Isn't It Romantic to Be a Romantic, at Least Once a Year?

Don’t hate me because I’m a romantic. Pity me, maybe. I’m a hopeless case, after all. Consider this: While other people were sitting around the pool last summer, page-turning their way through the latest John Grisham thriller, I could be found nosing into Li-Young Lee’s new book of poetry, one line at a time. Or worse — composing… Continue reading Isn't It Romantic to Be a Romantic, at Least Once a Year?

Have a Ball! Or, How to Stay Warm, Avoid Crowds, and Host Your Own Inauguration Celebration

In case you haven’t heard, the 56th Presidential Inauguration is scheduled to take place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, on January 20. Apparently, lots of your countrymen have heard about it: Some estimates predict that upwards of 2 million people are going to attend the event, reportedly one of the largest turnouts for the ceremony… Continue reading Have a Ball! Or, How to Stay Warm, Avoid Crowds, and Host Your Own Inauguration Celebration

The Enduring Allure of Sleepy Hollow

Every year at about this time (give or take a few weeks), I take a little trip to one of my favorite haunts. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get there. I simply stroll over to the bookshelf, pull down a familiar, faded volume, thumb through a few pages (which lay back with ease at… Continue reading The Enduring Allure of Sleepy Hollow

The Use of Used Bookstores

I prefer used books. There, I said it. Now, I love a new pair of shoes, even though they often require enduring a short, uncomfortable breaking-in period. And although I have triumphed upon finding a distinctive shirt or sportcoat at a gaudy vintage clothing store, I haven’t had the urge to shop that way in more than 10… Continue reading The Use of Used Bookstores

Reviving Oppenheimer

I was turned on to the poems of Joel Oppenheimer right out of college, and I have turned back to them time after time — for inspiration, for amusement, for the heck of it  — every year since. Oppenheimer, who will have been dead 20 years this October, was an important figure in late 20th Century literary circles,… Continue reading Reviving Oppenheimer

Mencken's Days Are Here Again

On September 12, the writer H. L. Mencken would be 128 years old. That’s not a particularly noteworthy or auspicious anniversary, I realize. I mention it only because it is around this date that I once again venture over to the shelf, pull down one of his books, and amuse myself. (This is also the time of… Continue reading Mencken's Days Are Here Again

There's Something About Fireflies

As summer nears its unofficial end, at least here in the Mid-Atlantic where I live, I have begun to notice signs that things are about to change. For instance, this morning a dozen or more golden and brown leaves appeared on the hood of my car. The noonday sun doesn’t stand directly overhead anymore and… Continue reading There's Something About Fireflies

So Little Poetry in Poetry

I recently picked up several copies of Poetry magazine, the grand old dame of American poesie. I used to read the magazine whenever I could, with great interest and delight, always with the hope of finding some inspiration and, perhaps, even some glimmering aspiration. And why not? The list of contributors over its 90-plus-year history serves… Continue reading So Little Poetry in Poetry

Class Clown Sent to the Principal's Office

When I heard the news last week I thought, oh boy. Sad, sad news about a happy, hippy, funny guy. RIP, George Carlin. I once saw him live, at the old (beautiful, ornate) Lyric theater in Baltimore. The opening act was Leon Redbone and a small combo. What a night! I never laughed so hard… Continue reading Class Clown Sent to the Principal's Office

The Other Poet Williams

A recent discovery for me (well, admittedly, one more akin to Columbus’s “discovery” than Mme. Curie’s) is the poet/ publisher/photographer/provocateur Jonathan Williams. Although I had long known about Williams and was aware of his publishing company, The Jargon Society, which produced books for writers I admire (Joel Oppenheimer, for one) I had never actually read anything… Continue reading The Other Poet Williams