Not One of Us: Four Books that Explore the Implication of Class in America

Featuring reviews of:

  • Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,  Charles Murray. Crown Forum, 2012.
  • Class Matters. Correspondents of The New York Times. Times Books, 2005.
  • Class:  A Guide Through the American Class System. Paul Fussell. Touchstone, 1992.
  • Old Money in America:  Aristocracy in the Age of Obama.  John Hazard Forbes.  iUniverse, 2010.

The Thoroughly Modern World of Louise Brooks

This Found Text feature looks at the life of silent film icon, Louise Brooks. It is not currently available online.

A Conversation with T.R. Hummer

A poem is a score for consciousness (“score” as in “musical score”). In textual terms, consciousness conveys itself as what fiction writers call “point of view.” So far so good. I believe less in the absolute separation of the various points of view, however: first person and third person are manifestations of the same thing: consciousness per se. Therefore, I work as though every third-person text is simply a first-person text in which no one has (yet) said “I” but could at any moment. I also work as though every poem, whatever its preponderant pronoun, is in fact (à la Whitman) a groping for omniscience, the manifestation of a desire to forgive everything and therefore to know everything.

This interview is not currently available online.

Poetry Feature: Tryfon Tolides

Featuring the poems:

  • The Day before the Big Dance
  • West Texas near Dark
  • Spring in the Village
  • Things to Do
  • List and Process
  • From “Standards in Norway” [Poem of the Week December 10, 2012]
  • Afternoon

Poetry Feature: Margaree Little

Featuring the poems:

  • The Calling
  • What Was Missing [Poem of the Week December 18, 2012]
  • Map
  • Using It
  • Revision

Poetry Feature: Christopher Robinson

Featuring the poems:

  • Borges
  • Shackleton
  • Columbus
  • Stevenson
  • Geometry and Angling

My War Zone

When I was growing up war always hovered somewhere in the background. I was born after the Second World War ended, but for a long time, at least until the early ’60s, its presence was still palpable. We lived in an apartment building that had survived the fighting, though the one next to it hadn’t, and some ruins still remained. All over town there was rubble. When I was very little, I still heard warnings of kids finding unexploded bombs and being blown up. Soon most of the ruined buildings were bulldozed, but their underground cellars filled with bricks and debris were perfect places to play. The braver and older among us would explore them and tell hair-raising tales about skeletons and ghosts in Nazi uniforms.

This essay is not currently available online.

Arts and Science

I was half in love with Tom McAfee before I ever met him because Shirley Tarbell, my friend from Waynesville High School, who taught me to inhale and lent me her copy of TheWaste Land and later told me there was no scientific proof of the existence of the soul, came back from the University of Missouri and told me that she was in love with her English teacher, a romantic Southern gentleman with a beautiful voice and artistic hands. Shirley and I had already been in love with Elvis Presley and Montgomery Clift and several other unattainable men (and Shirley was very fond, too, of Mario Lanza), so it was only natural that we would fall in love with Mr. McAfee, an older man, a sensitive English professor who was also a poet.

This essay is not currently available online.

The Numbers Man

Instead of setting his alarm Paul Lake decided to stay up all night.  He was fifteen and had stayed up all night twice before for no reason, daring himself, mostly, and he decided to do it again because he did not want to miss Emily, who was coming to pick him up at five o’clock the next morning.  Emily was twenty-five.  She was his step-aunt—the sister of his father’s new wife.  His father’s new wife, Barbara Lewis, was thirty-five.  His father was forty-five.  Though Paul mostly disliked his stepmother, this tidily ascending numerical ziggurat pleased him, his father on the top step and himself on the bottom and the two women set between them.

This story is not currently available online.

Trickster

I met the trickster in a chat room when I was sixteen. Turned out he was in high school with a friend of mine. She didn’t know him, she said. But she’d seen him pack himself inside a locker once, said he’d laughed for an hour straight in class until the teacher made him leave, and then he’d walked outside and stood on the other side of the classroom window, still laughing, his face pale, his hair pulled up and split by the wind and rain.

This story is not currently available online.