as having been born in 1951. Wikipedia until recently had him being born in 1950, before switching to what is apparently correct: 1949. David Shankbone’s accounts of Carroll fumbling around aimlessly at the Brooklyn Book Festival two years ago (here & here) suggest that recent years haven’t necessarily been as triumphant as some of this week’s obit-speak have made them sound. The only event listed in Catholic Boy’s roster of tour dates (meticulous for the past 14 years) after the Brooklyn fiasco was the 2008 Poetry Project New Year’s Marathon.

Here are some links worth following further:

Lewis MacAdams on Jim Carroll

Tom Clark on Jim Carroll

Michael Lally on Jim Carroll

Organic Trains, 1967

Rolling Stone obit

Washington Post obit

LA Times obit

CNN obit

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

 

The Chicago School

Kent Johnson’s “big shoulders” …
really belong to Adam Fieled?

Poetry’s idea of the “Chicago School” is a little different

Jimmy Schuyler:
“Love’s Photograph (Father and Son)”

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Allan Kolksi Horwitz’ introduction to
Botsotso:
An Anthology of Contemporary
South African Poetry

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Contemporary Botswana poetry

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The poetry of breath
in the work of
Nengi Josef Ilagha

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Nonverbal reviews & adaptations
of women’s poetry

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Innovative Canadian Women Poets
launch anthology
@ St. Marks (?!)

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Frank O’Hara’s Try! Try!
& Kristin Pevallet’s Clutter

2 nights only
@ the Bleecker Street Theater, NYC
September 28 & 29

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Laura Elrick’s Stalk

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Sous Rature’s
MiniPhillyPhocus Pheature

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Linh Dinh:
Walt Whitman as “aim & shoot”

A Whitman manuscript

Thoreau on photography
by way of Linh Dinh

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“Clever? YES! Verse? NEVER.”
The Times of London
stumbles over Christian Bök’s Eunoia

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Donato Mancini, Christian Bök, Marina Roy
concrete poetry in Vancouver

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Laurence Sterne’s black page at 250

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Scribble? Or Scrabble?

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Ty Miller’s
Singular Examples:
Artistic Politics
& the New Avant-Garde

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Is flarf real?

Not really

Flarf videopoems

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Attention Span 2009
is under way

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Poetry & breathing

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Fernando Perez
is off the disabled list
& brings poetry to the Rays

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J.H. Prynne on Tintern Abbey

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William Carlos Williams’
“To Waken an Old Lady” –
how it really sounds

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Kenny Goldsmith
sings Roland Barthes

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Kyle Schlesinger:
“Letter for the Letters of Clyfford Still”

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Travis Macdonald’s
The O Mission Repo
free online

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Found: a lost Oppen letter

George Oppen’s silences

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Talking with William Burroughs

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Jerome Rothenberg:
“Abraham Abulafia Visits the Pope”

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Adrianne Marcus has died

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Remembering Craig Arnold

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Marion Boyers goes belly up

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The essays of Lenny Michaels

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Lit scene report:
readings at the Albany Library
(the real Albany, in California)

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Ange Mlinko on poetry & motherhood

Mlinko responds to
Robert Archambeau’s
portfolio of manifestos

Henry Gould does likewise

Archambeau replies

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Beth Joselow
on The Young & the Restless

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Mute inglorious Nabokovs

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Simon Pettet’s Hearth

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Mark Cunningham’s
Nachträglichkeit

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Mail art as vispo

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Foust, Dickinson, Christle,
Armantrout, Schomburg, Sze

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In Seattle, October 7,
James Bertolino & David Rigsbee

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Chris Mansel interviews
Jake Berry, Hank Lazer, Judy Bonds & Jack Ransom

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El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore
of Buenos Aires

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A big week for bookstores?

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Poetry & Craigslist

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Eliot kept the day job

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The “game” of ghost writing

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Writing sequels to others’ work

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Charles Bukowski
& the computer

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“If you take grammar & lexicon
away from a language,
what is left?”

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Book of Rhymes
crash course on hip-hop poetics

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Talking with D.A. Boucher

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James Galvin on James Wright

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How old is
Little Red Riding Hood?

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Alphabetography

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The new literacy

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Digitizing ancient texts

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Books as bollards

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The write stuff

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Is this the year
of the digital text?

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James Tracy,
our digital martyr

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Amazon to require
Search-Inside-the-Book
from all publishers

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Kindling
changes for readers & writers alike

Using a Kindle

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Last minute filings oppose Google book deal

Google tries to calm Europe

© office blasts Google

Choosing up sides

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Should literary bloggers
pay for book links
?

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Ted Striphas’ The Late Age of Print

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You provide the footnotes

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In 1844
William Henry Fox Talbot’s
Pencil of Nature,
the first book with photo illustrations,
foresaw the use of photographs
“to make exact duplicates of fragile or unique texts
to allow for study without access to the original”
(scroll down to text surrounding Plate IX)

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How to write better
than an English professor

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The function of book blogs

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Electric Literature Single Sentence Animation:
Luca Dipierro’s version of Lydia Millet’s “Sir Henry”

Electric Literature

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Anselm Berrigan:
from Primitive State

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What are poets for
in a post-pomo society?

