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Writing on the wall November 9, 2009: White space criss-crossed yesterday’s New York Times opinion page like mortar. Uneven in length and width, stanzas gave the impression of crumbling brick. Poem titles appeared painted on, recalling [...] by

literary gatherings: a schmoozer’s guide November 3, 2009: The literati are like aliens. Some are cute. Some are hostile. All talk funny, and all require diplomatic outreach. (Daniel Nester recently described this phenomenon in his riotous, depressing [...] by

Nabokov trundles back up the lane October 30, 2009: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that writers living under rocks are doing unusually well these days. David Foster Wallace’s Pale King, William Styron’s The Suicide [...] by

Vendler, vidi, vici October 22, 2009: In his introduction to Something Understood—the recent volume of poems and essays honoring critic Helen Vendler—Stephen Burt notes how her readings of poetry lead her back to the poets [...] by

And how should I begin? October 14, 2009: In the beginning of Paradise Lost, Milton paints and points and dallies, filling eight lines with sorrow and hope and mountains and fruit, disobeying the strictures of English grammar in favor of the [...] by

Poetry is dead! Long live poetry! October 9, 2009: Writers keep writing about the end of writing. The English department is declining. Comparative literature has died. Book reviews? Print journalism? Poetry? There’s just one problem: no one gets [...] by

In memoriam: William Safire, a gem of a wordsmith September 29, 2009: Was William Safire a poet? No. He was a Nixon speechwriter, a conservative pundit, a four-time novelist, and a funny, fastidious observer of English usage. But can we detect his influence, however [...] by

“The” “age” “of” “genius” September 25, 2009: In a recent Slate article, Ron Rosenbaum explores uses and abuses of the word “genius,” suggesting: Maybe genius has been, if not democratized, more widely and thinly distributed, rather than [...] by

Keats lives! (for a while) September 18, 2009: Poor fellow! His was an untoward fate:— ‘Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, Should let itself be snuffed out by an Article. —Lord Byron Keats didn’t actually die because of a [...] by