The Mann Booker Prize, 2014 Long List Announced

John le Carre on P. S. Hoffman and ‘A Most Wanted Man’

Here’s one of the world’s finest writers on Philip Seymour Hoffman and the filming of his novel ‘A Most Wanted Man.’

Rivers, a new poem from Neeli Cherkovski


For Nina Serrano


Sad to miss those

Crumbling riverbanks of the Yuba

Or the runic roar of

The Snake River

Up in Idaho

Eggs in the frying pan

Over dry branches

By the wet boulders

Caressed in circles of

Swift water

Strike a Diamond  brand match

And life begins anew


It’s all I have now

As the last light edge

Past a green hummingbird

On Bernal Hill


My deck is a cabin in the woods

The dog Orion at my feet

Attacking a twig

Low growl as parts

Of the world burns

to a crisp ruin


Rivers run over me

In this season of drought

I remember the Rhine

At its low point

And crossing the bridge

In Prague under the

Castle and Saint Vitus


Judy says Jorge Luis Borges

Is difficult, his Spanish

Rushes as we tread

But in Neruda the river

Turns into a red sunset

Over stinging American ice


Rivers and poets

Poems and memories

Prove this breeze miraculous

The rivers true


You decide

Why this river

Comes to divert us

From the cause


Why the old people

Fall into tributaries

Why words turn simple

Or complex

And forever before us

Like Orion’s Belt

Over a darkening earth


And how poets are

Moving, their swift aim

Caught in an under-song

Of desire and pride


I adore the common sound

Of rivers and

The empty gratitude

They engender

As drought plagues

The art of love

New Poem from Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

get by on silence


Can he be satisfied

sidetracked into biography again?


‘I tried to get by on silence

I ate my memory day by day

gathered sounds from the trees, the wind,

little bits of conversation on the subway,

the alleys of my youth—

when leaves and wet clothes hung from strings in back yards

overhead, over the sky, hiding clouds and tomorrows

and what could they say, the sayers and betrayers and deniers

and the intimates crying for you don’t need to know why

avoiding long lines and ash trays and this pill and that

for non-existent diseases and illnesses that no one wanted to treat.


‘I tried to get by on silence

and listen to the songs my friends made

to mend their visions

instead of echoes

instead of the credo and the pension

and the doorman

watching taxis zipping by like

the morning news and my own accumulated ignorance.’


He can’t let thinking lead him back to nowhere.


North Carolina’ s Poet Laureate, sort of

This is funny/interesting/strange on so many levels.  I am a big fan of the fact that the titles of this poor poet’s books are listed ungrammatically, proving once again there is no final injustice, just the latest in a long string of ‘em.


Harper Lee Responds to ‘The Mockingbird Next Door’

Harper Lee strikes back:

Truman Capote Was A Psychopath Says Harper Lee

Commentary on the forthcoming book about Harper Lee, The Mockingbird Next Door.

Great News for Mystery Fans: New Elmore Leonard Stories!

For all of us who have read every existing Elmore Leonard story, here comes some more:

Poet/Musician Patti Smith Wins Tribune Literary Award

The best news here is that there will be a sister volume to the wonderful Just Kids.

Authors’ Earnings Decline

Here’s a big surprise: