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Posts Tagged ‘Oprah Winfrey’

What We’re Loving: George Packer, Joe Carstairs, Nick Laird

June 7, 2013 | by

joecarstairslarge

In a virtuosic long poem from his recent collection, Go Giants, Nick Laird inveighs against “the monotony of always being on a side!” Laird was born in Northern Ireland, but the complaint isn’t aimed only at sectarianism. His poetry, which shuttles between New York, Rome, and Cookstown, in County Tyrone, consistently escapes monotony and one-sidedness (including, in this case, a cricketeer’s pun on the word side). His book includes versions of Juvenal, Antoine Ó Raifteirí—a wandering bard and one of the “giants” of Laird’s title—and Anglo-Saxon poetry. You can also hear the nimble diction of Muldoon (“an atmosphere / flecked like emery paper, the finest grade, / that whets the seriffed aerials and steeples”) and the more ponderous music of Heaney (a summer job at a meatplant is spent “lugging plastic / crates of feathercut and paddywhack / and prime off the belt and onto palettes”). “Progress,” a long poem that rewrites Bunyun’s allegory, is a gathering of all these voices and ends up sounding like no one except Laird: “A fine baroque example / of how successfully the choral template / might adjust itself to fit an elliptic / non-contiguous life.” —Robyn Creswell

I recently visited my parents to help them sort through a lifetime of acquisitions in anticipation of a mammoth yard sale. Looking through boxes of my old books, I came across a favorite, The Queen of Whale Cay, and promptly reread it. Kate Summerscale’s biography is a vivid picture of Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs, a flamboyant figure of the Lost Generation. A boat racer, womanizer, dandy, and, yes, queen of her own island, Carstairs (an oil heiress) was also known for traveling everywhere with a doll, Lord Tod Wadley, who sported an equally dapper wardrobe. Summerscale was working on the Telegraph’s obit desk when she ran across the story of this forgotten figure; I’m so glad she did, and that I rediscovered my copy. (The office also acquired, from this foray, a brass whale, a crystal ball, and a harpoon.) —Sadie O. Stein

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Selling, Banning, and Walking

June 8, 2012 | by

  • Novelist Barry Unsworth has died at eighty-one.
  • The Catholic Church denounces a book; it becomes a best seller.
  • (Almost as effective as Oprah.)
  • Lev Grossman teaches us how to read and walk simultaneously.
  • “The Comedy of Noir.”
  • Where things stand: the Rumpus explores racial bias in the world of books.
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    Thefts, Maps, and the Return of Oprah

    June 4, 2012 | by

  • A rare, first-edition Book of Mormon has been stolen from an Arizona store.
  • The Atlantic presents a slideshow of images from the “graphic canon,” in which artists take on the classics.
  • Will 2012 be the biggest Book Expo ever?
  • An interactive map of the UK’s literary destinations.
  • The return of Oprah’s Book Club.
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