Posts Tagged ‘Recommended Reading’

 

C. Whitehead’s Zombie Novel Takes Streets

10/19/2011  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Zone One, Colson Whithead

Zone One, the highly anticipated fifth novel from MacArthur Fellow Colson Whitehead, hit the shelves and electronic delivery channels yesterday. It deals with the living dead in the city that never sleeps. Here’s what people are saying:

“The best book of the fall…Zone One formulates an essential equation: the measure of what we once had versus the hint of what we have left. Whitehead brilliantly reformulates an old-hat genre to ask the epidemic question of a teetering history — the question about the possibility of survival.”
—Tom Chiarella, Esquire

“Everything comes to life in this perfectly paced, horrific, 40-page finale shot through with grim comedy and desolate wisdom about the modern age in all its poisonous, contaminating rage. It’s a remarkable episode, drenched in the matinee carnage of classic horror but elevated by the power of Whitehead’s prose to the level of those other ash-covered nightmares imagined by T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cormac McCarthy.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“When I was a youngster, comic books and novels such as Lucifer’s Hammer and The Stand provided models of the apocalypse, but movies were my true primer — the glorious feel-bad dystopian flicks of the 1960s and 1970s. The inexplicable monsters of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead were my template for this book, as they are for everything we currently categorize as a zombie text.”
—Colson Whithead, interviewed in Harper’s

Twitterites: follow @colsonwhithead

Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table

11/01/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


OneBigTable.jpg

Among many new and forthcoming titles, the book we are perhaps most excited about is Molly O’Neill‘s One Big Table. We know O’Neill best for American Food Writing, the showcase collection of classic food writing she edited for the Library of America. One Big Table promises to rediscover American eating traditions and situate them firmly in the vernacular and present-day. The nearly-1,000-page book is the result of a decade-long journey to gather oral histories and family recipes from a broad swath of the American public, and contains more than 600 recipes and 700 color photographs.

We’re also tickled to note that we (in the person of Miles Frieden), will be in the Great Hall at Ellis Island with O’Neill on Thursday for a dinner to celebrate the launch of One Big Table. Ellis Island, of course, is the place through which over 12 million immigrants entered these united states, bringing with them the recipes that continue to nourish our national identity. The night includes a panel discussion with Calvin Trillin, who will re-join O’Neill in January for The Hungry Muse, our 29th annual Seminar.

Bipolar Alien: James Tate @ KWLS 2010

07/06/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

By STUART KRIMKO

Tate_James_curt.richter.jpg

James Tate in Key West. Photos by Curt Richter.

David Lehman, praising Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry in Newsweek on the occasion of the publication of her Collected Poems, wrote that she “accomplished a magical illumination of the ordinary, forcing us to examine our surroundings with the freshness of a friendly alien.”

I was reminded of this apt summary towards the end of James Tate’s reading at the 2010 Key West Literary Seminar, when a friendly alien in fact appeared in a poem:

Someone had spread an elaborate rumor about me, that I was
in possession of an extraterrestrial being, and I thought I knew who
it was. It was Roger Lawson. Roger was a practical joker of the worst sort…

So begins “The Cowboy,” from Tate’s most recent volume The Ghost Soldiers. The narrator goes on disbelieving in the alien for about half the poem, until he reports:

…I nearly dropped the groceries. There was a nearly transparent
fellow with large pink eyes standing about three feet tall.

Tate’s humor in this poem, and in the other three he read from The Ghost Soldiers at the 2010 Seminar’s Friday morning session, is the primary thing I suspect most Seminar attendees came away with. I say so because almost every sentence Tate read was greeted with a huge roar of laughter, as if the poems in their public manifestation were a series of one-liners. Tate did not seem to shy away from this. He even stifled a few chuckles himself as he made his way through his carefully inflected delivery.

