Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daniel Mendelson's Cavafy

I'm very excited about this book.  See why:

Che Fece…Il Gran Rifiuto


For certain people there comes a day
when they are called upon to say the great Yes
or the great No.  It’s clear at once who has
the Yes within him at the ready, which he will say

as he advances in honor, in great self-belief.
He who refuses has no second thoughts. Asked
again, he would repeat the No.  And nonetheless
that No—so right—defeats him all his life.

                        --C.P. Cavafy, trans. by Daniel Mendelsohn

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Profile of Poet-Critic Stephen Burt

Poet-critic Stephen Burt has a new book of essays, Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry. I wrote a profile about him and the book for my annual National Poetry Month roundup in Time Out New York. There are also three tiny reviews of new poetry books by Rae Armantrout, Matthew Dickman and Sasha Steensen.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Albums in Heavy Rotation

INNER URGE, Joe Henderson, Blue Note, 1964
COMPASS, Joshua Redman. Nonesuch, 2009
BACK EAST, Joshua Redman. Nonesuch, 2007
WAY OUT WEST, Sonny Rollins, Fantasy, 195?
HOLD TIME, M. Ward, Merge, 2009
CONNER OBERST, Conner Oberst, Merge, 2008
FOR ALL I CARE, The Bad Plus, Do The Math, 2008
PROG, The Bad Plus, Do The Math, 2007

Friday, March 13, 2009

Me on the NBCC

My term on the board of the National Book Critics Circle begins today. I'm very excited. I was also elected VP in charge of membership, so if you want to join, which you really ought to do, you'll be dealing with me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I've been listening to an obsene amount of jazz lately, just downloading like mad--Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Paul Motian, The Bad Plus, Joe Lovano, Chris Speed, Coung Vu, Jordi Rossy, Chris Cheek--and trying to write about it.