Nikki Giovanni: Making James Baldwin

This excerpt is part of the Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute to James Baldwin, sponsored by PEN American Center and Lincoln Center, with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture… More

Toward Total Recall

Was it in the summer? It probably was . . . when you thought you had enough time on your hands to fill them with a book, when an unappointed… More

Evenings in Paris

There were no more than twenty or thirty people in the audience. To my surprise, I loved Godot—how could you not? Dick was beaming. I guess this had been… More

Peter Matthiessen: Story Lines

John Steinbeck’s admirable early work was an important part of my own formative reading: the grit of his descriptions, his deceptive simplicity, so free of the intrusive style that… More

A Mighty Heart

In 1933 John Steinbeck was so poor he couldn't afford a dog. The literary critic Lewis Gannett uncovered this fact in Steinbeck’s correspondence with his agents during the time… More

With Fire and Bare Hands

How do we speak to you who is our voice and still now. Too patient to laugh at us but smiling yes yes and the glass in your hand your steepled knee that elegant rag of… More

The Terror of the Words

I believe in serendipity and geography, and both factors played a part in bringing Beckett into my life. In the early 1950s, I was living in Paris, ostensibly at… More

Parce Que C’était Lui

The little phrase I’m about to read comes from a famous passage in Sodom and Gomorrah when Marcel the narrator is suddenly reminded of his grandmother. He had stayed… More

The Subtleties of Violence

As in the movies, there are in literature certain kinds of violence that themselves seem to do harm, that seem be acts of violence committed upon the reader as… More

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