Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I've been reading a lot of John Steinbeck. Almost done with EAST OF EDEN. I gather, from a tiny bit of reading on Steinbeck, that critics were unsure about his work during his lifetime. I can't quite see why, though I'll have to read up a bit more. He seems to me to be among the best novelists I can think of: poetic, lyrical, able to create believeable, engaging characters and to tackle the biggest of themes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Here's the link to an interview I did for PW with Nathaniel Mackey last week just after he'd won the American Book Award for poetry.

Happy T-Giving

Thursday, November 16, 2006

National Book Awards

Attended the National Book Award ceremony tonight. It was actually quite moving. Mark Doty introduced Adrianne Rich, who won their lifetime achievement type award. Then the New York Review of Books won an award. David Remnick of the New Yorker gave a moving tribute to the NYRB.

Nathanial Mackey won for poetry, which is something of a happy surprise. Gluck was the likely winner (I love Averno and would haved been happy if she won, though she by no means needed the prize), and there was also the young Ben Lerner among the finalists. I think Mackey's win is a wonderful step for experimental writing, and should draw some much-deserved attention to Mackey's career.

Richard Powers won for fiction, which was not a surprise.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I've got to stop telling folks to check things out.

Reading Steinbeck--THE WAYWARD BUS about a family that runs a sort of truck stop and bus station in the middle of nowhere california. Don't know what happens yet. But I like Steinbeck very much. His prose is simple, but still ornimented where it needs to be, full of metaphors, and forceful. Something makes me want to compare him to Hemingway and to say that I'm enjoying him more than Hemingway. I have this idea that Hemingway had to work very hard to make writing come out and that Steinbeck was someone who just issued prose. That's not based on anything, just a notion I have from reading them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

When you have a moment, please check out the new issue of THE BROOKLYN RAIL (available online, and in old-fashioned print around NY) in which I've got a poem.

Monday, November 06, 2006

*Please check out the new issue of LA PETITE ZINE (, with a long poem by me, and great poems by friends Stefania Heim, Thomas Hummel, and Jasper Bernes, as well as wonderful poems by others.

*Reading INTO THE HEART OF BORNEO by Redmond O'Hanlon, a funny travel book about two Englishman's journey into Borneo. Along with the author, poet James Fenten goes along on the trip. I'm also reading through Fenton's new SELECTED POEMS, out last month from FSG. Fenton is an important poet in England, who writes cleverly and movingly about war, among other things.

*Sat on a panel this weekend for CLMP about poetry reviewing, along with Herb Leibowitz of Parnassus and Albert Mobelio of Bookforum. I hope we gave the attendees something useful. It was certainly fun for me to talk that much about reviewing, which has become an increasingly important part of my writing life, and a way to read better and better. It's a practice I recommend highly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006