Tag Archives: Herman Melville

A Note on Herman Melville, Gertrude Stein and John Ashbery

When the substance is gone, men cling to the shadow—Melville, Pierre First all beauty…. is denied and then all beauty…. is accepted—Stein, Composition as Explanation There is nothing to do except observe the horizon,the only one, that seems to want … Continue reading

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Gombrowicz and Melville: Twilight

I’ve written about the twilight world being the liminal space where poetry flourishes in relation to the poetry of John Ashbery and Alfred Corn and to the novels of Michael Brodsky. Today I’d like to give another example, this time … Continue reading

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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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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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Sometimes You’re the Bug

I’ve been singing The Bug while I do my work lately. It started with needing to replace a piece of trim on the carriage house (fancy word for garage). Uncovering one piece of wasted wood revealed another, and then others. … Continue reading

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