The laughter seemed an appropriate response as Tate developed the absurd situations, the menacing Middle American surrealism, of each poem. But as the poems went on they revealed their emotional cores, which seemed to me to be anything but funny. In “The Cowboy,” for instance, just when the narrator has agreed to collaborate with the alien and help fulfill his wish “to meet a real cowboy,” he finds the creature “dancing on the kitchen table, a sort of ballet / but very sad.” The alien has heard from his father: “‘I just / received word. I’m going to die tonight. It’s really a joyous / occasion, and I hope you’ll help me celebrate by watching The Magnificent Seven…’” The situation only becomes more poignant, and by the end of the poem it borders on heartbreaking:

…I felt an unbearable sadness come over me. “Why must
you die?” I said. “Father decides these things. It is probably
my reward for coming here safely and meeting you,” he said. “But
I was going to take you to meet a real cowboy,” I said. “Let’s
pretend you are my cowboy,” he said.

magnificent_seven_b.jpg

Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven

Granted, the premise is a comic one, and one can argue that the emotional punch of the finale is only increased by the yuks generated by the lines that lead up to it. But I found myself feeling a little like a friendly alien myself as the laughs cascaded throughout the San Carlos Institute’s auditorium, a friendly curmudgeon of an alien who would have trouble explaining why the people in the theater were laughing so loudly and for so long at the sad words of the man on stage.
(more…)

Writers Recommend

12/10/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
WriteRec_5.gif

With more than 40 writers scheduled to speak during our Seminar this January, it can be difficult for a reader to know where to start. Sure, there are the classics and prize-winners, like William Kennedy’s Ironweed and David Levering Lewis’s two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois; and recent books like Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! and Gore Vidal’s Selected Essays. But what of the hundreds you won’t have time for? The exquisite pastime of reading can suddenly grow so stressful!

With this in mind, we’ve been asking our panelists which books they would recommend from among their own works and those of their peers. For the fifth and final installment of the series, we asked David Levering Lewis and Alison Lurie to recommend their own work. We also make a few suggestions of our own.

• David Levering Lewis is the author of a landmark two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois. Each volume won the Pulitzer Prize for biography (the first time this happened for back-to back volumes), while the first also won the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize and the Bancroft Prize.

“Two books for me, my latest– God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 and W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919. As historical fiction can express the truth of our deepest wishes, my Islam book about the making of Europe recaptures a long-ago time of admirable interfaith cultural and economic cohabitation in Andalusia devoutly to be wished today. Similarly, the Du Bois biography prompts a reimagining of progressive social and economic options foreclosed by the cold war. I’ll also use W.E.B. Dubois’s Mansart Trilogy as a platform for my talk. It is a fictional historical trilogy that begins with Reconstruction and ends in the mid-20th century– with himself as thinly disguised protagonist.”

• Alison Lurie is the author of nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Foreign Affairs (1985). She and husband Edward Hower will co-teach a writers’ workshop in January focusing on the memoir, titled “Creating Writing from Personal History”

“I recommend my most recent novel, Truth and Consequences, along with The Last Resort, which is set in Key West, andFamiliar Spirits, a memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson, who lived in Key West. All of these books are, or as time passes are becoming, historical fiction, since they involve a new look at the past, and in the case of fiction an attempt to combine memory, research, and imagination. For a memoir, memory and research are essential, but imagination is dangerous, since what one hopes to do is to tell as much truth as possible.”

• Several of our panelists have books which are newly released or forthcoming. Among these are Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky’s Blindspot, Alan Cheuse’s To Catch the Lightning, and Barry Unsworth’s Land of Marvels, which will be released in January and will be available during the Seminar through Voltaire Books in the lobby of the San Carlos. We also recommend this year’s finalists for the National Book Award: Home by Marilynne Robinson, Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner, and Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. Read more recommendations from our writers here. You’ll also find our authors talking about their work in our interview series here.

Writers Recommend

10/24/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
WritersRec4.gif

With more than 40 writers scheduled to speak during our Seminar this January, it can be difficult for a reader to know where to start. Sure, there are the classics and prize-winners, like William Kennedy’s Ironweed and David Levering Lewis’s two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois; and recent books like Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! and Gore Vidal’s Selected Essays. But what of the hundreds you won’t have time for? The exquisite pastime of reading can suddenly grow so stressful!

With this in mind, we’ve asked our panelists which books they would recommend from among their own works and those of their peers. For the fourth installment of the series, we asked Peter Ho Davies and Barry Unsworth about their work.

