Two summers ago, I went to a reading that the poet Paul Muldoon was giving in a black box theater on the third floor of a nondescript building in Hell’s Kitchen. He read from a galley of his 2010 collection of poems, Maggot, and marked copy errors with a pen as he went along. John Ashbery joined him, reading handwritten translations of Rimbaud scrawled out on a yellow legal pad. There were mice scurrying around and about 20 people in the room, who were polite and subdued. A month later I interviewed Mr. Muldoon, who has been The New Yorker‘s poetry editor since 2007, over the course of two days, at Robert Frost’s farm in Ripton, Vt., where he summers. On the second night, we attended a bluegrass festival at the foot of a mountain, which attracted the kinds of backwoods crowds that drive to concerts in beat-up RVs and all-terrain vehicles. We must have heard four renditions of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Mr. Muldoon heckled the bands by shouting, “Go electric!”
I was only vaguely taken aback, then, when I received an email from him in June that read: “I think we need to continue our tradition of going to cheesy shows. Aerosmith and Cheap Trick on July 24? P.”
When Bob Dylan joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on the stage at Shea Stadium for an encore late on Oct. 4, the cheers and stomps shook the stands like an X-Box game controller. There in the same venue where the Beatles had made rock ‘n’ roll history, two of the most charismatic Read More
A somewhat angry young man for a somewhat angry age .
Wouldn’t it be a good laugh if people in the clergy were forced to make an honest living? “Hello, my son.” “Shut up and pump the gas, padre.”
Solet’s look through the old deskdrawer. Somestring. Why’d I put that there? An old key. Read More
In 1931, George Orwell published “A Hanging,” his eyewitness account of an execution at a prison in Burma. Reading the story is like getting a series of stiff jabs to the head, and the first one comes as the guards lead the doomed man from his cell to the gallows. The author noticed that “in Read More
The calendar said Election 2002, but across the television dial, Nov. 4 felt more like Turn Back the Clock Night. NBC’s Tom Brokaw wore a gray suit that could have fit snugly on David Brinkley, and pleaded with his audience to be patient for national poll results. CBS’s Dan Rather leaned forward in his Buzz Read More