Archive | Featured

“Revisiting Vice Versa” by Dana Gioia

Of all the literary scenes

Saddest this sight to me:

The graves of little magazines

Who died to make verse free.


— Keith Preston

 

Dunstan 18It is impossible to tell the story of modern American poetry without examining the role of little magazines.… continue reading...

Posted in Featured, Home Page, This MonthComments (1)

James Merrill’s “The Friend of the Fourth Decade”

David Kalstone, a longtime professor of English at Rutgers University and, prior to that, at Harvard, was one of James Merrill’s closest friends. An expert on Sir Philip Sidney, Kalstone extensively studied 20th-century Americans as well; his second book Five Temperaments (1977) included a chapter on Merrill along with Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich and John Ashbery.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, Home Page, This MonthComments (0)

The Unstiflement of the Story: James Merrill’s “The Broken Home”

James Merrill3

“The Broken Home” is a sequence of seven sonnets that appeared in Merrill’s 1966 volume Nights and Days. The sonnets are connected by imagery, themes and autobiography, concerning, as they do, two central issues: the trauma of Merrill’s parents’ divorce and the poet’s own incomplete or “broken” childless home.continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (1)

James Merrill: “After Greece”

merrill2The young James Merrill first saw Greece in 1950 as part of a two-and-a-half-year long European tour, a trip he would later detail in his memoir A Different Person.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (2)

Regaining the Depths: James Merrill’s “Pearl”

James Merrill’s final book of poems, A Scattering of Salts, was written in his last years as his health was in steady decline after having been diagnosed with HIV.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (1)

James Merrill’s Geode Sonnet: Crystal Queer

Merrill scholarship has been undergoing a sea change, apparently mirroring a larger societal change. What among scholars even in the 1990s could but delicately speak its name, now does so frankly.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

“Losing the Marbles”: Merrill and Sophrosyne

James Merrill has given us the birth-myth of his poem, “Losing the Marbles.” After decades of spending his winter months in Athens, Greece, Merrill wintered instead in Key West, where, in 1985,

“… we were talking about memory lapses, a topic increasingly relevant to everyone present.

continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, Home Page, This MonthComments (0)

Techne in Textiles: Merrill’s “Investiture at Cecconi’s’”

In “Investiture at Cecconi’s,” James Merrill weaves a beautiful, sapphic fabric whose warp and weft intertwine chiaroscuro threads of fate, epiphany, beauty, and death as the expression of an initiation into the realm of living with and dying from AIDS.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (2)

“A Window Fiery-Mild”: The Role of Venice in The Book of Ephraim

The Book of Ephraim is a very “literary” work and perhaps never more so than in its Venetian sections (V and W). It is my contention that Section V (the letter V, not the Roman numeral) constitutes not only a major turning-point in the work, but also a significant declaration of Merrill’s literary aims.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (2)

Satire & Dysfunction: James Merrill’s “Family Week at Oracle Ranch”

“Family week at Oracle Ranch” is a portrait of dysfunction. It’s a poem written later in Merrill’s life, appearing in his final book, A Scattering of Salts, published by Knopf in 1995, the same year that Merrill died (February 6, 1995).… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)