“A Company of Authors”: Hear the latest from Stanford writers on Saturday, April 20!
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
5d ago
April is here! That means the 21st annual “A Company of Authors,” hosted by Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, is making its annual appearance with the daffodils and California poppies. Master of Ceremonies Stansky Drop by to hear the latest Stanford offerings on Saturday afternoon, April 20th, at Levinthal Hall in the Stanford Humanities Center at 424 Santa Teresa (for those of you who attend Another Look events, you know the venue). Or attend virtually by zoom. Below, the bill of fare for the afternoon – stop by for a session or two, or stay the whole ..read more
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Leading poetry critic Marjorie Perloff has died at 92: “Her passion was brilliant.”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
2w ago
Marjorie Perloff, one of America’s leading poetry critics, has died at 92. At Stanford, she was the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities emerita. There will be many tributes in the days and weeks to come. Meanwhile, a few words of an early Facebook tribute from Stanford’s Hilton Obenzinger, who interviewed her for his “How I Write” program: Marjorie Perloff She lived a full life, fleeing Vienna as a child and ending up a leading critic. She always had an acute vision of current poetics, and she could be raucous and demanding and irritating and sometimes oddly narrow-minded, racially bl ..read more
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Robert Harrison: “Our culture is getting more and more prosaic…We’re trafficking in concepts and not in spirit.”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
2w ago
You could easily miss this long article with the long title, “Writer, podcaster “Robert Harrison challenges A.I. brain delusion, the Humanities’ deathbed and Fear & Loathing with the Love Bots.” I wouldn’t pass it up I were you. Scott Thomas Anderson has a conversation with Robert Pogue Harrison, Stanford’s leading humanist and Dante scholar, and Aqsa Ijaz, who writes for The Marginalia Review (we’ve written about her on the Book Haven here) and it shouldn’t be missed. An excerpt: “We were talking about the horrifying and exciting possibilities of Chat GPT, and I asked, ‘What if ..read more
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Writer Christopher Merrill celebrates the “blessedness of gathering” in Hong Kong
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
1M ago
Merrill (far left) with IWP alumni from Norway, Honk Kong, and Japan “Only connect,” E. M. Forster famously wrote. Forster’s dictum is a plan of action for writer, poet, editor, and translator Christopher Merrill, who is the director of the International Writing Program (IWP), based at the University of Iowa. It’s been callled the “United Nations of Writers.” The late W.S. Merwin called him “one of the most gifted, audacious, and accomplished poets of an extraordinary rich generation.” He’s in Hong Kong right now to celebrate the IWP’s 29th anniversary. IWP organizes a number of program ..read more
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“This book will change the way you see the world around you”: Zabolotsky’s “Columns”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
1M ago
His poems took Leningrad by storm When Columns, a slim volume of poems written by an unknown young Russian poet named Nikolai Zabolotsky, appeared in 1929, it took the literary world of Leningrad [St. Petersburg] by storm. Zabolotsky was not part of the city’s artistic elite, having arrived in Leningrad from the provinces only eight years earlier, but the privations and confusion he found in the city following the 1917 Revolution and ensuing civil war stimulated his poetic imagination. Zabolotsky’s translator Dmitri Manin describes his poetry as portraying “a worldview wit ..read more
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Russian writer Maxim Osipov: “Life against death, light against fog – that’s the whole conflict.”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
1M ago
Russian lawyer, political leader, and activist Alexei Navalny is dead. Yesterday, we posted Varya Gornostaeva‘s words on his unexplained death. Here are a few words from the award-winning Russian author and cardiologist Maxim Osipov, from a 2021 Facebook post in Russian, which he is allowing me to republish in English: Wise words from award-winning author/cardiologist Maxim Osipov A few months ago, a famous humanitarian, whose name I will not disclose, publicly expressed in the spirit that, as he said, we all make mistakes, and Alexei Navalny made a mistake returning to Moscow. And so his voi ..read more
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Navalny’s friend speaks out: “Yes, it’s scary to talk, it’s been scary for a long time.”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
1M ago
The speaks out Several years ago, I remember a long languorous afternoon at the Stanford Shopping Center, having coffee with Varya Gornostaeva, editor of the prestigious Corpus Publishing house in Moscow, and her husband Serguei Parkhomenko, a senior advisor at the Kennan Institute. How times have changed. Today I connected with Varya on a grimmer matter. The whole world is outraged by the unexpected and unexplained death of Alexei Navalny, a heroic Russian opposition leader, lawyer, political activist, and freedom fighter. He died a political prisoner in the Arctic today. We know no mor ..read more
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How Rembrandt can help you survive in a sad, lonely, angry, and mean society
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
2M ago
How did we become a society where people push other people off sidewalks, rail at each other on the social media, where people on x.com ridicule and jibe each other. Whatever became of goodwill and neighborliness? David Brooks has got an answer: “I’d argue that we have become so sad, lonely, angry and mean as a society in part because so many people have not been taught or don’t bother practicing to enter sympathetically into the minds of their fellow human beings. We’re overpoliticized while growing increasingly undermoralized, underspiritualized, undercultured.” What remedy? He makes one o ..read more
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Reading the “Inferno” in Ukraine: “a millennium-long class in surviving hell with poetry”
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
2M ago
How is the shelling of Kyiv akin to Dante’s Inferno? Ukrainian Poet Ilya Kaminsky (we’ve written about him here and here and here) calls it “a millennium-long class in surviving hell with poetry, through music, imagery, and poetry’s willingness to look without flinching at the details of both terror and wonder: in a strange way, this book is a call to courage.” He adds: “The poem is outside of history, like snow and rain and wind.” An excerpt or two from his piece in Asymptote Journal: I have a friend who, before she ran from Kyiv as Russia bombarded the city in early 2022, spent weeks shiv ..read more
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Does metaphysical ugliness promote beauty?
The Book Haven
by Cynthia Haven
3M ago
Proust lover Trevor Cribben Merrill How do authors get away with shallow, shabby, venal, morally deficient characters who appall us … but nevertheless, we read on? Trevor Cribben Merrill, author of Minor Indignities, explains: “the ‘spirit of the author’ shields the reader from the characters, ‘drawing the poison’ from their negative qualities of arrogant stupidity, shallowness, and triviality.” He writes about it on Genealogies of Modernity, a project supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities to explain “how we became modern.” Trevor writes: “This essay is about as close as I ha ..read more
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