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Posts Tagged ‘deaths’

Dear Enemy

February 11, 2013 | by

sylvia

 

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ―Sylvia Plath

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In Memoriam: Evan S. Connell, 1924–2013

January 10, 2013 | by

We are sad to learn that Evan Connell has died. An early contributor to The Paris Review, Connell was and is a quiet hero of contemporary literature. His novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge have been cited as a crucial influence by writers as different as Lydia Davis, Jonathan Franzen, and Zadie Smith. In his history books—Son of the Morning Star (about General Custer) and Deus Lo Volt! (about the Crusades)—his poems, and his essays, he sang the glories of lost civilizations and unearthed the ruins at our feet. Connell delighted in tales of folly, of doomed experiments, but his own experiments bore fruits, plural, for no two are alike. We regret that Connell was unable to finish his Art of Fiction interview for the magazine; stay tuned in the next few days for selections from his work as it appeared in The Paris Review.

 

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In Memoriam: Harvey Shapiro, 1924–2013

January 9, 2013 | by

Harvey Shapiro, poet and editor, died on Monday at eighty-eight. The following ran in The Paris Review No. 84, Summer 1982.

On A Sunday

When you write something
you want it to live—
you have that obligation, to give it
a start in life.
Virginia Woolf, pockets full of stones,
sinks into the sad river
that surrounds us daily. Everything
about London amazed her, the shapes
and sight, the conversations on a bus.
At the end of her life, she said
London is my patriotism.
I feel that about New York.
Would Frank O’Hara say Virginia Woolf,
get up? No, but images from her novels
stay in my head—the old poet
(Swinburne, I suppose) sits on the lawn
of the countryhouse, mumbling
into the sun. Pleased with the images,
I won’t let the chaos of my life
overwhelm me. There is the City,
and the sun blazes on Central Park
in September. These people on a Sunday
are beautiful, various. And the poor
among them make me think
the experience I knew will be relived again,
so that my sentences will keep hold
of reality, for a while at least.

 

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Fyodor Khitruk, 1917–2012

December 11, 2012 | by

The pioneering Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk has died at age ninety-five. Perhaps best known for his adaptations of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, Khitru’s work was often political and avant-garde. 1973’s Island, below, won the Palme d’Or for best short.

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Jack Gilbert, 1925–2012

November 13, 2012 | by

“Being alive is so extraordinary I don’t know why people limit it to riches, pride, security—all of those things life is built on. People miss so much because they want money and comfort and pride, a house and a job to pay for the house. And they have to get a car. You can’t see anything from a car. It’s moving too fast. People take vacations. That’s their reward—the vacation. Why not the life?” —The Art of Poetry No. 91

 

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T. S. Eliot’s Widow Dies at Eighty-Six

November 12, 2012 | by

My father is inordinately fond of pointing out our place in the course of history. “Just think about it!" he would say intensely almost every morning of my childhood, as he scanned the obit pages over breakfast. “This man was born during the Taft presidency! Twice his lifetime was the Pierce presidency! It’s amazing! It’s so recent!”

I was reminded of this when I read the news that T. S. Eliot’s widow had died, this Friday, at eighty-six.

Of course, it’s not as though Valerie Eliot were some sort of secret: Eliot’s executor, she guarded her husband’s legacy since his death, periodically editing and releasing his work, fiercely guarding his privacy, allowing for the making of Cats, and using the money from that success to start a charitable trust. And considering the difference in their ages—Eliot was thirty-eight years older than his second wife, whom he married in 1957—her relative youth is no shocker either. But hers was, for the most part, a quiet and unobtrusive stewardship (she avoided interviews), and those are themselves rare things these days.

She said that their relationship was a quiet one, involving much Scrabble-playing and cheese-eating. As she said in a rare interview, “He obviously needed a happy marriage. He wouldn’t die until he’d had it.”

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