Category Archives: Writers

Edgar Allan Poe v. Haruki Murakami

Without creative flexibility, I wouldn’t allow this bout in my jurisdiction. And who but a sadist could disagree? As a teenager Edgar All Poe sometimes swam and long jumped vigorously but for two decades alcohol, opium, and heaven knows what else have shredded his body and soul, and it’s certain the inherent chemicals in his […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Boxing, Edgar Allan Poe, Haruki Murakami, Japan

Nobel Prize Knockout

That evening in Mexico City I witnessed a historical confrontation or, rather, a sucker punch in the dastardly vein of Pearl Harbor. At the time, as a callow young man teaching English in the exotic capital, I understood nothing of the significance of the event, and no one could have known – though some scholars […]

Also posted in Barcelona, Boxing, Colombia, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Marriage, Peru, Sex

Heavyweight Scholars at War

It was only a teaser, that’s all it was, the video and article on a boxing website about actor Rip Torn hammering would-be thespian Norman Mailer on his crown and thereafter grappling with the bloodied writer as the latter’s wife cursed Torn and his children cried to cease hostilities. The august site of online pugilistic […]

Also posted in Boxing, Charles Manson, Ernest Hemingway, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, Rip Torn, Truman Capote, William F. Buckley, William Faulkner, World War II

Philip Seymour Hoffman

don’t want whole beer only half enough to fall

Also posted in Alcohol, Drugs, Heroin, Movies, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Poetry - GTC, Truman Capote

Syrian Composer Speaks

My name’s Malek Jandali. I compose classical music, play the piano in concerts around the world, and am an artist who loves everyone, though this Sunday afternoon, in the same Hammer Museum theater where I’ll perform tomorrow, I’m not discussing international harmony; I’m talking about mass murder in Syria. The town where I was raised, […]

Also posted in Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Computers, Hafez al-Assad, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Malek Jandali, Middle East, Mona Simpson, Music, Steve Jobs, Syria

Gunter Grass Writes Poem about Israel

Criticize Gunter Grass not for being anti-Semitic, which he isn’t, but for choosing the wrong medium to present “What Must Be Said” about the dangers and inequities of Israeli foreign policy. In the second stanza Grass is poetic rather than precise in stating Israel plans “a strike to snuff out the Iranian people.” The descendents […]

Also posted in Germany, Gunter Grass, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Nuclear Weapons, Submarines

Over Written

novels over written short stories over written poetry

Also posted in Poetry - GTC

In the Blue House

It can’t be too late. This is a meeting so compelling and mandatory that all rules, technicalities, and encumbrances must be ignored. It doesn’t matter they are dead. It doesn’t matter they never knew each other. It doesn’t matter they were married. It matters only that the proper time be chosen, a common instant that […]

Also posted in Art, Diego Rivera, Ernest Hemingway, Frida Kahlo, Painters, Short Stories - GTC, The Bold Investor

Hemingway Fifty Years Dead

Early morning on a July second Ernest Hemingway, battered by decades of alcoholism, assailed by a brain injured in one car and two plane crashes, haunted by a lifelong fear of inherited mental illness and certain that it and rapid aging had forever rendered him paranoid and defeated, quietly arose from a bedroom separate from […]

Also posted in Art, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, France, Julian Barnes, Movies, Pablo Picasso, Paris, Woody Allen

Maligned Character in “Townie” Challenges Andre Dubus

An acquaintance who’s a stripper in the hardscrabble Merrimack River valley north of Boston recently invited me to her club to meet a man called Devin Wallace in the memoir “Townie” by Andre Dubus III, son of the esteemed short story writer, now deceased, and himself an author of three novels and a collection of […]

Also posted in Andre Dubus, Boston, Housing, Marriage, Massachusetts, Movies, Neighborhoods

Spring Break in Cuba

In the twilight of their lives the once-intransigent Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, have begun behaving in at least moderately encouraging ways. Fidel recently summoned writer Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine and told him President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was outrageous for demanding the destruction of Israel and a nincompoop for continuing to insist […]

Also posted in Angola, Baseball, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ernest Hemingway, Ethiopia, Fidel Castro, George Thomas Clark, Havana, Health, Holocaust, Iran, John F. Kennedy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mickey Mantle, Nicaragua, Nikita Khrushchev, Raul Castro, Roger Maris, San Francisco, Travel, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey

Poe at the Gentleman’s Magazine – Part 11

Edgar Allan Poe, despite working for Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, seemed not to understand the implication of my being William E. Burton: I paid ten dollars a week, more than sufficient compensation starting in June 1839, and expected him to be a dutiful and deferential editorial assistant.  I realized many readers considered Poe brilliant, particularly after […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Roderick Usher Assails Edgar Allen Poe – Part 10

