Styron/Kerouac

Recently, I read Jack Kerouac’s novel, Tristessa, which didn’t take long but it was an unpleasant experience.  Not long after, I came across the following prediction in James West’s Conversations with William Styron from 1962: …

Sholem Aleichem-isms

It should never happen to you! Master of the universe, what have I done to deserve all this?  Some people have all the luck!  I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on a dog!  What happened?…

Dirda on Proust

Dear CK Michael Dirda is one of my favorite bibliophiles. I have several of his books, which, like Mustich‘s tome, I regularly browse in utmost delight. This morning in his Bound to Please, I came…

Not Flustered, Not Melancholy, Not Anxious

James Laughlin, Ezra Pound’s publisher, observed that “Pound’s translations of Confucian texts, beautiful as is their language, are seldom applauded by Sinologues.” But we common readers may appreciate such versions from the Analects, when  they…

Quit Complaining!

Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by the T’ang Poet Han-shanTranslated and with an Introduction by Burton Watson I first learned of Han-shan 30 years ago when reading Jack Kerouac’s novel, The Dharma Bums, which starred Japhy…

The Main Compass

First Thought: Conversations with Allen GinsbergEdited by Michael Schumacher  When it comes to interviews with Ginsberg, I prefer the larger and deeper Spontaneous Mind, which warrants a complete rereading.   But then I come across…

Some Works Are Greater Than Others

Edward W. Said, Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews Edited and with an Introduction by Gauri ViswanathanPantheon Books, 2001 Two writers who are well known for their championing of the literary canon are Harold Bloom and George…

Planting Companionship

Calamus  is one of the riches sections of Leaves of Grass!  I recognized  many poems worth rereading and sharing with others.  Some will be full memorized, others in part. Allen Ginsberg wondered why the Gay…