Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (re)posted Thomas Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush” to Slate. Discussion ensued, and became very lively when National Book Award winner Mark Doty observed that the poem contains an overt homage to an earlier poem by Keats. Guggenheim fellow Mark Halliday, MacArthur fellow Jim Powell and Annie Finch chime in. An opportunistic Billy Collins (also a former Poet Laureate & Guggenheim fellow) even showed up, attracted by the discussion of a “bird poem.” A fascinating look at some of the finest American poets geeking out over poems that were hits before your mother was born.
2. VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner Emily Wilkinson tells the National Book Critics Circle what she’s reading (M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation and The Simon Critchley’s The Book of Dead Philosophers, among other things.) And that’s just a week after finishing her dissertation. If I’d just finished my dissertation, I’d read nothing more challenging than the backs of Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes and old Garfield collections for a year. Clearly, a doctorate is not in my future.
3. Hank Paulson will be bailing out the publishing industry, or so claims Julian Gough on his behalf in the Times:
In these difficult times, leadership—and sacrifice—must start at the top. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and I are agreed it is imperative we take the bad books out of the system, and slowly work our way through these toxic assets. Yes, it will be painful; it will be difficult; but at times like this, the government must step in and perform its duty, as reader of last resort.
4. William Saffire spells out the difference between profanities, expletives, vulgarisms, and obscenities, something the media had to puzzle through when trying to explain the sins of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.