Anti-Social Behavior: the Novel

Asked in a 1995 interview about his fascination with Milton, Martin Amis described the loss of innocence in Paradise Lost as “the basic tragic story of our culture.” Milton, Amis…

The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers

The recently published multi-volume Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, with easy to read large font in generous layout, is lavish in its design, and the ongoing multi-volume Collected Letters of…

Bunting’s Persia

Basil Bunting often goes unacknowledged as a major contributing innovator of Modern poetry in English. Rather unfortunately — as Bunting had no love of Academics — the lapse in knowledge…

Thank You for Smoking

Dr. Nicolas Monardes of Sevilla is a 16th century doctor convinced of the wide-ranging practicality of treating illnesses with tobacco, who is also, eventually, snuffed out by his own fervent…

Death’s Poetic Dominion: On Sandra Gilbert

It may be a truism, but it is still true: death is most difficult for the survivors. When it’s expected — a parent, or someone you love who has suffered…

Blake in the Academe

In 1969, Northrop Frye introduced the new edition of his groundbreaking study of the works of the poet William Blake, with some offhand comments about its genesis: “The doctoral thesis…

Stuart Blazer’s Ruffled Surf

That silo you never saw until today was yours the day you were born. –Richard Hugo Why don’t you make a mistake and do something right. –Sun Ra Man was…

Alice Neel: a Radical Portrait

Alice Neel was a handful. She was a visual artist, a proto-feminist, a Thirties radical, and a Sixties icon. She was the mother of four children, an abused woman, and…

Mishandling the Truth

I’m going to review John D’Agata’s new book, Lifespan of a Fact, even though I haven’t read it. But don’t worry. I read D’Agata’s two previous books, Halls of Fame…

Eyebrows, Cigarettes, Etcetera

In Ben Lerner’s debut novel, someone is always lighting a cigarette. Awkward social situation? Time for a smoke. Waiting for a table? Cigarette, please. Terrorist attacks on Madrid’s commuter trains?…

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