• Poetry
  • One is Cool, and One is Overheated

    Sharon Olds and Elizabeth Bishop Due to my ongoing interest in any and all times Bishopian… This excerpt is from a review by Moira Richards at Rattle of Dancing at the Devil’s Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics and the Erotic by Alicia Suskin Ostriker: In another essay, about the work of Elizabeth Bishop and Sharon […]

  • Poetry
  • Breath Me, Light

    Behind Perfume, Only Solitude Ink will come. Lamp lung breathes light at the edge of an idea. The edge an idea, also the door of the room that silence opens. The pen sighs, a lens for the shut-in light. Breathe me, light. Have the idea to have me. –Liz Waldner I was introduced to Waldner’s […]

  • Poetry
  • Somewhere a Nation Moves

    Rehearsals for the New Order The courthouse is empty now ablaze with holly, wreathed and ribboned for the season, standing firm against a thrill of breezes, the grinding arcs of stars, grackles crazed and dizzying the turret, the drunken hair of winter gardens at its feet, while inside great mahogany walls, no judge presides, no […]

  • Wisdom
  • In the Hive, and Out

    Human beings are in some ways like bees. We evolved to live in intensely social groups, and we don’t do as well when freed from hives. Nicholas Kristof included this quote from Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis in his recent column in the New York Times. Entitled “Our Basic Human Pleasures: Food, Sex […]

  • Poetry
  • Poetry Tracking

    How much can you know about a movie, a book, a poem from a snippet, be it a trailer, the first page, the first few lines? Joan Houlihan in Contemporary Poetry Review makes the case that the quality of a poet’s work can be determined with some accuracy by “previewing” a poem’s first few lines. […]

  • Ideas
  • Boredom and Bliss

    The essay on the last page of the Sunday Times Book Review by Jennifer Schuessler this week is provocative. Her topic: Boredom. Ah, that dreaded word. Full of moral implications. Antithetical to everything I learned (and probably inherited through epigenetics) from my pioneer heritage. You never left yourself get bored, and you never admit if […]

  • Poetry
  • Warming Up to the Hum

    John Markoff, technology journalist at the New York Times, invited Gary Snyder to write about technology, in this case his Macintosh computer. Says Markoff, “Mr. Snyder might not seem the best person to ask to reflect on the milestones of the digital age. He is 79 and lives in the Sierra foothills in Northern California…Word […]

  • Books
  • Rethinking Koestler’s World

    Arthur Koestler, 1905-1983 Anne Applebaum has written a superb review of the newly released biography, Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, by Michael Scammell, in the New York Review of Books. Koestler’s writings, particularly Darkness at Noon and The Sleepwalkers, had an enormous influence on me during my adolescence. He seemed […]

  • Wisdom
  • Keeping The Edge On

    Snow, and part of a shoe If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in […]

  • Poetry
  • Experiencing the Experience

    That the Science of Cartography Is Limited —and not simply by the fact that this shading of forest cannot show the fragrance of balsam, the gloom of cypresses is what I wish to prove. When you and I were first in love we drove to the borders of Connacht and entered a wood there. Look […]