My family and I are profoundly distressed by Edgar Allen Poe’s recent short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”.  We, who so often said yes when this forlorn orphan begged to visit, now learn he considers our home “melancholy” and one which pervades his spirit “with a sense of insufferable gloom.”  Had Poe […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Virginia Clemm and Edgar Allan Poe – Part 9

I hated gossip about Eddy living with his “child cousin.”  I wasn’t a child but a young lady only three months short of fourteen.  Eddy still made sure our marriage bond said I was twenty-one.  That afternoon in May 1836 a smiling minister married us in our boarding house.  My mother and our landlord and […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Poe the Editor and Family Man – Part 8

When Aunt Maria’s mother died her pension was also buried and that night Edgar Allan Poe raged to dig it up.  Aunty and Virginia guided him into bed from which he two days later arose dazed but determined to be responsible.  Aunty had become his real mother and Virginia, though only age thirteen, was already […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Aunt Maria Clemm Nurtures Poe – Part 7

Eddie was a sweet boy who loved me and my young daughter Virginia.  He tried to help but except selling a young slave I’d inherited he couldn’t make any money for us despite writing hours a day.   Our best prospect was John Allan, and sometimes I wrote him Eddie deserved to do well and would […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Henry Poe – Part 6

Not critically but with pride I suggest that for his third book, Poems, Edgar had copied some of my stanzas.  I also concede I might have borrowed some of his.  I couldn’t guarantee much in the spring of 1831.  Once, I had appeared an impressive big brother, donning the uniform of a merchant marine and […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Poe the Scholar and Soldier – Part 5

In person I may have addressed my foster father John Allan as Pa but in my heart and with others I called him a tyrant who, despite his wealth, denied sufficient funds for dignified survival at the University of Virginia, sentencing me to dress inelegantly and use my own hands to tidy my room.  Fellow […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Poe the Athlete – Part 4

I’m head track coach at a major university and have trained some of the finest young athletes in the world.  I don’t recruit anyone lacking potential to place high and score points in important meets.  That I explained to members of a literary society when they presented physical data about Edgar Allan Poe.  He was […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Foster Father of Poe – Part 3

Convinced of my correctness I sailed from Scotland to America at age sixteen and immediately began as a clerk in the Richmond tobacco company of my Uncle William Galt.  The old bachelor was the wealthiest man in Virginia but kept me tight to business and doted on his four adopted children and four more he […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health

Keeping Hemingway Alive till 109

Never had I craved anything so much as this strange and alluring task.  Thousands of other doctors were clamoring for the opportunity but many piously claimed personal considerations were more important still.  That disqualified them, I am sure.  Only a man obsessed was fit to lead a scientific revolution, and only I was poised to […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Ernest Hemingway, Mental Health, Suicide

Eliza Poe – Part 2

In more than thirty years representing actresses I had never received such an astonishing application.  At first, naturally, I considered it a hoax.  Eliza Poe, claiming to have been born more than two centuries ago in England, wrote that she most urgently needed to meet me.  Ordinarily it is difficult approaching impossible to get through […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health, Theater

Exhumation of Edgar Allan Poe

Baltimore, MD – During forty years of torment Edgar Allen Poe was orphaned, shunned by foster parents, dismissed from the University of Virginia because of indigence, dishonorably discharged from West Point, underpaid by editors, beset by depression and other organic ailments of the brain, mired in poverty, torn by feuds personal and professional, widowed when […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Depression, Edgar Allan Poe, Mental Health, Short Stories - GTC, The Bold Investor

Two Letters to Norman Mailer

In 1988 I was struggling with alcohol and substance abuse.  I doubt I would write two letters like these now, as I near my tenth anniversary of sobriety, but from a literary standpoint it’s certain I should exhume some of the anger that follows and put it on paper. May 10, 1988 Dear Norman, I’ve […]

Also posted in Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer Embraces “The White Negro”

Of thousands of piquant opinions I fired into the literary firmament one of the last was that the Internet is the most wretched invention since masturbation.  Nevertheless, in my new world of decidedly more restricted options, I was thankful to be given a few hours online to read tributes and broadsides that followed my earthly […]

Also posted in Norman Mailer

Hunter Thompson and Mental Health

Since Hunter Thompson put a gun in his mouth and shot himself last week, I’ve been digging deep into the Internet and reading lots of articles about him.  The first wave of stories commended his hard-punching, eye-gouging, “gonzo” style of insightful political writing in such books as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Kingdom […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Drugs, Hunter Thompson, Mental Health, Suicide