Visiting Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

Today with three friends I visited Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, a piece of land art near Corinne, Utah, that was built on the shore of the Great Salt Lake in 1970. It was an amazing experience! I had seen numerous pictures of the Jetty in art history textbooks, but it was wonderful to get to experience itContinue reading “Visiting Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty”

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Books Acquired Recently

Baker, Houston A., Jr. Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1984. This is a classic in the field of African American literary studies which keeps popping up in my reading, so I figured it was time to finally break down and read it. Bought from Better World BooksContinue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

The New Site Photograph

I just updated the main photograph for the site (what Facebook would call the “cover photo”). It is a picture of one of my favorite shelves in the poetry section of my library. The photograph includes some of my favorite poets and one of my favorite books of poetry, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence andContinue reading “The New Site Photograph”

Brief Thoughts on Fiction in America

I mentioned in a post on 15 November that I’m currently serving on the search committee for a job opening in my department. The position is for a fiction writer, so I’ve been reading lots of short stories which serve as the candidates’ writing samples. Much of the fiction is quite good, which is comforting because it shows thatContinue reading “Brief Thoughts on Fiction in America”

Books Acquired Recently

Kroll, Eric, ed. The Art of Eric Stanton: For the Man Who Knows His Place. Cologne: Taschen, 2012. This book collects many of Stanton’s erotic drawings from the 1950s and 1960s, many of which appeared in Irving Klaw’s publications (Klaw is the man who made Bettie Page famous). It fits perfectly with my scholarly interests inContinue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

Ervin Beck on David Foster Wallace

There is a fascinating, impressively-researched article about David Foster Wallace’s relationship to religious faith by Ervin Beck in the latest issue of the Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing. Wallace is one of my favorite writers, and Beck is a former professor of mine and one of the most important mentors that I’ve had,Continue reading “Ervin Beck on David Foster Wallace”

Marv Albert!

There’s a fantastic story by Bryan Curtis on grantland.com about Marv Albert’s childhood preparations to become a sports announcer here. It’s essential reading for anyone who cares about sports media. I knew that Albert was quite young when he began calling Knicks games, but I didn’t realize he began when he was only 21! IContinue reading “Marv Albert!”

Books Acquired Recently

Atwood, Margaret. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination. 2011. New York: Anchor, 2012. I ordered this book at Rocky Mountain MLA last month, and it arrived yesterday. I enjoy Atwood’s fiction and her germinal book on Canadian literature, Survival, and I have been reading more and more science fiction (the “SF” of theContinue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

Books Acquired Recently

Cortázar, Julio. Hopscotch. 1963. Trans. Gregory Rabassa. New York: Pantheon, 1966. I will be teaching Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters next semester, and its blurb claims that it is inspired by Cortázar’s novel. So I thought I would read it as research for teaching Castillo. Hopscotch is nearly 600 pages long in the edition I bought,Continue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton

I just finished reading Salman Rushdie’s new memoir Joseph Anton, which is primarily about the years after the fatwa was issued against his life in 1989 in response to the publication of The Satanic Verses. Rushdie writes eloquently about his most depressing emotional moments during the thirteen years when he had to live under police protection, but he also offersContinue reading “Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton”