July 28, 1985 |
Gjertrud Schnackenberg is more powerful at writing poetry than at being a poet. How refreshing. Her specific poetic gravity appears uncertain and changeable; as if, lying abed in the morning, her questions were not what shall I write today and what shall I wear; but what will I be today and what face will I have. Her voice can be breathtaking and lack breath.
January 19, 1986 |
To be a minor poet, Stephen Spender reflects in his "Journals," is to be like minor royalty. "No one--as a former lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret once explained to me--is happy as that," he adds. It is not that this perennial Englishman of letters strips himself naked. He is, he insists, "impelled not to be totally candid." He began the "Journals" in a state of depression in 1939, and for the first 10 years or so, they remained stiff and distant.
July 7, 1985 |
There was no silence in George Bernard Shaw. This exuberant prodigy who was so deeply devoted to common sense that he knew it could only ravish when expressed by extravagant paradox and extremity, was profoundly musical, and his music criticism was only one of a number of things he did better than anyone else. He had every note and played it. The only thing he didn't play was the rests.
July 21, 1985 |
A case can be made that the U.S. presidential election campaign is not the quadrennial climax of our politics but its quadrennial exorcism. Like Easter Week in Seville, nothing else public seems to matter much; and then suddenly it is not just gone, but obliterated. What price a trenchant look at Glenn's prospects after Iowa? Would you hock your grandmother's skates for a discussion of why Hart's yuppie vote went to Reagan?
June 14, 1992
Opening sentence of Richard Eder's review of Toni Morrison's "Jazz" (April 19): " 'Jazz' is a half-waking dream on a lumpy corncob mattress." I dare say. We used the husks . FRED SCIFERS, DOWNEY
November 11, 1998
THIS WEEK: * Richard Ford on Chekhov's stories. * Roger Shattuck on the fatal attraction of the Marquis de Sade. * Melvin Jules Bukiet on the prophetic fiction of Joseph Roth. * Richard Eder on Michael Cunningham's brilliant new novel.
March 16, 1986
In Richard Eder's review of "Arctic Dreams," he says, "There are several misspellings. . . ." Would they be like " . . . while praying upon it . . . " early in the review? But then, in the Opinion section, Jerry Brown had his homophonic problem with the governor's "principle theme." And Jerry with a Jesuit education! Perhaps the principal difficulty is that they both were preyed upon by careless amanuenses. LOUIS SANGUINET Granada Hills