“Perhaps the best lesson of books is not to venerate them — or at least never to hold them in higher esteem than our own faculties, our own experience, our own peers, our own dialogues.” — Christina Nehring

Jul 2, 2004
Category: Words

The Plot Against America

I’m excited to learn that Roth is melding his recent interests in mid-century American history with the more experimental projects of the late-80s and early-90s — Operation Shylock, in particular.

Jun 18, 2004
Category: Words

Medium Rare

Jack Neely, everyone’s favorite chronicler of life in Knoxville, has a nice piece in this week’s issue of the Metro Pulse about his recent efforts to sell some old books. It’s a great glimpse into the lives of book lovers and the dealers who support their habits, with nary a mention of Borders or Barnes and Nobles in sight.

Jun 14, 2004
Category: Words


Williams “without poetry.” That can’t be good.

May 18, 2004
Category: Drama, Words


I’m almost finished Dreamer, Charles Johnson’s novel about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s struggles in Chicago in 1966, and it’s amazing — the finest novel I’ve read in months. (Dreamer wants to become part of my stalled dissertation; I have, as yet, managed to fight that urge.)

May 17, 2004
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Bartok’s Fifth String Quarter

Several years ago, in a seminar on modern and postmodern lit, I wrote a fun paper on Ezra Pound’s music criticism. In particular, I was interested in Pound’s admiration for Bartok’s String Quartet #5.

May 9, 2004
Category: Music, Poetry, Song of the Moment, Words

Vendler and Stevens

Poet/scholar Helen Vendler, the 2004 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, last night gave her address, “The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar,” which is as inspiring a defense of the arts as you’re likely to read.

May 7, 2004
Category: Poetry, Words

In the Strangest of Places

What a pleasant surprise to stumble into some nice bits of writing in, of all places, Stereophile magazine.

Apr 24, 2004
Category: Music, Words

Little Children

So many of Perrotta’s observations of suburban life are so spot-on — I especially like the way that his lead characters absolutely adore their children while still resenting somewhat the life-changes they’ve caused — but the narrative voice never quite transcends the banality of the lives it is documenting. Maybe that’s the point. I doubt it.

Apr 22, 2004
Category: Book Reviews, Words

The First Long Pauses Giveaway

Yesterday I finally got my hands on the first issue of the new Beyond, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with it.

Mar 30, 2004
Category: Words