“Eye of the Beholder” by Danielle Livingston

By February 22, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Who is
more frightening:

the one who devours
by deceitful allure
or the one destroyed
wildly by beauty?

Most terrifying yet:
to be both.
Danielle Livingston recently self-published a book of poems titled Word Salad. She also works with the irregular literary magazine SEEMS as an assistant editor. Livingston will graduate with her bachelor’s degree from Lakeland University in May of 2017 with two degrees; one of which being Writing. Because of her slight insanity, she changed her minor, Psychology, into a second major. After Lakeland, Livingston plans on working towards her Master of Arts in Counseling or a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology.

Steff Bomb! E-Verse’s Favorite Plush Artist Signs Toy Deal

By February 20, 2017 Feature

Lynn and I are big fans of the work of plush artist Steff Bomb. We have a number of her creations in our home and hope to acquire more in time. It’s with great happiness and real admiration that we greet the news that she will be launching Steff Bomb Toys. She is wildly inventive and remarkably talented. Her creations are whimsical and also almost unreal to behold. They radiate intelligence, skill, and imagination. Her aesthetic standpoint? As she puts it, “I want to live in a cartoon but also be in outer space but also at the prom but also in a teenager’s bedroom.”

Check out the documentary below. You can learn more here. You can check out her Etsy store here. Here’s her web site. And here is the rest in her words:

The secret is out: I signed a toy deal, Steff Bomb toys will be real, and I’ve officially accomplished all of my life long dreams and goals.

I’ve partnered with an amazing company who trusts me and has given me complete artistic control. The people I’ve been working with are nothing short of the best. So supportive and just as passionate about what they do. My life is seriously a dream come true right now, which is pretty much every quote out of my mouth in their official press release.

I’ve spent the last 8 months secretly developing my first toy line, which will all be officially licensed pop culture toys. I’ve already made the prototypes for some Adventure Time toys, John Carpenter’s the Thing, Game of Thrones, Nintendo, and more. The prototypes were on display at a Toy Fair in NY this past weekend. I can’t wait to show you everything. I’ve been working non-stop, way more than usual. I totally went hermit-crazy but it’s all been so worth it. Minus the country falling apart around us, I am the happiest person in the world. This is my everything. This is it. I did it and I’m so proud of myself and I can’t wait to make the best stuff I’ve ever made


Steff Bomb from Mer Docs on Vimeo.

Here are some of her amazing creations!

We have this one!

We have this guy too. The asparagus comes with his own detachable spray paint can.

“The Devil in Grand Saline” by Michael Shewmaker

By February 20, 2017 E-Verse Universe, Feature

One never tires of the old tonks in Texas.
Tonight, while hunting for a souvenir,
I chased my second whiskey with a beer
and overheard a man whose girlfriend’s Lexus—
the one he bought—keeps turning up around
his son’s apartment. “Cooper, you can quote
me here. I’ll slit that little bastard’s throat.”
I laughed and ordered them another round.

“Something funny, stranger?”
“Well,” I said,
“I’ve heard that line before. It’s seldom true.”
“That so?”
“It is.”
He shot his Scotch and threw
the tumbler. “C’mon Coop. This place is dead.”
They skipped their tab and stumbled to his truck.

My dear, drunk Abraham—I wish you luck.

Michael Shewmaker is the recent winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and author of Penumbra (Ohio UP, 2017). His poems recently appear or are forthcoming in Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Sewanee Review, Poetry Daily, Parnassus, Oxford American, Narrative, and elsewhere. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he is a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford University.

“Meeting and Passing” by Robert Frost

By February 14, 2017 E-Verse Universe

As I went down the hill along the wall
There was a gate I had leaned at for the view
And had just turned from when I first saw you
As you came up the hill. We met. But all
We did that day was mingle great and small
Footprints in summer dust as if we drew
The figure of our being less than two
But more than one as yet. Your parasol
Pointed the decimal off with one deep thrust.
And all the time we talked you seemed to see
Something down there to smile at in the dust.
(Oh, it was without prejudice to me!)
Afterward I went past what you had passed
Before we met, and you what I had passed.

“Prayer Before Birth” by Louis MacNeice

By February 3, 2017 E-Verse Universe

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

Too Five MORE Trump-Era Vocabulary Words

By February 2, 2017 Feature

We’re in for four years of some major changes. One of them is new vocabulary. We’ve previously published five new vocabulary words of the Trump Presidency. But we felt we need some more! Here they are.