• Peter Ho Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His novel, The Welsh Girl, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2003.

“My first collection of stories, The Ugliest House in the World, contains several historical pieces– “Relief,” “Safe,” and “A Union”– which I think might make for interesting reading alongside my recent historical novel The Welsh Girl. “A Union” is set in the same part of North Wales as the novel, albeit in 1899 rather than 1944. “Relief” and “Safe” represent early efforts at incorporating historical figures into my fiction, something I do again in The Welsh Girl, where Rudolph Hess is a featured character. Lastly, I think reading these works side by side raises some questions about the different challenges of historical fiction in the two forms– the novel and the story– which I hope we might touch on at the Seminar.”

• Barry Unsworth won the Booker Prize in 1992. He will deliver the keynote address at our second session this January.

“The two books of mine I’d recommend are Sacred Hunger, which takes the Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century as an extreme example of the human tendency to disregard moral restraint when in full pursuit of profit; and The Songs of the Kings, which takes a Greek myth– the sacrifice by Agamemnon of his daughter so as to obtain a favourable wind for his invasion of Troy– and seeks through this to illustrate how the need to consolidate political power can lead to war, and the sacrifice of the innocent which follows on this.”

Writers Recommend

09/27/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
Writers_Rec2.gif

With more than 40 writers scheduled to speak during our Seminar this January, it can be difficult for a reader to know where to start. Sure, there are the classics and prize-winners, like William Kennedy’s Ironweed and David Levering Lewis’s two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois; and recent books like Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! and Gore Vidal’s Selected Essays. But what of the hundreds you won’t have time for? The exquisite pastime of reading can suddenly grow so stressful!

With this in mind, we’ve asked our panelists which books they would recommend from among their own works and those of their peers. In our third installment of the series, we hear book recommendations from Valerie Martin, Chantel Acevedo, and John Wray.

• Valerie Martin has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kafka Prize, and Britain’s Orange Prize:
“I can’t recommend Barry Unsworth’s Booker Prize-winning novel Sacred Hunger highly enough. It follows the passage of a doomed slave ship from Liverpool to Guinea to a strange and wonderful Utopia on the Florida coast where women, for better or worse, briefly get to run the show. Unsworth’s new novel, Land of Marvels, takes place in Mesopotamia just before World War I, when it has dawned on the West that the oil is in the Middle East. This novel is both a thriller and a timely cautionary tale; not to be missed.

Of my own books I’d choose Property, a novel narrated by a slave-owning woman in Louisiana circa 1820. I like to describe it as a tour of hell with a guide who works for the management. I’d also choose Salvation, a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, constructed of visual scenes from the saint’s life which travel backward in time from his macabre death to his delirious moment of ‘conversion’ as a young bourgeois in 13th century Assisi.”

• Chantel Acevedo teaches English at Auburn University. Oscar Hijuelos called her first novel “enchanting:”
“Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead should be required reading among writers. This spare and graceful book set in the 1950′s about a minister with a secret teaches us that a historic backdrop doesn’t have to pound readers on the head. Rather, it can serve as a quiet and powerful canvas.
My debut novel Love and Ghost Letters focuses on Cuba before Fidel Castro, a time fraught with political upheaval. While the characters are wholly wrapped up in their own complex relationships, the march of history impacts their lives, despite their desire to tune it out.”

• John Wray was selected by Granta as one the twenty best American novelists under thirty-five:
“While both of my novels could be considered historical, I think Canaan’sTongue might be most interesting in the context of this seminar, due to the extreme liberties it takes with its historical subject matter. Its ostensible subject– the outlaw James Murrel and his vast criminal empire– was for me, first and foremost, a way to write about current American politics. How well suited is historical fiction to social and political protest? How much room for experimentation do the confines of the genre permit?”

Writers Recommend

09/20/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
Writers_Rec.gif

With more than 40 writers scheduled to speak during our Seminar this January, it can be difficult for a reader to know where to start. Sure, there are the classics and prize-winners, like William Kennedy’s Ironweed and David Levering Lewis’s two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois; and recent books like Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! and Gore Vidal’s Selected Essays. But what of the hundreds you won’t have time for? The exquisite pastime of reading can suddenly grow so stressful!

