Author Archive

An Aquarium in Paris

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Sinking down the basement steps of the Palais Porte Dorée in Paris is to find it much as it was in its inaugural year. The hulking Art Deco palace was a centerpiece of the 1931 Colonial Exposition—a World’s Fair-type undertaking meant to reinvest French citizens of the interwar period

Untethered Text: The Rise and Fall of Olive Oatman

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A life of reading often produces the waking sensation that you have seen a ghost. The spectrum of your experiences multiply, your emotional range balloons, you experience déjà vu by virtue of the lives you’ve lived, shared, or been privy to on the page.

As From My Window I Sometimes Glance

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Lately, I spend a lot of time gazing out my window. In quiet moments with a cup of coffee and the whole day unspooling before me, I sit on the ledge looking at the street below and think of Alicia Ostriker’s poem, August Morning, Upper Broadway.

Lilies in the Yard: On Getting Away

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I reread Sylvia Plath this summer on a fairly remote island off Ireland’s Connemara coast. Plath had been there once in September of 1962. She and Ted Hughes accepted an invitation from the Irish poet, Richard Murphy, to visit him at his home in the country’s heralded west.