Surfacing


A beautiful book. Perhaps not as rapturously good as the Washington Post‘s review, but beautiful. A poet’s book, as befitting a collection of essays by a poet.

The tent pole pieces, which appear at the beginning (making the latter third a tad disappointing), are fabulous. They are both about visits to archaeological sites of Stone Age settlements. One is in Alaska and the results are inspiring local people to rediscover their cultural history. The other is in the Orkney Islands and is about to be destroyed by erosion. If nothing else, it makes you want to visit a dig site.

Who Will Remember?


This article was almost certainly inspired by Harold Bloom’s death (which I someone didn’t read about until several days after it happened. But it’s something I keep thinking about.

Who will read Harold Bloom in ten years? It’s a repeat of the question I asked after discovering Gore Vidal a few years after his death; and after Christopher Hitchens died. My favorite contemporary poets, too. Will their books even get a second printing?

This Thing Of Turning Old Books Into Journals Or Handbags Need To Stop


I was walking through a festival in Alexandria when I saw a book that caught my eye.

Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare.

This was the book that made his fortune and allowed him to become a full time man of letters. I was thrilled.

But no. It’s a blank journal. The old book (it must have been from the thirties or twenties, at least) has been eviscerated and the words of an important figure of the English Romantic movement, a friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge, thrown out to make room for whatever insipid thoughts contemporary humanity sees fit to record.

A bad bargain.

Good Day – Book Art & Contemporary Political Art


I went into the office on a Sunday because I simply couldn’t believe that over the course of four and a half day holiday weekend I hadn’t received any work emails (I hadn’t but then again, our systems were being spotty and people claimed to have tried to send me documents).

Upon discovering that my fears were groundless and having already found parking downtown, I decided to spend a little flaneur time.

First, the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The museum was not only free that day but featured a Book Art Festival, which is a fancy way of saying that young, creative types set up tables with their zines and chapbooks and letterpress creations.

Naturally, I bought five books. One of those books was a book of art reproductions created in the wake of Trump’s election which leads to my next fortuitous encounter.

While walking to Chinatown in search of noodles, I passed by a sign that pointed through a door and up some stairs to the Center for Contemporary Political Art.

Night Sky With Exit Wounds


This was book and Vuong were very heavily hyped (if, like me, you exist in the world of regular poetry readers and consumers of poetry news) and my first reaction was, ‘wow.’

I still loved it upon a second reaction, but you can guess that it was not as much.

Perhaps the best poems set too high of a bar and going from great to merely very good was a disappointment (and not fair to Vuong’s work, but there it is).