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Arts & Society

Lowell’s Bedlam: John McCullough

July 6, 2011
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All acts of observation are partial and reveal as much about the observer as the observed.

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Lowell’s Bedlam: M G Stephens

July 5, 2011
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Alfred Corn’s play gives us an inner portrait of Robert Lowell that is not found in either the biography or the poetry itself.

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Poem of the Week: Geoffrey G. O’Brien

July 1, 2011
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[Suleiman]

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Caleb’s Passing

June 20, 2011
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The climax of the novel is so mawkish that its downright dismissal of the fraught implications of his “achievement” are extremely troubling.

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The Narratology of LOST: Loops and Privileged Positions

June 8, 2011
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LOST generates the final thrust of its narrative through even more privileged positions.

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The Beautiful Pool Is Empty

June 6, 2011
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Michael Montlack’s new poem collection Cool Limbo, for starters, looks really cool before it’s even opened.

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Stories Within Stories Within Stories Within…

May 23, 2011
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Okay! Fine. Tea Obreht is a veritable prodigy, and The Tiger’s Wife is uncannily good. Most (no, all) reviewers, as well as the likes of Colum McCann, TC Boyle, and Ann Patchett, say no less. But this novel is not just good for a twenty-five year old. Most of us would kill to kill it like she does.

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On My Pedagogical Approach (or something of the sort)

May 18, 2011
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Digress, digress, follow the nose of your longing.

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On Poetry and Loss, Part 2

May 10, 2011
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I sometimes think African American “cool” and Irish humor developed out of an awareness of the truth that life is not merciful.

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An Open Letter to James Franco

May 9, 2011
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Being in workshop with you isn’t going to make me famous, nor am I going to end up on Judd Apatow’s speed dial, no matter how good the on-screen chemistry between me and Seth Rogan might be…

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David Foster Wallace’s Open-Ended End Game

May 2, 2011
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Wallace over the years was most interested in narratives of suffering. Boredom (so closely linked to the problem of addiction, which he addressed in Infinite Jest) is one such type, and it takes center stage in his last book, an unfinished project published under the title The Pale King.

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On Poetry and Loss

April 27, 2011
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The handling of such overwhelming material is first and last, a question of form. Grief, loss, outrage, must be made portable.

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The Four Functions and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

April 20, 2011
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As Kafka said: “The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens; doubtless this is so, but it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.”

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Notes on reading David Foster Wallace’s short story “John Billy”

April 8, 2011
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We passed the jars around and unscrewed Minogue’s bootleg lids.
We was silent at our table, expected T. Rex dead, or at least twisted, traumatized, Nunn-struck.
‘Hi,’ he said.

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Indie Bookstores: Kramerbooks

April 4, 2011
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I indulge fantasies of ownership, lament the limited capacity of my wallet and shelf space to accommodate all the books I want. But I gird myself and leave with nothing, happy to have looked, touched, but saved myself again.

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Sentimentality vs. Feeling

March 29, 2011
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True feeling has the force of grace; sentimentality has the stench of morals. The word “should” and “must” cling to its fat cherubic legs. Half comprised of self regard, and the other half a mixture of cliche, the sentimental is close to the feigned regard of the funeral director: appropriate, and grave, but with one eye on the itemized bill.

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