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Coetzee, Byatt
on Man Booker shortlist

Books that should have been
on the shortlist

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Lydia Davis:
Three stories

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Clarice Lispector:
Why This World

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Shane McRae’s
One Neither One

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The Lives of the Poets:
“mournful narratives”

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The new Cavafy

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Here comes Sijo

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French poet finds home
in Korean poetry

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Poetry, performance
& knowledge as a category
of unknowing

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Poetry & Twitter yet again

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10 famous literary MacGuffins

My favorite MacGuffin

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Talking with Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore & the farmer’s daughter

Moore’s “darkest book”

What Moore’s reviews
tell us about perceptions
about the midwest

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Carl Phillips on Brigit Pegeen Kelly

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Raymond Roussel’s Self Help Notes –
a commentary on Bob Perelman’s
Chronic Meanings

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On Susan Wheeler, Jack Gilbert
& J.D. McClatchy

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The censors at
Yale University Press

They’re more subtle at Conde Nast

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The Oregon 150 booklist

David Biespiel on the list

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The characters of J.M. Coetzee

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The Collected Poetry of
Dahlia Ravikovitch

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Saskia Hamilton:
“Forms of Reticence”

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Real men write poetry

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Edgar Allan Poe in Austin

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Anne Gorrick:
“Julian’s Idyll”

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Poetry & pop criticism

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Eating with Wendell Berry

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Orhan Pamuk’s Norton lectures
@ Harvard
Sept. 22 – Nov. 3

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Mowlana Saifeddin Abuolmaahamed Mohammed Farghani,
better known as SEF,
the first Iranian poet
who focused on social justice

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Neil Gaiman’s bookshelves

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Read to me Tuesday

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Naked, drunk & writing

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These Heights have never wuthered

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Frederick Seidel
“is a meat slicing machine”

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Following Jeffers’ path

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Talking with Carl Miller Daniels

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A confessional poet in Manila

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Jonathan Thirkield at the Tate

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Guantanamo best sellers

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Tidying up with E.L. Doctorow

Talking with Doctorow

Homer & Langley

Chapter One

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Chaucer, Verlaine, Yeats
among Abebooks’ “most expensive” volumes sold
in August

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Jenn McCreary:
from Magpie Augery

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Maurice Blanchot’s
When the Time Comes

Plus Awaiting Oblivion

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Jordan Stempleman’s
String Parade

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Commentary on
Theresa Hak Kyun Cha’s
Dictée

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Mytili Jagannathan:
“Scribble”

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Talking with Wendy Cope

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Janet Holmes’
The MS of My Kin

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Turning in poetry

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“Few are the cases
seen by an appellate judge
in which poetry matters

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Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist

Stephen Burt on Baker

“A second-tier poet

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Close calls with Stephen Burt

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Brief Interview with Hideous Men
the trailer

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Whatever became of Charlie Smith?

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The New York Art Book Fair
is fast approaching

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A report on the Struga Poetry Fest
in Macedonia

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Thomas Pynchon’s hippie noir

The California of too-easy living

Jonathan Lethem’s got stoners as well

Lethem on J.G. Ballard

Lethem & The Thing

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Talking with A.S. Byatt

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Horacio Castellanos Moya’s
Dance With Snakes

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Zachary Mason’s
The Lost Books of the Odyssey

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Harriet is Alan Cordle’s new pet peeve

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“Violent concision”
in the prolix work of
Henri Cole

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Another Granta editor bails

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Make room for Rumi

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100 20th century American poets,
maybe 95 of whom are quietists

Some suggestions

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Talking with Louise Glück

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Kicking Mailer when he’s dead

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The department of weird books

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Edward Byrne on this year’s
National Book Critics Circle awards

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Canadian nature poetry
is “devoid of wonder”

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Margaret Drabble’s
top 10 literary landscapes

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Angela Shaw’s
The Beginning of the Fields

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Moby Dick & Baader Meinhof

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Sara Maitland’s
A Book of Silence

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Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised

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Portnoy is 40

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Talking with Amber Tamblyn

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James Ellroy’s Beethoven

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A poet’s personal life
“is irrelevant”

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Joyce Carol Oates
does Jon Benet Ramsey

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Ursula Bethell’s “Rock-Crystal”

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Poetry @ the Oregon State Fair

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Talking with Kevin Wilson

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The Gold Ink awards

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Dust covers to covet

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The future of books
is sculpture?
(be sure to click both links!)

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Glenn Beck
gets NEA aide fired

Yosi Sergant,
the PR man
for Shepard Fairey’s
Obama Hope posters

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The Ringling International Arts Festival
isn’t just clowning around

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Tim Davis:
2 new shows
that look terrific

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Stealing Andy Warhol

Interpol puts its database
of stolen art online

Most wanted” works of art

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Dance with Camera

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Claude Pelieu & Mary Beach:
Studio / Gallery / Reality

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Political Speech is Suprematism

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William T. Wiley in retrospect

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Annie Liebovitz gets more time

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R. Crumb’s Genesis

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Beyond Project Runway

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Lester Young & Billie Holiday

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Who plays the White House?

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Nick Hornby
on the joy of
killing off record shops

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Anthropology & parallelism:
the Individual as Universal
(reg. req.)

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A walk through Balikpapan

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Benjamin at the Barricades

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Friending the strike
at Oakland University

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How many
Harvard professors
are for sale?

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Sous Rature’s 3ssue
is terrific –
the links here
are just the proverbial
tip o’ the iceberg

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Get well soon, Brian Salchert!

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