Books

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 …

Remembering Robert Stone, Novelist Apart

Friday, January 16, 2015

Robert Stone was not a joiner. This might be what I admired about him most. During the 1950s, while living in Manhattan, he moved around the edges of the Beat scene (his wife, Janice, worked at the Seven …

Looking Back at Vietnam; Veterans in Dartmouth’s Class of 1964 Address War in Essays 

Friday, January 16, 2015

While writing about William Brewster “Bruce” Nickerson for Dartmouth Veterans: Vietnam Perspectives, Sage Dunlap Chase couldn’t help wondering what her former sweetheart would say about the era had he lived to tell the tale. “Bruce was very earnest …

The Best Gift? When a Friend Recommends A Great Read

Thursday, January 1, 2015

As a Los Angeles-based business reporter, I’ve always boarded eastbound flights with a shoulder bag of documents to review before landing. Preparing for intense interviews is akin to cramming for exams. Return flights? Those are an entirely different matter. I want a novel or engrossing biography, preferably one …

Three Decades in Print: Chelsea Green Publishing Revels in Its Independence

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thirty years ago, Ian and Margo Baldwin, transplants from Brooklyn, started a small publishing company on Chelsea’s South Green. Very small, as in the two of them. Like other publishers who go into business waving an idealistic flag, …

2014 in Review: The Commonplace Was a Common Thread in the Year’s Books

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What was the upshot of my year in reading, the ideas, the through lines that most stirred or provoked me in 2014? The dominant thread was what we might call that of common experience, work that finds significance …

Publisher Releases Torture Report

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Washington, D.C. — What better to give someone this holiday season than a paperback copy of the Senate’s report on the U.S. government’s torture practices. Wait, what now? Well, we’re not exactly sure what people are planning to do with the Senate Torture Report, but it appears that …

Fan Fiction Begets Publishing Success

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It starts with a familiar name, but then takes a turn. Jay Gatsby actually faked his death, and is now reunited with Daisy. Scandal’s Olivia Pope is somehow working on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. And a member of the boy band One Direction is falling in love on …

Danish ‘Cartoon Crisis’ Editor Reflects in Book

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Amid the murder threats and security alerts and thrown axes, Flemming Rose is not, he says, confrontational by nature. Rose is best known as the Danish newspaper editor who — in reaction to what he saw as increasing self-censorship by visual and verbal artists — nearly a decade …

Kirk Douglas Publishes Poetry Book

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kirk Douglas may be one of the biggest actors of his era, with starring roles in 1960’s Spartacus, 1949’s Champion and 1951’s Ace in the Hole. But on a recent crisp morning, he was having a grand time simply reciting his poetry by heart for an audience of …

A Legacy In Letters and on the Land

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It’s Nov. 21, 2014, about 10 a.m., and I’m heading up the Bill Hill trail in Thetford Center. The morning has been cold and squally, and right now fat snowflakes ride ripples of the shifting wind, settling onto …