What Makes Good Writing Good?

This was the question posed in a blurb article in the back pages of Atlantic Monthly's January/February 2006 issue. Is it the ornate phrasing of William Gay? The surprising descriptives of Ron Hansen? The underlying irony and wit of Ian McEwan? The mood-evoking narrative of David Guterson? Storytelling and character development are paramount, of course, […]

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Power of the Pen

This too is a month late, but the trial of Orhan Pamuk has been halted. Pamuk, the preeminent Turkish author, has played j'accuse with the Turkish government, claiming genocide of Kurds and Armenians. Trying a writer of Pamuk's stature is clearly a bitter pill for the Turkish government, and a testimony to the power of […]

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Best Reads of the Year

One of the advantages of being this late with a "Best Books of 2005" list is that you have the opportunity to do something unique. So here are the most enjoyable books I've read this year. Some are classics I’ve come back to; others may be a year or two old, others hot off the […]

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More on poetry

Before I let poetry drift away for awhile, I want to expand a bit on things I wrote in my last post. To begin, I have to go back some fifteen years, to the date of my one and only published chapbook. The publisher told me, "Bob, I'm delighted to publish your work, but you […]

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Baby beats and other things

I was probably feeling guilty for allowing poetry to slip from my literary attention, so my wife and I decided to attend a local poetry happening in town, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Allen Ginsburg's Howl. The evening featured readings by local and internationally known poets, an excellent jazz trio adding aural color. […]

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