Commentaries

order my book

The official publication date for my new book, Counter-Revolution of the Word, is March 5, 2008, but books ordered in advance will be shipped on February 1. Here is an order form. You can also buy a copy, of course, on Amazon.

Wideman homecoming

John Edgar Wideman visited KWH in April of 2000. He'd been away from Penn quite a while and relations between John and Penn had been--for various reasons--a bit frosty, despite continued admiration for John from long-time Penn people such as Peter Conn. My students and I were ga-ga over John's then-new book, Two Cities, which I've re-read twice since '00 and still think is one of the best postwar U.S. novels. I highly recommend it. So John's return to Penn was a homecoming of sorts, a chance for many of us to say directly to him how much we value him and missed having him a part of the Penn scene. He was touched. The Penn baseball cap my students gave him he wore around all the next day. At one of the receptions we held at 3805 Locust for him, nearly all the basketball players and the coach, Fran Dunphy, showed up and gathered round him to hear stories of the Penn team of the early to mid-60s.

Last night we released a new Writers House podcast which features a 20-minute excerpt from our conversation with John from that 2000 visit. Here is the link directly to the podcast mp3.

And here's the link to the whole visit.

no sorties on unprofitable territory

"Hillyer says it can’t be varied; but that’s because he can’t think of any way to vary it."

William Carlos Williams said that; he was talking about the iamb in the 1950s.

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

“Let our iambs be of granite," Robert Hillyer warned a fellow traditionalist who was wavering, "and we need not heed the pulpwood words of our bedevilers.” And (in the same letter): "[F]orget the foes of poetry. It is better to make our turrets impregnable than to make sorties on unprofitable territory."

new podcast on holocaust testimonies

In 2001 I invited Geoffrey Hartman to speak at the Writers House about video testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Hartman was one of the founders and has been the long-time director of the Fortunoff Video Archive of Holocaust Testimony at Yale's Sterling Library, an archive that I urge you to see if you're ever passing through New Haven. We've created a web page that gives a good deal of information about the event, with links to audio mp3's of the whole presentation.

And today I released a new Kelly Writers House podcast featuring a 22-minute excerpt from the program. (Thanks to Andy White who did the editing.) Listen to the podcast here.

heaven can wait


PoemTalk #2, the second show in our new podcast series, is officially out on Monday, but here's a sneak preview. It's a discussion of Adrienne Rich's poem "Wait," which she read at the Kelly Writers House in 2005.