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On Poetry: For this Poet, Words Provide the Inspiration

Friday, March 27, 2015

The question I’m most frequently asked as a poet, one I mused on in my December column, is “Why doesn’t that rhyme?” In this column, I’ll look, at least to begin with, at the second most frequently asked: “Where do you get your inspiration?” Well, fact is, I’m not quite sure I believe in inspiration. At least I have surely never believed some higher power had singled me out as …

Faith, Evil and Penance: Jeffrey Lent’s New Novel Revisits Post-Civil War Era

Friday, March 27, 2015

There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons — That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes — — Emily Dickinson A small religious group started by a charismatic woman is at the heart of Jeffrey Lent’s new novel, A Slant of Light. And there’s a double homicide that sets events in motion …

With ‘Ongoingness,’ Sarah Manguso Reflects on Recording Her Life

Friday, March 27, 2015

Here’s the question at the heart of Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf: 98 pages, $20): How does a writer record his or her experiences and live them at the same time? Sitting in the stillness of her Silver Lake, Los Angeles, living room, wearing a black dress identical to …

Book Notes: Thetford Author Brings a Fable Back Into Print

Friday, February 13, 2015

Once upon a time, before many of us were living so much in cyberspace, Thetford author Dean Whitlock wrote a fable imagining the origin of the kite for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. And while he …

On Prose: A Short Story Can, and Should, Contain a Big Moment

Friday, February 13, 2015

My friend Hortense Calisher could never resist a good aphorism, particularly if she could add to it her own humorous spin. And so, when young writers asked for a useful definition of the short story, she would hesitate, smile mischievously, then bring it out: “A story is a …

Sequel to a Masterpiece

Friday, February 13, 2015

I first encountered Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade. Like so many others, I was struck not just by the book’s vivid narrative of racial justice, but also by its nuance: The inner life of …

An Open Book

Saturday, February 7, 2015

At 96, Emma Mosher has had enough stuff thrown at her by life to fill a novel, maybe two novels. Mosher was married at 18, had six children, saw the marriage fail, raised the kids by herself for …

Has America Killed Off Satire and Turned Into a Spoof of Itself?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Did postmodernism kill literary satire? I’ve been wondering about this in the wake of the terror attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, known for its caricatures of the prophet Muhammad; one appears on the cover of the first issue after the attack, brandishing a placard that …

Book Notes: New Works by Local Authors and Readings Scheduled, Including Bookstock 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Best-selling author John Vaillant will be talking about his new novel, The Jaguar’s Children, on Saturday afternoon at Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library. Vaillant, who lives in Vancouver, B.C., is the son of Woodstock resident Nan Bourne. He …

Colleen McCullough, Author of ‘The Thorn Birds,’ Dies at 77

Friday, January 30, 2015

Colleen McCullough, the Australian author of the best-selling novel The Thorn Birds, an epic story of illicit love in the outback that became one of the most successful television miniseries ever, died Thursday at a hospital on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. She was 77. The cause …

When Comics and Galaxies Collide

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Star Wars is coming home. Not at the movies, but in the comics. On Jan. 14, Marvel released Star Wars No. 1 , a new series set right after the first movie, the one released in 1977 (which …

Piermont Photographs Are a Love Letter to a Time and Place

Saturday, January 17, 2015

In 2012, M.L. Gitchel, known to her friends as Mel, decided she wanted to do something to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Piermont town, which was then two years away. Some people might bake a …

If There’s Sound Reason, It’s OK to Rhyme, but Don’t Push It

Friday, January 16, 2015

I have by now visited just shy of 100 Vermont community libraries to talk about my chosen art, this in accord with the aim I announced on being installed in 2011 as the state’s poet laureate. If, in that span, there is one issue I have encountered more …