With this in mind, we’ve asked our panelists which books they would recommend from among their own works and those of their peers. In round 2 of this ongoing series, we hear book recommendations from Samantha Hunt, Megan Marshall, and KWLS board member Robert Richardson:

• Samantha Hunt is the author of two novels, numerous pieces of short fiction, essays, and a play about the life of Charles Babbage:
“I recommend Andrea Barrett’s Ship Fever– a beautiful book that skips through the centuries, where each story comes down to the passionate love of both science and the natural world. From my own work, I’d recommend, The Invention of Everything Else, which is a novel about Nikola Tesla, America’s most forgotten inventor. The book is set at the Hotel New Yorker in 1943 but travels as far as Croatia in the 1850s, Colorado Springs in the 1890s, and even a little bit into the future.”

• As a reviewer for the Radcliffe Quarterly, Megan Marshall had the chance to comment on recent works by three fellow Seminar speakers.
About Geraldine Brooks’s The People of the Book: “Brooks shows her respect for history not by preserving or even re-creating but by imagining, filling in gaps and silences, creating and solving mysteries, thoroughly informed by but never in thrall to fact.”
On Jane Kamensky’s The Exchange Artist: “… In place of the Puritan ‘city upon a hill” has risen a Boston of scheming businessmen whose paper-money trails Kamensky tracks with relentless cunning. A gifted storyteller, she employs every tool of the historian’s trade … to bring a lost building and its era back to life.”
And on Tony Horwitz’s A Voyage Long and Strange: “… Above all, Horwitz is determined to confront the past in as material a form as it can be located in the present. In so doing, he gently reminds his readers how much of history is readily available to all of us, if we would only think to look and ask.”
Marshall herself is the author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, a Pulitzer finalist and winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, about which biographer and KWLS board member, Robert Richardson has written: “Vivid and well written, it combines domestic, cultural, and intellectual history with the skill of a novelist in a book that reads, at times, like an American Middlemarch.”

Writers Recommend

09/10/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
Rec_Read_1.gif

With more than 40 writers scheduled to speak during our Seminar this January, it can be difficult for a reader to know where to start. Sure, there are the classics and prize-winners, like William Kennedy’s Ironweed and David Levering Lewis’s two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois; and recent books like Joyce Carol Oates’s Wild Nights! and Gore Vidal’s Selected Essays. But what of the hundreds you won’t have time for? The exquisite pastime of reading can suddenly grow so stressful!

With this in mind, we’ve asked our panelists which books they would recommend from among their own works and those of their peers. We begin this recurring feature with historians Eric Foner and Jill Lepore, and novelist and critic Thomas Mallon.

• Eric Foner has been president of each of the three major professional historical organizations: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians. He told us about two of his books:
“Number one: The Story of American Freedom (1999): The title is meant to imply that freedom is both an actual history and a mythology in this country (for what is a story anyway?), which links perhaps to the theme of history and fiction.
Number two: Forever Free (2006): Because no period of American history is more mythologized or fictionalized in popular imagination than the Civil War and Reconstruction.”

• Thomas Mallon is an Ingram Merrill Award winner, and a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review. In our recent interview, he revealed his favorites by fellow Session 2 panelists William Kennedy and Gore Vidal:
“Politics is done very badly– and not all that often– in American historical fiction. But William Kennedy’s Roscoe (2002), all about long-ago municipal machinations in Albany, is a terrific novel, better and more layered than The Last Hurrah (written by Edwin O’Connor in 1956), which I suppose would be its closest cousin. And I think Lincoln (2000) is the most artful of all Gore Vidal’s novels, a brilliant exercise in multiple viewpoints and tonal control. Vidal’s contribution to this whole genre is quite crucial and under-credited. He brought wit into American historical fiction– a quality it had been devoid of throughout the first half of the 20th century, when most of it was elephantine costume drama.”

