person_pin Essay Archives

Money for Old Rope: A Prelude to Writing in the Digital Age

Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Fleming, A Review

Issue No. 153 ~ February, 2010

Fleming tells us that contrary to what we might think, Washington's presidency was no "love feast." ...There were many Anti-Federalists who did not like Washington, fearing he was setting himself up to be a king. Rabble-rousers and ideological fanatics abounded then as they do now, making as much trouble for Washington as possible. He and Martha kept quiet and kept their dignity amid the myriad troubles that fate inflicted upon them.

Jayne Anne Phillips Rocks: A Reader’s Retrospective

Issue No. 149 ~ October, 2009

The daughters Jayne Anne Phillips described were raised by unhappy housewives, but the mass media, and legions of women a few years older who'd marched in the streets, told these daughters they didn't have to be unhappy housewives. This was my generation. Yet finding our own way, postponing marriage and children as we set our sights on personal goals, was a new plan;...

On Becoming a Poet: A Brief Memoir

Issue No. 144 ~ May, 2009

"...If a child is deprived of normal physical bonding prior to language acquisition, which increases exponentially somewhere around the age of two, I think language can become the chief means by which such a child seeks bonding. If true, it makes sense that poets spend the rest of their lives trying to express in words what they could not gain in touch and comfort. At the least, I think this holds true for me..."

A writer revived

Issue No. 141 ~ February, 2009

"The only time I saw Dick Yates without his jacket was a freezing winter night when I took a bag of groceries to his barren, one-room apartment on Commonwealth Avenue...The room was lit by the eerie blue flames of a gas stove and heated by an oven whose door was open. With his sallow face and gray beard, his arms folded over his chest, his thin, gangly body hunched against the cold, he seemed like a doomed character from Dostoevsky."

Riding the Dog: A Look Back at America by Thomas E. Kennedy

Issue No. 137 ~ October, 2008

"Tom Kennedy enjoys a unique perspective for writing about America. He has spent half his life in Europe, primarily Denmark, and has traveled throughout the world. But he retains his American citizenship and makes frequent trips back to the U.S., staying in close contact with family and his many friends in this country. This international context enriches his observations."

Pursuing Mediocrity

Issue No. 133 ~ June, 2008

"...Eventually, I am able to maintain the pace of an elderly stroke victim plodding along behind a walker. Toddlers hustle past me on the adjacent grass; I smile and wave at their nervous mothers. I skate on with no regard for my health or reputation. I am relentless. I am the skinny old soldier with the battle-scarred red helmet. I am Slow-Motion Crash Dummy. I am Old Fart on Wheels."

A Mimosa in the Driveway

Issue No. 131 ~ April, 2008

"Who is this Gordon Weaver? He is a teacher who cares about art; he is a teacher who believes writing can be taught, if you're still willing to learn; he is a teacher who writes, and what he's learned about writing he wants to share with you. I've come to respect writers whose work may not be anthologized, writers, who, for whatever reason, fly under the radar of popularity,..."

N’Yawk, N’Yawk: City Where My Fathers Wrote

Issue No. 128 ~ January, 2008

"Back then, it was Manhattan that called to young writers from around the country and across the rivers, when it was still possible to find a cheap garret and hunker down to write through freezing winters and steaming summers."

Goodbye Norman Mailer: A Brief Retrospective

Issue No. 126 ~ November, 2007

"Mailer took part in no major battles in the army, but out of his experience came his first bestseller, The Naked and the Dead (1948), considered to be one of the best and most important novels written about World War Two. The novel depicts his disdain and hatred for authority, its abuses of power, its lack of humanity."