In April 2003, I was invited to the Edward de Vere Studies Conference, held annually at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, to speak about the history of the coverage of the Shakespeare authorship question over a span of 150 years in the pages of the New York Times.
No artist is solely responsible for a work of art. Every creative work relies on cultural history, collaboration, and the creative contribution of its audience. Harold Bloom, in declining health, is the subject of discussion these days. Not always a fond subject.
The Blue Orchard, Jackson Taylors first novel, is the story of an indomitable woman with a nature that seems to defy deforming pressures. If it sounds a bit like it has affinities with Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter, one is not far off the mark.
Painter, Installation Artist, Writer, Andrea Scrima has written a work of fiction. Dreamlike Marquezian sequences float and weave through the eyes of a woman in the wake of her fathers death, the shadow of her mothers passing.
In his own words, Milo Burke, the quasi-anti-hero of Sam Lipsytes novel, The Ask, is A man with many privileges and zero skills. An impotent and spineless everyman, Milo is reflected time and again in the characters he encounters throughout The Ask, widening his despair and our own.
A Jesse Ball magic mystery tour in a land of Calvinos fables? With zany temporal shifts and winsome absurdities, Light Boxes, Shane Joness refractive first book, dispatches readers on just such a journey. Lyrical flights and evocative metaphors render the prose in poetic terms. In The Failure Six, Jones methodically dispenses with storytelling, surrendering the text to one strange and beautiful image after another
The characters in Justin Taylors first book of fiction, a collection of 16 short stories entitled Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, are plagued by the familiar maladies of modern Americas youth. While most of these stories dont break new ground in terms of subject matter, they are often cringingly relatable and, in a few instances, shine with tenderness, humor, and genuine insight.
Several months ago, Robin Black was featured in the New York Times Magazines Lives column, relating her brush with reality TV. The extremely disheveled outward appearance of her house made it a candidate for a show she jokingly calls Your Neighbors Must Really Hate You.
Theres nary a word wasted in these mini tours-de-force by Kay Ryan, our current national Poet Laureate. Beginning with poems from 1965, this book presents a lifetimes work and it is an unqualified success.