• From Jill Lepore, chair of Harvard’s History and Literature Program and a regular contributor to The New Yorker whose novel, Blindspot, written jointly with panelist Jane Kamensky, is due out in December, we learned about two of her history books:
The Name of War (1998) is a history of a seventeenth-century war that’s also a meditation on how we write about war, scrutinizing what’s at stake in how war stories are told, what truths those stories uncover, and what truths they mask.
New York Burning (2005) is an inquiry into the ‘Great Negro Plot’ of 1741, in which New York City’s slaves were tried, and burned at the stake. It looks at the asymmetry of the historical record. Can coerced slave ‘confessions’ be trusted?”

William Kennedy’s Ironweed

07/04/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

Ironweed_MCL.jpg
Francis’s hands, as he looked at them now, seemed to be messengers from some outlaw corner of his psyche, artificers of some involuntary doom element in his life. He seemed now to have always been the family killer; for no one else he knew of in the family had ever lived as violently as he. And yet he had never sought that kind of life.

Francis Phelan is a man who believes his own hands have betrayed and destroyed him. He lives in an Albany peopled by ghosts, notably his son, Gerald’s, dead 13 days after birth from the broken neck sustained in falling from his father’s hands to the floor. And yet Phelan, the eloquent, violent, dissembling bum hero of William Kennedy’s great novel Ironweed (1983), is the master of these hands. His entire body, though rundown from decades of sleeping in the weeds and on the streets, retains the devastating grace which brought him the accolades of sportswriters and fans as a ballplayer alongside the likes of Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson. His first murder weapon is a stone the size and heft of a baseball, and he hurls it through the window of a trolley to impact its strikebreaking driver’s head with uncanny accuracy. His final victim’s death is delivered by the ash barrel of a baseball bat, "with a stroke that would have sent any pitch over any center-field fence in any ball park anywhere."

It is Kennedy’s distinct accomplishment in this book to have created Phelan as a sympathetic character, despite the murders committed by his hand, the willful abandonment of a wife and children, and the drunken cruelties which precipitate the deaths of his closest friends. Phelan is a thinker and a dreamer, and this is part of his allure; the Ptolomaic aside which concludes the book is the final instance of a life of deep and endearing reflection, a state of consciousness in which the dead live, board buses and trains, erect bleachers on the lawn to stare on Phelan and debate with him his acts against them. He considers his mistakes to be his greatest sins, and his premeditated sins to be the acts of a just "warrior, protecting a belief that no man could ever articulate, especially himself; but somehow it involved protecting saints from sinners, protecting the living from the dead." He is a man, finally, who has been failed by something more elemental than hands– by fate, and by fact.

Francis was now certain only that he could never arrive at any conclusions about himself that had their origin in reason. But neither did he believe himself incapable of thought. He believed he was a creature of unknown and unknowable quantities, a man in whom there would never be an equanimity of both impulsive and premeditated action.

William Kennedy’s Ironweed won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, a PEN-Faulkner Award, and was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. He join us this January, 2009, for the 27th Annual Key West Literary Seminar: Historical Fiction and The Search for Truth.

Mordecai_Brown_3_fingers.jpg
These hands belong to Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown. He lost the finger in an accident with farming-machinery as a child, and went on to an extraordinarily successful major league career from 1903-1916, winning more than twenty games six times and recording a 2.06 ERA, third best in history, over 481 games.

Alison Lurie’s Familiar Spirits

05/23/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

familiar_spirits.gif

Familiar Spirits is Alison Lurie’s 2001 memoir of two men with whom she was friends for nearly 40 years– celebrated poet James Merrill, and his partner David Jackson. According to Lurie, the young Jackson was as talented as the unpublished Merrill. As the years wear on, however, Merrill attains fame and the highest of literary honors while Jackson’s novels are regularly rejected by publishers. Frustrated, Jackson retreats, ceasing his literary aspirations beyond the Ouija-board collaborations which result in Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover. As he slowly and then suddenly becomes a shell of his former self, Jackson seeks solace in impersonal sex and substances of abuse, earning Merrill’s complaint: "…He doesn’t realize, he doesn’t think– he doesn’t use his mind anymore. And you know, if you don’t, it’s like any muscle, it atrophies." Merrill, for his part, later falls in love with Peter Hooten, rendered by Lurie as a shallow clone of Merrill’s younger self, selfishly intent on keeping Merrill from Jackson and the friends they share.

