Posts made in November, 2012

Arranging The Books

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Archive | 10 comments

Arranging The Books

We have six bookcases downstairs. The two glass-fronted ones in the living room hold the old books, the ones with tarnished gilt on the covers. Some covers are leather, some are falling off. There are four different early editions of the works of Tobias Smollet, the writer my husband spent a good part of his career writing about and editing his works. The works of Thackeray, Fielding, Maria Edgeworth. The pages are stiff, delicate, spotted. These books reside in our house in the category of memory. We don’t  read them: they stand for literature. They honor the past. The other one in the...

Read More

Here, in Silence, More Soldiers Dead

Posted by on Nov 17, 2012 in Archive | 2 comments

Here, in Silence, More Soldiers Dead

We’re past the election, past Memorial Day. But we’re not past seeing the photos and names of dead soldiers roll by at the end of the PBS News Hour. How many years has it been? Night after night. It might be different ( a lot of things would be different, I suspect)  if we were all sacrificing equally, if all sorts of families—rich and poor, humble and prestigious—were losing their sons and daughters and moms and dads. But it’s preponderantly the poor kids from small towns. Or poor kids from the inner city. I wrote a poem about this. I mention the great World War I poets, Siegfried...

Read More

This is Not the End of the Book

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Archive | 1 comment

This is Not the End of the Book

I’ve been reading This is Not the End of the Book (Northwestern University Press, 2012), a lively and erudite conversation between writers Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carrière, both of whom have vast libraries. At the same time, I’m recalling a panel discussion that was held recently at Interlochen Arts Academy about the future of the book. The moderator begins with a question from a woman, to the effect of “Can I ever LOVE a digital book?” He says “No,” but then he goes on to say that the book, like a memento we bring home from a vacation, is a reminder of an experience we’ve...

Read More