Marge Piercy, “Girl in white” Don’t think because her petal thighs leap and her slight breasts flatten against your chest that you warm her alligator mind. In August her hand of snow rests on your back. Follow her through the mirror. My wan sister. Love is a trap that would tear her like a rabbit.
The Figured Wheel, by Robert Pinsky The figured wheel rolls through shopping malls and prisons, Over farms, small and immense, and the rotten little downtowns. Covered with symbols, it mills everything alive and grinds The remains of the dead in the cemeteries, in unmarked graves and oceans. Sluiced by salt water and fresh, by pure and contaminated rivers, By snow […]
…it might as well be this passage from late in the book, when Ahab and Starbuck almost give up their chase for the whale so that they can look “into a human eye” again. Memories of family, love and a sane life almost convinces Ahab, but the effort fails, and the obsession continues: Starbuck saw the old man; saw him, […]
Back when I used to do a lot of readings, I would start out by sharing somebody else’s work, and I realize that I should do the equivalent of that with the release of my book of stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old. The person that comes to mind is the late William Trevor, whose Last Stories was […]
My book of short stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, is now available. My essay on the book is here. Order it directly from the publisher, Square, Small Press Distribution, and Amazon. Ebook links here. Please consider ordering directly from the publisher or Square. Each of the twelve stories is told by an unnamed narrator, among them a […]
There are a lot of lonely people out there, and with my collection of stories The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old coming out on Monday (you can order it directly from the publisher, Square, Small Press Distribution, and Amazon), I want to write for a moment about why I devoted an entire book to them. Each of the twelve […]
Back when my long Civil War poem To the House of the Sun first came out in 2015, I sent a copy to somebody that’s pretty well-known in the field—if a field it is—of those who popularize mythology, on TV and elsewhere. (If I say much more somebody might figure out who I mean, and that’s not what I mean […]
Emily Dickinson, #975 The Mountain sat upon the Plain In his tremendous Chair – His observation omnifold, His inquest, everywhere – The Seasons played around his knees Like Children round a sire – Grandfather of the Days is He Of Dawn, the Ancestor – Wallace Stevens, “How to Live. What to Do” Last evening the moon rose above this rock […]
#1142 The Props assist the House Until the House is built And then the Props withdraw And adequate, erect, The House support itself And cease to recollect The Augur and the Carpenter – Just such a retrospect Hath the perfected Life – A Past of Plank and Nail And slowness – then the scaffolds drop Affirming it a Soul –
Flannery O’Connor responds to questions from academics and their students about her short stories: Week before last I went to Wesleyan and read “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” After it I went to one of the classes where I was asked questions. There were a couple of young teachers there and one of them, an earnest type, started […]
Great news from Pelekinesis Books: next June they will publish my story collection, The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old. You can read more about the book here, as well as sign up for further updates as the release date nears.
Here are some bits on writing, nature, and anonymous everyday life from Wallace Stevens, that quiet murmur of American poetry who may well outlast nearly everybody. The following are from his letters and journals, from 1898 to 1955, only a few months before his death at seventy-five. That a poet so technically isolated (and gladly so) from all the clichés […]