Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’
January 5, 2016 | by W. D. Snodgrass
From “Dabbling in Corruption,” an essay by W. D. Snodgrass, in our Spring 1994 issue. Snodgrass was born on this day in 1926; he died in 2009. Here, he recalls seeing Robert Frost read at a Washington D.C. poetry conference in October 1962, when the Cuban Missile Crisis was at full tilt. Frost was eighty-eight then, and, as Snodgrass writes, “obviously in his last months”; he died the following January.
Our luncheon with Jacqueline Kennedy that day was suddenly canceled—rumor had it she was in a cave somewhere in a western state. Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles were steaming toward Cuba; American war ships were steaming toward them. If they met in mid-Atlantic, World War III would almost certainly begin; Washington would be wiped out in hours …
By the time [of Frost’s reading], I was even more drunk and … did not dare register what was happening until a day or so later. Frost began, as he almost never did, by reading someone else’s poem: “Shine, Perishing Republic” by Robinson Jeffers. The title alone might have outraged his audience but they were so preconditioned to reverence that nothing else could reach them. Moving to his own poem, “October,” he drew special attention to its relevance for the current autumnal crisis:
October 15, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
The Million Man March, twenty years later.
October 16 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Million Man March. The photographer Roderick Terry, then age thirty, was there as more than a million black men crowded Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, “transforming it,” he writes, “into a sea of blackness.” “The March still ranks as one of the greatest moments of my life,” Terry says. “It was a spiritual awakening of the highest order … Amid the crowd was an air of total calm and peacefulness unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”
August 3, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
A letter from Hayden Carruth to Jane Kenyon, dated April 29, 1994. When Kenyon was dying of leukemia, Carruth wrote her almost daily, though he knew she was unable to respond. His correspondence is collected in Letters to Jane. Carruth, born on August 3, 1921, published poems in three issues of The Paris Review; he died in 2008.
I’m in the waiting area at the Washington National Airport with another hour before boarding for my flight to Syracuse. I hate this place, I hate it. Hatred has not been a prominent factor in my life, but in this particular place at this particular time it is. The weather here is INTOLERABLE, hot, hot, hot, and coming from Upstate New York I’m not dressed for it, wearing my faithful tweed jacket that I customarily use for readings. And I’ve had three glasses of house chardonnay in one of those little cubicles off the waiting area, the only place where one is permitted to smoke …
Well, I’ll insert a “poem” I wrote while I was having my coffee and so-called croissant: Read More »
February 4, 2014 | by Matthew Olshan
Remembering the National Air and Space Museum and the nation’s guilty conscience.
People think of Washington, D.C., as a transitory place—a city of four-year leases, tourists, and revolving doors—an impression that dates back to the earliest days of the federal capital. The city fathers, desperate to counter the District’s reputation as a provincial backwater, fought back by building monuments. Think of it as overcompensation, the attempt to create an illusion of age-old power. Why else plant a fifty-story Egyptian obelisk in the center of town?
For those of us who were born and raised in Washington, there was both a pride in living near the nation’s symbolic center and a nagging feeling that the city didn’t really belong to us. A drive down Massachusetts Avenue, past the mansions of Embassy Row, was a reminder of how much of the town was actually built on foreign soil. Even the parts that were supposed to be ours were somewhat foreign, in the sense that they belonged to the whole country. Our Fourth of July fairground was the National Mall; the church in which I sang was the National Cathedral; and our local museums were the Smithsonian Institution—the “Nation’s Attic.”
The museums were the best part of living in Washington. My friends and I took a proprietary interest in them. This might not be our town, exactly, but these were our museums, none more so than the National Air and Space Museum, which opened when I was nine years old and obsessed with outer space. Read More »
September 27, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
The Paris Review Whistle-stop Tour of 2010 (aka The Choo-Choo Revue) got off to an intimate start Saturday at Politics and Prose.
It was a shimmering semitropical September afternoon. The Washington sun was shining. So were the faces of the staff: Jonathan Franzen had come through the night before, drawing a crowd of a thousand and selling about as many books. Luckily, P & P had the foresight to reserve a nearby auditorium.
No auditorium was needed in our case—but the cream of the Beverly Court was in attendance. Noted artist Gay Gladding was full of praise for Tauba Auerbach, whose work she has admired since Tauba’s San Francisco days. Double-threat jazz clarinetist and tennis instructor Bob Greene was seen to trade phone numbers with TPR Daily tennis correspondent Lousia Thomas, in town to research her book Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family—A Test of Will and Faith. Dorothy Jackson, the doyenne of Washington event planners, sparked a spirited discussion of the literary magazine today. Actually, it was more of a monologue, but our old neighbors were indulgent. As were my parents.
Many thanks to Barbara Meade, co-owner of the store, and Mike Giarratano and the rest of their staff for their gracious welcome—and for excellent recommendations to read on the train.
September 25, 2010 | by Nicole Rudick