Category Archives: book review

Reading Clarel During the Pandemic

Reading Herman Melville’s Clarel, the longest poem written by an American, was a beautiful meditation for me, and did not take long. Melville’s prose is better than his poetry, although one could argue his prose is poetry. But the curious … Continue reading

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Is Melville’s Pierre a “Kraken” novel?

I have read for the second time Melville’s novel Pierre or the Ambiguities, this time through the lens of the “Kraken” edition, a creation of the Melville scholar and biographer Hershel Parker with illustrations by Maurice Sendak.* A note of … Continue reading

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Rimbaud and de Kooning

Arriving from always, you’ll go away everywhere. —Rimbaud We are modern. We are so because Rimbaud commanded us to be. —Ashbery It is one of those curious accidents (but are they really accidents?) that I have resumed my de Kooning … Continue reading

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Carl Andre, Poet

Carl Andre is famous for his sculpture but anyone who takes an interest in his work soon discovers that he is a writer as well. One suspects his career could have gone either way. But when the art took off … Continue reading

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On Ashbery’s A Wave

John Ashbery’s A Wave is an itch I would scratch if I could. I am drawn to this book, out of all of Ashbery’s books, time and again, drawn to the very mystery of its attraction. True it does contain the … Continue reading

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Michael Brodsky: Writing as Exposure

The individual who has not risked his life may well be recognized as a person, but he has not attained to the truth of this recognition as an independent self-consciousness. —Hegel …. if you go on struggling to name…. you … Continue reading

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Dewey Out Loud

If it weren’t for the memory of the friend who gave me a copy of John Dewey’s Art as Experience I probably would not have worked all the way through it.

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ee cummings fora $

Why should Cummings’ poetry be a somewhat guilty pleasure for me?

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Karin Roffman On the Young John Ashbery

In the summer of 1992 while traveling out west I lingered in Austin Texas long enough to go to a club and see a rock band called the True Believers.

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Paul Auster’s 4321

  4 In an essay from the mid-1970’s on the poet Charles Reznikoff, Paul Auster wrote of the poet’s ability to choose the exact detail that will say everything and thereby allow as much as possible to remain unsaid. This … Continue reading

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