I was struck by much in this account– the utter destruction sown amongst a once-loving couple, the decades-long sacrifice of Merrill’s creative energies to the Ouija board, Lurie’s acute descriptions of the fabrics and colors of clothing worn by her subjects– and especially by the candor whereby Lurie paints a portrait that is both love letter and character assassination. Her tale is tender like a bruise, displays great affection and yawning disappointment, is as complicated as only old friends can be. One has the clear sense that the heartbreak of "Jimmy and David" was not only their own, but was felt by many. In the end, Lurie questions whether Merrill’s estimable body of work is worth the price he and those close to him paid in life. This is the harshest of critiques, plausible and relevant only because of the obvious quality of Lurie’s friendship, and the more damning therefore.

(more…)

Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping

04/30/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

housekeeping.jpg
There’s an excellent discussion of Marilynne Robinson’s first novel, Housekeeping (1980), going on right now at Reading Room, the New York Times blog which hosts two-week-long online panel discussions led by editors of its Book Review. Participants include Allen Gurganus, who, together with Robinson, will join us in January as we examine HISTORICAL FICTION and The Search for Truth. I read Housekeeping for the first time last week. What follows is how I found it.

Housekeeping tells the story of two sisters growing up in the isolated western town of Fingerbone. Madness runs in their family, and men are mostly absent but for the memories adumbrated by fading photographs, dried flowers, and unread letters. Their mother’s suicide has delivered young Ruth and Lucille to the care of her sister Sylvie, a drifter, whose "housekeeping" is a hodgepodge of inabilities to come to terms with domesticity. When the girls are still quite young, Sylvie’s child-like capacity for make-believe makes her an excellent playmate; they become close friends and confidantes. As the girls grow older, however, they become more aware of Sylvie’s aloofness from ordinary human society. They battle over an allegiance to Sylvie, on the one hand, and the pressures of societal norms, on the other. It’s the story of sisters torn apart by adolescence, overwhelmed by the complexities of an adult world, handicapped by a family history riddled with unexplained absences. Here’s Ruth, our narrator:

When did I become so unlike other people? Either it was when I followed Sylvie across the bridge, and the lake claimed us, or it was when my mother left me waiting for her, and established in me the habit of waiting and expectation which makes any present moment most significant for what it does not contain. Or it was at my conception.

This is a mysterious book, a fiction which feels as if it could be fact, a tale of a human family rendered exotic by tethers to an other-world. "All this is fact," Ruth tells us. "Fact explains nothing. On the contrary it is fact that requires explanation." Robinson was a poet before writing this novel, and it shows in lucid, elusive prose wedded to a story of life as apparition. It is a gem, and gem-like, reading like the spare and opulent product of considered elisions, yielding luminous glimpses.

Go to the Reading Room for the New York Times discussion of Housekeeping.
Buy the book.

Elizabeth Bishop Has Slimmed Down

03/15/2008  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

bishop_fsg.jpg

bishop_loa.jpg
You love everything written by Elizabeth Bishop. You own all the Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux editions, the trusty coral-colored Poems, the sea-foam-green Prose, and the Bible-sized Letters. You’ve got the tizzy-causing uncollected, Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box. But you want some new books, too, and your bookshelf is stuffed. Enter Library of America, to the rescue! Their ELIZABETH BISHOP: Poems, Prose, and Letters was released on Valentine’s Day, for you. This is the iPod of Bishop books, nearly a thousand pages, but only a quarter-inch thicker than the Complete Poems, thanks to LoA’s ultra-lightweight paper and dense, yet easy-to-read page layout. It has only a selection of the letters, true, but it does have this unlikely one to T.C. Wilson from 1938:

“I like Key West more and more. In the 1st place we have been gambling at Sloppy Joe’s and winning– L., $35, me, $22. And then we have been invited to a real cocktail party– all the water-colorists, ichthyologists, etc., etc., and a man who sold a story to Esquire a while ago, etc.

(more…)

©2014 Key West Literary Seminar | | Developed by: Magnetic Web Media