Myriam Gurba Publishes Another Book

September 11, 2023

Myriam Gurba has just published another book – Creep, a collection of essays – so it’s a good time to reprint my creative feature “Who’s Myriam Gurba?” which originally appeared in October 2020.  Gurba is a feisty, talented, and photogenic writer and social activist. Whether or not readers agree with her opinions, she entertains with…

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Autobiography of George Thomas Clark

September 10, 2022

Autobiography of George Thomas Clark has just been published. In lucid prose George Thomas Clark recalls the challenges of growing up in a family beset by divorce, depression, and alcoholism, and the compensatory joys of playing basketball and other sports. Though academically promising, Clark loses discipline as his drinking and substance abuse worsen and he…

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Revisions – Revisions – Revisions for “THEY MAKE MOVIES”

April 13, 2021

Authors know how difficult it is after writing a book for months or years, and doing plenty of revising as they go, and then facing the long stretch run that requires more revisions – far more than they’d imagined were still necessary. I’ve learned that doing each successive revision in a different medium helps catch…

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

February 12, 2014

don’t want whole beer only half enough to roll

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Gunter Grass’ Poem for Israel

April 19, 2012

Criticize Gunter Grass not for being anti-Semitic, which he isn’t, but for choosing the wrong medium to present “What Must Be Said” about the dangers and inequities of Israeli foreign policy. In the second stanza Grass is poetic rather than precise in stating Israel plans “a strike to snuff out the Iranian people.” The descendents…

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Over Written

February 2, 2012

novels over written short stories over written poetry

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Hemingway Fifty Years Dead

July 6, 2011

Early morning on a July second Ernest Hemingway, battered by decades of alcoholism, assailed by a brain injured in one car and two plane crashes, haunted by a lifelong fear of inherited mental illness and certain that it and rapid aging had forever rendered him paranoid and defeated, quietly arose from a bedroom separate from…

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Poe at the Gentleman’s Magazine – Part 11

August 20, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe, despite working for Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, seemed not to understand the implication of my being William E. Burton: I paid ten dollars a week, more than sufficient compensation starting in June 1839, and expected him to be a dutiful and deferential editorial assistant.  I realized many readers considered Poe brilliant, particularly after…

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Roderick Usher Assails Edgar Allen Poe – Part 10

July 28, 2008

My family and I are profoundly distressed by Edgar Allen Poe’s recent short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”.  We, who so often said yes when this forlorn orphan begged to visit, now learn he considers our home “melancholy” and one which pervades his spirit “with a sense of insufferable gloom.”  Had Poe…

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Virginia Clemm and Edgar Allan Poe – Part 9

July 17, 2008

I hated gossip about Eddy living with his “child cousin.”  I wasn’t a child but a young lady only three months short of fourteen.  Eddy still made sure our marriage bond said I was twenty-one.  That afternoon in May 1836 a smiling minister married us in our boarding house.  My mother and our landlord and…

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Poe the Editor and Family Man – Part 8

July 7, 2008

When Aunt Maria’s mother died her pension was also buried and that night Edgar Allan Poe raged to dig it up.  Aunty and Virginia guided him into bed from which he two days later arose dazed but determined to be responsible.  Aunty had become his real mother and Virginia, though only age thirteen, was already…

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Aunt Maria Clemm Nurtures Poe – Part 7

June 20, 2008

Eddie was a sweet boy who loved me and my young daughter Virginia.  He tried to help but except selling a young slave I’d inherited he couldn’t make any money for us despite writing hours a day.   Our best prospect was John Allan, and sometimes I wrote him Eddie deserved to do well and would…

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Henry Poe – Part 6

June 6, 2008

Not critically but with pride I suggest that for his third book, Poems, Edgar had copied some of my stanzas.  I also concede I might have borrowed some of his.  I couldn’t guarantee much in the spring of 1831.  Once, I had appeared an impressive big brother, donning the uniform of a merchant marine and…

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Poe the Scholar and Soldier – Part 5

June 4, 2008

In person I may have addressed my foster father John Allan as Pa but in my heart and with others I called him a tyrant who, despite his wealth, denied sufficient funds for dignified survival at the University of Virginia, sentencing me to dress inelegantly and use my own hands to tidy my room.  Fellow…

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Poe the Athlete – Part 4

May 19, 2008

I’m head track coach at a major university and have trained some of the finest young athletes in the world.  I don’t recruit anyone lacking potential to place high and score points in important meets.  That I explained to members of a literary society when they presented physical data about Edgar Allan Poe.  He was…

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Foster Father of Poe – Part 3

May 13, 2008

Convinced of my correctness I sailed from Scotland to America at age sixteen and immediately began as a clerk in the Richmond tobacco company of my Uncle William Galt.  The old bachelor was the wealthiest man in Virginia but kept me tight to business and doted on his four adopted children and four more he…

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Keeping Hemingway Alive

May 5, 2008

Never had I craved anything so much as this strange and alluring task. Thousands of other doctors clamored for the opportunity but most lacked the necessary vigor. Only a man obsessed would be fit to lead this scientific revolution, and I was thus chosen to sacrifice all in the quest to keep Ernest Hemingway alive…

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Eliza Poe – Part 2

April 18, 2008

In more than thirty years representing actresses I had never received such an astonishing application.  At first, naturally, I considered it a hoax.  Eliza Poe, claiming to have been born more than two centuries ago in England, wrote that she most urgently needed to meet me.  Ordinarily it is difficult approaching impossible to get through…

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Two Letters to Norman Mailer

November 16, 2007

In 1988 I was struggling with alcohol and substance abuse.  I doubt I would write two letters like these now, as I near my tenth anniversary of sobriety, but from a literary standpoint it’s certain I should exhume some of the anger that follows and put it on paper. May 10, 1988 Dear Norman, I’ve…

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Norman Mailer Embraces “The White Negro”

November 15, 2007

Of thousands of piquant opinions I fired into the literary firmament one of the last was that the Internet is the most wretched invention since masturbation.  Nevertheless, in my new world of decidedly more restricted options, I was thankful to be given a few hours online to read tributes and broadsides that followed my earthly…

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