- A negative review of David Lehman’s Oxford Book of American Poetry by Marjorie Perloff. Her expertise, her vast knowledge of the field and, most importantly, of the anthologies of the field, allows her to compare his approach against others. His attempt to side-step identity politics in favor of aesthetic criteria is revealed to have serious blind spots and deficits of its own. (That passive is weird--I don't have the patience or energy to rise to Perloff's operatic grandeur. I don't have the knowledge to do anything other than stand back and admire. The review has great power--but I'm powerless to put my finger on its source. I think it's because Lehman is trying to sidestep a p.c. approach and she attacks him on other grounds where the easiest thing to have done would have been to call him out for not beign p.c.--a charge he anticipates.)
- A very funny account by Michael Greenberg of the monthly polyamory meeting down in the West Village: “I pull The Kreutzer Sonata from my shelf, Tolstoy’s diatribe against sex, to read on the subway ride downtown…:”
- A great review of Claire Messud, whose book awaits.
- A strong review of Rachel Cusk, too, whose book sounds good, but I read Tom Perrotta’s Little Children already. Do I really need another book about how dull it is to be a mom in the suburbs?
- A totally gorgeous photo of Miriam Makeba in the “In Brief” pages.
Somehow, more than any other book review, reading through a week's TLS makes me feel smart and hopeful. It's that New Year's Day feeling I sometimes get: the one in which I actually believe that I'm going to be the better person of my resolusions.