Herman Melville Archive
The frolicking of sailors aboard a ship’s deck reminds Herman Melville of young horses, which might lead him to the “gambols” of whales. In associations such as these, Melville shows us the incongruities and false gilding we add to life in order to make it more palatable, less terrifying.
How does the idea of the “wild” manifest itself in the lives, and ways of living, that contemporary America remains both fascinated by and deeply ambivalent about?
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.
Though Bartleby, the Scrivener was published in 1853 and documents a world that’s vastly different from our own, it’s a strangely prescient text. The words and situations may be dated, but the sentiment feels familiar: it’s a horror story you’d expect to hear in our era of modernity.
By now you’ve probably read about the 2015 Best American Poetry scandal. For the uninitiated, the story goes like this: the anthology comes out with a contributor note by the editor, Sherman Alexie, which states that one of the poets included in the anthology, Yi-Fen Chou, is actually the
Here’s the story of my first and only encounter with Harold Bloom. It was the first week of a new semester, my last semester of graduate school, and I was waiting in a stuffy seminar room packed with sharply dressed undergraduates. The luckiest students had secured seats around the grand
Angela Pelster is the author of Limber (Sarabande Books, 2014), for which she won the Great Lakes College Association New Writer Award. This book was first described to me as a “collection of essays about trees,” which is like saying Moby Dick is a book about a whale. Trees
Every once in awhile a book comes across my desk that I read and can’t believe hasn’t blown up bigger already. Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen is the thing I’m big on right now, a novel about the dangers of being a girl in contemporary Narco Mexico, narrated
When I was a kid, I would spend hours drawing maps of fictional towns. Sometimes, it would start with a river running down the page; other times, a mountain. Each street I added carried a name. Construction would continue over time: homes, schools, hospitals, even sport stadiums (Melville, home