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Letters & Essays: 1960s

Letters & Essays of the Day

Apparent

By Beth Nguyen

When my son Henry was a year old I took him to Boston to meet my mother. She didn’t show up. It turned out that she had gone to Foxwoods Casino instead, which sounds bad and maybe was, but it had been three years since I’d seen her or even spoken to her; we wouldn’t see each other for seven more. I couldn’t blame her for trying her luck elsewhere.

An Anecdoted Topography of Chance

By Emmett Williams

In my (Tr. Note l.) room. No. 13 on the fifth floor of the Hotel Carcassonne at 24 Rue Mouffetard, to the right of the entrance door, between the stove and the sink, stands a table that VERA painted blue one day to surprise me. I have set out here to sec what the objects on a section of this table (which I could have made into a snare-picture) (see Appendix II) might suggest to me, what they might spontaneously awaken in me in describing them: the way SHERLOCK HOLMES, starting out with a single object, could solve a crime; (see Appendix III) or historians, after centuries, were able to reconstitute a whole epoch from the most famous fixation in history, Pompeii.

 

St. Louis Return

By William S. Burroughs

(ticket to St. Louis and return in a first class room for two people who is the third that walks beside you?) After a parenthesis of more than 40 years I met my old neighbor. Rives Skinker Mathews, in Tangier. I was born 4664 Berlin Avenue changed it to Pershing during the war. The Mathews family lived next door at 4660—red brick three-story houses separated by a gangway large back yard where I could generally see a rat one time or another from my bedroom window on the top floor. Well we get to talking St. Louis and “what happened to so and so” sets in and Rives Mathews really knows what happened to any so and so in St. Louis.

Malcolm Lowry and the Outer Circle of Hell

By Conrad Knickerbocker

The themes of Lunar Caustic, like unreliable demons, pursued Malcolm Lowry for most of his writing life. He first undertook the story in 1934, during his particularly black discovery of New York in his youth. The city, he once wrote a friend, “favours brief and furious outbursts, but not the long haul. Moreover for all its drama and existential fury, or perhaps because of it, it’s a city where it can be remarkably hard—or so it seems to me—to get on the right side of one’s despair...”