“A poem is something that happens. It is not words or characters on a page, and it is not a performance by the artist: the artist makes the means or occasion for the poem to happen in the reader, an action spirited into being. This process from maker to work to recipient, a process so ancient it seems natural, is itself a human creation, like any other social form.”
Robert Pinsky is seventy-four today. From our Poetry issue, read an excerpt of his essay, “Occasional Poetry and Poetry on Occasions.”

“A poem is something that happens. It is not words or characters on a page, and it is not a performance by the artist: the artist makes the means or occasion for the poem to happen in the reader, an action spirited into being. This process from maker to work to recipient, a process so ancient it seems natural, is itself a human creation, like any other social form.”

Robert Pinsky is seventy-four today. From our Poetry issue, read an excerpt of his essay, “Occasional Poetry and Poetry on Occasions.”

Go on, go on down,      bring the man up …                          In here, Mr. Wilde. This room is not such a ruin as it seems:                          I find most things I search for without much trouble—
In 1882, Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde spent an afternoon together. They had some homemade elderberry wine and talked about how to be famous. Above is Richard Howard’s imaginary account of the meeting, from his poem “Wildflowers.”

Go on, go on down,
      bring the man up …
                          In here, Mr. Wilde.
This room is not such a ruin as it seems:
                          I find most things I search for
without much trouble—

In 1882, Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde spent an afternoon together. They had some homemade elderberry wine and talked about how to be famous. Above is Richard Howard’s imaginary account of the meeting, from his poem “Wildflowers.”

David Jackson and James Merrill at the Ouija board in Stonington, from “The Plato Club.” The idea for the feature evolved from an interview in which Jackson reported that, using a Ouija board, he and Merrill had contacted Truman Capote in the afterlife, a place called the Hedge. Presiding, as hostess and chief of protocol, is Alice B. Toklas.

David Jackson and James Merrill at the Ouija board in Stonington, from “The Plato Club.” The idea for the feature evolved from an interview in which Jackson reported that, using a Ouija board, he and Merrill had contacted Truman Capote in the afterlife, a place called the Hedge. Presiding, as hostess and chief of protocol, is Alice B. Toklas.

Historically, fiction has afforded writers the chance to break taboos—under the guise of the fictive, one can “talk about potentially embarrassing or even criminal personal experiences without bringing society’s censure on oneself.” So what happens when taboos fall away? “It could be we are moving towards a period where, as the writer ‘gets older’ … he or she finds it increasingly irrelevant to embark on another long work of fiction that elaborately reformulates conflicts and concerns that the reader anyway assumes are autobiographical. Far more interesting and exciting to confront the whole conundrum of living and telling head on, in the very different world we find ourselves in now, where more or less anything can be told without shame.”
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.

Historically, fiction has afforded writers the chance to break taboos—under the guise of the fictive, one can “talk about potentially embarrassing or even criminal personal experiences without bringing society’s censure on oneself.” So what happens when taboos fall away? “It could be we are moving towards a period where, as the writer ‘gets older’ … he or she finds it increasingly irrelevant to embark on another long work of fiction that elaborately reformulates conflicts and concerns that the reader anyway assumes are autobiographical. Far more interesting and exciting to confront the whole conundrum of living and telling head on, in the very different world we find ourselves in now, where more or less anything can be told without shame.”

For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.