Archive for the 'Novelists' Category



In Memoriam Robert Long, October 15, 1954 – October 13, 2006

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LOVE POTION NO. 9

This is the most beautiful day
Of all time: 80 clear degrees,
Summer sunlight jazzing a slope of trees
Like broccoli against the so-blue sea, boats,

Tiny jewels adrift, silent on the horizon.
From my car parked in front of a church
I can watch the most beautiful boy
I have ever seen mow the lawn: he’s blond, maybe 16,

Very tan, skinny, just wearing baggy black shorts,
And all the long young muscles move
Under his warm brown skin
As he shoves the big mower around,

His kid’s angel face placid and purposeful . . .
All the way back along the fast hilly highway
Stands of evergreens and oaks soak up the sun,
The radio blares, I am happy

Thinking of the boy and the sea. Racing
The twist of roads home, the beautiful gargle
Of twin camshafts at 6,000 rpm tells me
That this is all I need: 5 p.m. melon-colored sunlight

Slanting over the silver hood. What greens
In the trees, what a rich cerulean sky, what joy
Kicking it down into third
And screaming around the curve,

Soundgarden on the radio, and the retinal image
Of the grass-mowing kid even better than Tiepolo,
Better than Brahms, reachable, ecstatic, true.
O this is the world I want without end.

— Robert Long, “Blue”
POET * FRIEND * EDITOR

 

James Salter on the Art and Intimacy of LETTER writing

Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps

August 21, 2010

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Novelist Robert Phelps described novelist James Salter as a “minority of one; a new herb in the cabinet,” and later wrote that Salter’s letters were like gospel to him. Phelps introduced Salter to the works of a dozen writers crucially important to shaping him as a novelist.   Salter says Phelps was one of the most important influences in his life and in whatever he  wrote after they met. The correspondence which began with a fan letter from Phelps to Salter spanned decades. The intimacy of the letters continues.

Lucky Solstice

You could say the luck began back around Thanksgiving time. Mark Doty had been announced the winner of the National Book Award for his poetry collection Fire to Fire. We’d already scheduled a reading from his memoir Dog Years. How fortuitous now that our audience could congratulate him on this great honor. When the poet read from his memoir, he read each word with the breath and sound of poetry.   Just now an old golden lab and a young man are walking through the light snowfall on upper Main Street, Sag Harbor.  A sign of Beau, perhaps? or just another daily ritual of caring this dark afternoon?  Mark spent time with each question from the audience, answered each generously, encouragingly, the poet teacher sharing his gifts. Here, he seemed to say, you try…

Some weeks later, storyteller and novelist Gioia Timpanelli lit the candles for Santa Lucia on her feast day, December 13.  The patron saint of Siracusa offered her eyes to the world. “Here,” she might have said, “take them, and see.”  Gioia’s new novel What Makes a Child Lucky takes place in Sicily, in a time of great hunger, or as the introduction suggests: “anyplace at anytime.”  Gioia spun out the story as we sat rapt in its charms.  Lucky us, we were able to make an audio recording thanks again to Tony Ernst at WPKN independent radio.  Check the link for this and other special programs: http://eastendink.blogspot.com

Books bring light to our lives. .. Bright Solstice to all!


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