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Richard Brautigan’s highs and lows

Jackalope Tales
Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) came of age as a writer in Beat Generation San Francisco, but he was no beatnik.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  July 10, 2012


Joe Brainard’s collected works

Pleasure principle
The sui generis artist and writer Joe Brainard invented a literary form.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  April 25, 2012


Poems, prose, and the New Yorker

Elizabeth Bishop goes pop
After John Ashbery described Elizabeth Bishop as "the writer’s writer’s writer," reviewers repeated the witticism as if it were true. Actually, beginning with her first book, Bishop got awards and grants — that master poet politician Robert Lowell was in her corner — that gave her much more public recognition than Merrill's phrase suggests was the case.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  February 02, 2011


Review: Philip Guston: Collected Writings, Lectures, And Conversations

Fast talk: A great artist bends your ear
If you are interested in the great painter Philip Guston (1913–1980), you will want this book. If you are interested in American painting from 1945 on, and into the future, you will want this book. If you enjoy a great talker in top form, you will want this book.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  January 07, 2011


Review: David Young knows where he's going

Poet's progress
David Young's Selected and New Poems is a good book by a good poet. You'll have to take my word for that, because I am not going to quote from his poems.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  October 27, 2010


Plain spoken

Colm Tóibín's see-through prose
In American prose, there is a plain style, a child of the 20th century, descending from Hemingway and Cather. The best New Yorker writers — James Thurber, Joseph Mitchell, Janet Malcolm — have it.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  June 16, 2009


Giving good gimmick

Granta at 30
To sustain a literary magazine over decades it pays to have a gimmick.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  June 08, 2009


Review: My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poems of Jack Spicer

Strong spirits
Spicer believed that words are magic, that they have the power to "do" good and harm to people.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  December 19, 2008


Swedish schnapps

The Martin Beck mysteries
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's Martin Beck mysteries are back in a fourth American printing.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  December 02, 2008


Selected and otherwise

A sheaf of post-April poetry and poets
Simic is a poet not of big gloomy poems but of small glooms and fears that haunt our waking lives and disturb our sleep.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  May 13, 2008


Sweet fallout

Philip Whalen’s word bombs
Philip Whalen (1923–2002) is a great American poet.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  January 14, 2008


News to me

Robert Hass’s National Book Award
Notwithstanding the occasional university-press finalist (this year: David Kirby), the National Book Award for poetry is generally open to only a few American poets.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  December 11, 2007


Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place

The best film about an American poet ever made
Ferrini and Riaf present the complex American literary figure Charles Olson in a clear way by focusing not on the facts of his life but on the facts of his work.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  September 12, 2007


What was, and what might have been

Sara and Gerald Murphy in Williamstown
Sara and Gerald Murphy are back, and in the words of their friend Cole Porter, “What a swell party it is.”
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  November 08, 2007
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