**UPDATED**In Contradiction Against Itself: The CIA and The Government

UPDATED: 5/21 [I've added one example of Slahi's book as an illustration of the Report on Torture--there are many others I may add later.] Last night on Interchange (The State of Terror: Guantanamo Diary) the conversation centered on the literary nature of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary.  Guest Scott Korb has written about the Diary as […]

If You Really Want to Know the Truth: Salinger’s Influence on Mohamedou Ould Slahi

I am reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary. Well, actually, listening to it. You can find out a lot about it at The Guardian website dedicated to it. Something I heard and noticed I have listened to about half of the book and I had heard Slahi say this: Meanwhile, I kept getting books in […]

Druid Hill, 1969

I’ve known Dean Smith for over twenty years. Dean gave me his book of poetry American Boy upon its being published…I loved “Druid Hill, 1969″ immediately and took to Amazon.com to say so. What I said then, dear heavens, nearly 15 years ago–the age of my oldest child–is pretty much what I’d still say. But, […]

Our National Inheritance

From William Hazlitt’s essay on Shakespeare’s Henry V. Let those with ears to hear… Henry, because he did not know how to govern his own kingdom, determined to make war upon his neighbours. Because his own title to the crown was doubtful, he laid claim to that of France. Because he did not know how […]

In the Heart or In the Head

Andrew Bird’s “Darkmatter,” a riff on a song from The Merchant of Venice. Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender’d in the eyes, With gazing fed; and fancy dies In the cradle where it lies. Let us all ring […]

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Sways it to the mood

Why we do the things we do… SHYLOCK … You’ll ask me, why I rather choose to have A weight of carrion flesh than to receive Three thousand ducats: I’ll not answer that: But, say, it is my humour: is it answer’d? What if my house be troubled with a rat And I be pleased […]

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Refuse Thy Name

Last night on WFHB’s Interchange I hosted a discussion about Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. You can download the podcast here: Interchange – The Prick of Noon: Romeo & Juliet. I believe that, after Hamlet, it is the most performed of Shakespeare’s plays. I also understand that some folks think it is too juvenile and too sappy. […]

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Serving the Word

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville In a recent scholarly biography of Louis Agassiz, Christoph Irmscher, in a chapter on Agassiz’s notorious “race science,” notes that Agassiz is in no way the lone […]

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A Sane Impulse and a Clear Lesson: Charter Schools

Let’s dare to be honest about charter schools. There is no “testable” benefit. Which is to say that testing tells us the same thing about any school environment. Kids, as humans, grow and develop variably, that poverty deadens living and this includes “intelligence” as part of overall health. What is a charter for? To create […]

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The Privilege of the Engaged

In a recent “rant” about Indiana’s “testing regime” and its instrument of student “achievement” measurement, the I-STEP, posted on the […]

All Over Lost

I am nearly 47. I am very old and extremely ignorant of what has meaning to so many people these […]

To Catch a Noddy

The tops were large, and were railed about with what had once been octagonal net-work, all now in sad disrepair. […]

Everything Reminds Me of Moby Dick: Maxine Kumin

It came to my attention while skimming the Women’s Review of Books that poet Maxine Kumin had died (nearly a […]

The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in […]

Immeasurably the Most Important Book of Poetry

  CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING “KORA IN HELL” by Robert McAlmon [Williams reprinted Kora in Hell: Improvisations in 1957 without the Prologue.  So, here is […]