In early February of 1962, poet Ted Berrigan, age twenty-seven and virtually unpublished, drove from New York to New Orleans to visit his friend Dick Gallup, a student at Tulane. (They had met in Oklahoma. The two of them, along with Joe Brainard and Ron Padgett, would eventually be affectionately
"I hate 'classical music': not the thing but the name," writes Alex Ross in the opening chapter of his new book, Listen to This. "It traps a tenaciously living art in a theme park of the past. It cancels out the possibility that music in the spirit of Beethoven could still be created today . . . [
What do you call a revival that never ends? Over the past two decades, publishers have added three biographies of H. L. Mencken—Mencken: A Life by Fred Hobson, The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken by Terry Teachout, and Mencken: The American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers—to the three or
The jacket copy of Leslie Brody's new biography Irrepressible will tell you that Jessica Mitford, or Decca, as she was nicknamed, was "yoked to every important event for nearly all of the twentieth century." This is a bit much, but it's true that Mitford witnessed some of the century's major events.
The French poet Paul Valéry (1871-1945) once said that he could never write a novel because sooner or later he would find himself setting down such a sentence as "The marquise went out at five o'clock." Why did the marquise leave at five? he wondered. Why not at six or seven? In fact, why did she
I spent my late teens and early twenties in the orbit of the Riot Grrrl movement, a '90s third-wave-feminist punk subculture that spat out the image of girlhood in raw experiments in political activism, music, art, and self-invention. I've only recently come to accept the term "Riot Grrrl" as the
In 1974, two years (or two years and one week, to be more precise) before Georges Perec initiated Life: A User's Manual, his 700-page magnum opus to the fictional 11 rue Simon-Crubellier, the Oulipian mathematician dedicated a rainy, October weekend to musing in Paris's real-life Place Saint-Sulpice.
Maybe for you it was the old man with the bundle of sticks on his back, or the monkey with the halo and the floating numbers, or the two businessmen, one on fire, shaking hands. For me it was the woman on the frozen pond. I looked at the cover of Joni Mitchell's Hejira a lot when I was sixteen years
Racial identity and aesthetics may not spell fun to most, and poems about those topics even less so. But a strong sense of play infuses Thomas Sayers Ellis's Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems. This is a poet who can use the same word eight times in a single stanza without sounding redundant: "coloring
It is no accident that the prologue to David Grossman's new novel, To the End of the Land, takes place in a fever ward. As the stories unfold, the reader discovers that fever is not just a symptom of physical illness. It becomes a description of the existential state of Israel.