Watching As the World Vanishes

It was shameful, everyone agreed afterward, that no one did anything at the time. Because people knew it was happening. There were reports, early on. People saw things, near… More

Poet’s Choice

I attended an event last month in New York City sponsored by the PEN American Center and entitled "State of Emergency: Unconventional Readings." PEN believes that it is urgently… More

Michael Cunningham: First Love

"First Love," by Michael Cunningham, appears in PEN America 1: Classics. This talk was originally presented at a tribute to Virginia Woolf, sponsored by the PEN Forums Committee, at Town… More

Thrown Voices: Richard Howard & Susan Sontag

SUSAN SONTAG: I think of Richard Howard as a very central figure in our culture, maintaining and giving eloquent voice and illustration to standards that are in peril today.… More

Aerial Maneuvers

Calvino's The Baron in the Trees, the book of his I love most, has accompanied me through life as a sort of moral and political manifesto. It may seem… More

Mary Gordon: Bodies of Knowledge

The Waves is Virginia Woolf's most difficult book. It is a difficult book by any standards, and its difficulty and its greatness are intertwined. Part of the difficulty is… More

1,001 Laughs

Back in the thirties, Borges worked for an Argentinean women's magazine called El Hogar--a magazine of middle-class attitudes and presumptions, roughly similar to Redbook in America today. More

Salman Rushdie: The Imaginary Real

In 1981, Italo Calvino's book If on a Winter's Night a Traveler was published in England to what I remember as a more or less resounding silence. Very few… More

A Place in the Procession

Long long ago I dreamed this: an old soul, mud-colored, thin, ropy-haired, hunkers at a campfire. A line of naked youth has formed on the lip of a cliff.… More

The Prison

The prisoner took a step—then another—and broke into a run. He hit the fence six feet above ground and scrambled to the top. Grabbing barbed wire, he ignored the… More

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