“75 at 75,” a special project from the 92nd Street Y in celebration of the Unterberg Poetry Center’s seventy-fifth anniversary, invites contemporary authors to listen to a recording from the Poetry Center’s archive and write a personal response. Here, Chris Kraus reflects on Mary McCarthy’s reading, in November 1963, from her novel The Group.
Mary McCarthy took the stage of the 92nd Street Y to thunderous applause on a brisk Sunday in November 1963. She was fifty-one and wearing an elegant white dress. “One thing that gave me the courage to go on with this book, which I was working on since 1952, was reading the first chapter of it out loud here,” she said before she began. “And the audience liked it. And I took it up again after this reading I gave that night, for good or ill. So. Uh … I’m assuming that, uh, most people here have read this book, and I don’t have to explain who the characters are, or what happened before. Is that true? No?” The audience laughs. “Is somebody kidding?” Read More