Essays

February 21, 2008

Anthologies Evolved 0

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When I was 16 or 17, it felt like Ernest Hemingway and Willa Cather were my own personal discoveries. I had read through all of Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, and T.C. Boyle after discovering their books and then working steadily through their bodies of work until there was nothing left to read. (And it’s amazing […]

February 17, 2008

A Poet on the Road 1

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Jon Sands is a poet residing in New York City. A Cincinnati native, Sands was a finalist at the 2007 National Poetry Slam. He is currently touring across North America. Sands used to write poems on the bellies of his cabbage patch dolls, and he still does. More about Jon and his poetry CDs and […]

January 31, 2008

Big in Japan: A Cellphone Novel For You, the Reader 23

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A week ago, an article in the New York Times created a mini-furor in literary circles. As the resident Japan expert in my circle of friends, everybody was asking me, “So what’s the deal with these cell phone novels?” The NYT article was the first I’d heard of them. I did a quick Internet search, […]

January 22, 2008

America’s Next Top Novelist 6

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1.Those wandering aimlessly through the barren channels in the midst of the writers’ strike are no doubt aware that reality programming, already a staple, has flooded in to fill the void. In fact, the heavyweight of the format, “American Idol,” is now back for a seventh season. “American Idol” is what I like to call […]

December 5, 2007

A Two Part Examination of Cost and Value — Part 2: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster 2

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[See part 1] I recently got married, and at my wedding, I wore a Paul Smith suit. It was the first piece of designer clothing I’d ever purchased, and it was an eye-opening experience. As I tried on various suits from different designers, I found myself appreciating the subtle differences between them: the fine tailoring […]

December 4, 2007

A Two Part Examination of Cost and Value — Part 1. In Defense of Food 1

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Few books caused as much of a stir last year as The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s examination of the American food production system. It exposed, among other things, the fact that Americans are eating way, way too much corn. Corn is in nearly everything at the supermarket, from the corn chips (duh!) to the meat […]

November 15, 2007

50,000 Words in 30 Days 6

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This November, three of my bravest (read: most insane) students are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While some of you may make fun of NaNoWriMo enthusiasts, I hold my tongue, for writing 50,000 words (no matter how poorly chosen) in only 30 days is impressive. Besides, another student of mine, Kelly Wiles, participated […]

November 7, 2007

Modern In A Post-Modern World 3

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There’s an old Woody Allen nightclub routine, dating back to his stand-up days in the mid-60s, that goes a little like this: “I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that is was a good novel, […]

November 4, 2007

Literature and History: A Response 3

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A recent post at Pinky’s Paperhaus entitled “The backwards academic,” muses critically on the backward-looking focus of the GRE subject exam in English literature, required for applicants to English department Ph.D. programs, and, in Pinky’s case, Ph.D. programs in Creative Writing. Having cited the breakdown of the GRE subject exam in English Literature (pasted in […]

October 5, 2007

Brooklyn Volleys 0

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I borrowed my roommate’s issue of New York Magazine to occupy myself with some light reading on the subway this week. Also residing in my bag, my copy of David McCullough’s 1776, which I discussed briefly here last time. There is a big difference between a Pulitzer-winning non-fiction book and a somewhat glossy bi-weekly periodical, […]