* * *

IOKIYAR: “IOKIYAR = It’s OK if you’re a Republican.” In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the term “doublespeak” refers to traits that are negative when your enemy has them, and positive when your side has them. Thus, Mitch McConnell wrote to Harry Reid in 2009 of the importance of each cabinet-level nominee having an ethics and financed review before Senate hearings that confirm them. In 2017, though, with Republicans controlling the Senate and for a Republican administration, Mitch McConnell is adamant that such review is not needed. And republicans heavily criticized Hillary Clinton for giving several speeches to Goldman-Sachs, presenting the connection as the utmost in corrupt politics. Then Trump turned around and appointed five people with strong Goldman-Sachs connections to high positions in his administration, including Steve Bannon, one of his closest advisers.

* * *

Seasteading: The latest fad for the international plutocratic libertarian. Create your own, lawless, taxless haven offshore. It used to be that oligarchs created their own gated communities. Then, it was enclaves in a state they could influence, like Montana. Then, it was offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Now, it’s seasteads. One of Trump’s sdvisors is an enthusiastic proponent of the seasteading movement.

* * *

Oligarchy: Government by a small group of wealthy business people. Many are calling Trump’s administration an oligarchy. He is the wealthiest president in history, and his cabinet is the wealthiest ever (net worth $6 to $14 billion, depending on who is doing the estimating). He has tended to select many business leaders, such as Betsy DeVos, who lacks training in her area and is not well-educated, but who has inherited/married into inherited wealth, which she has contributed in large amounts politically, likely resulting in her lofty nomination. The word “plutocracy” is often used to describe a similar kind of government. If interested in this issue, I recommend the book Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

* * *

Counter-semitism: The term “anti-semitism” has a bit of a branding problem. An “ick” factor. People hear it and it’s just a buzzkill. They stop listening to all of your otherwise no-doubt awesome arguments. So the marketing geniuses at your local Neo-Nazi website have rebranded anti-semitism by calling it “counter-Semitism.” Counter-Semitism is new and fresh and implies that the “counter-semites” are turning the tables against some force arrayed against them, like counter-terrorists or counter-insurgents or counter-intelligence. Many of the white supremacist (they’d say “White Nationalist”) fans of Trump are likewise fans of the new term. But what about when some self-respecting counter-semite wants to talk about “the Jewish Question” (or, as some prefer, “the Jew Question”)? People might mistake them for an anti-semite when really they’re just a Concerned Citizen. Well, there’s a word for that, too. Refer to the Jewish Question as “the J.Q” to keep your counter-semitism on the QT or the DL.

* * *

Kompromat: A Russian word for compromising material used by Putin for purposes of blackmail and other manipulations.

* * *

Extra! Reichstag Fire: I’ve heard people use this term in a few cases. I predict it will be used more but I can’t be sure. It refers to an arson fire in the German legislature building on Feb. 23, 1933. A Dutch communist was accused of the crime. Hitler used this as a pretext to pass through harsh laws and crack down on communists and his enemies, stirring up people’s fears in order to get them to not resist his initial fascistic laws. I predict Trump will have his own Reichstag fire—a situation that happens to occur or that he will exploit to gain more wealth and power.

Extra extra! Antifa: An abbreviation for “anti-fascist.” Apparently the word is used so much now that we need to abbreviate it lest we waste too much time.

“Listening Comprehension” by Maryann Corbett

By February 2, 2017 E-Verse Universe

A rubbernecking tourist of exotic rites,
I ambled out one Sunday to the Maronites,

one of four churches huddling worriedly together
in the old immigrant district, one to a corner.

This was the Arabic-language, not the English mass. (My lapse?
My fidget curiosity, perhaps.)

And in the pew, a songless alien in a foreign land,
muzzled, tongue-tied, I groped to understand,

mimicking motions, bending and unbending knees
(the hands folded on mine: the Middle Eastern peace)

but clueless to the words—except the name Allah,
still thorn-wreathed, in my ears, with the razor wire of war.

Grasping the thorn to worship what it named—
my own, my household God—I knelt, and was ashamed.


Maryann Corbett earned a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota and expected to be teaching Beowulf and Chaucer and the history of the English language. Instead, she spent almost thirty-five years untangling the sentences of lawyers at the Minnesota Legislature. She came back to poetry in 2006, and she’s now the author of three books of poetry and two chapbooks. Her newest, Mid Evil, won the 2014 Richard Wilbur Award from the University of Evansville Press. She is a past winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a past finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and the Able Muse Book Prize. Her fourth book, Street View, will be published by Able Muse Press in 2017.

Archibald MacLeish’s ‘The Fall of the City’, a Radio Play in Verse Starring Orson Welles and Burgess Meredith

By January 31, 2017 E-Verse Universe

On April 11, 1937, the Columbia Broadcasting System (today known as CBS) aired a 30-minute radio play written in verse by the American poet Archibald MacLeish called The Fall of the City. It was produced as part of the Columbia Workshop radio series and features performances by Orson Welles, Burgess Meredith, and Adeline Kline as well as music composed and directed by Bernard Hermann. Very few programs were broadcast nationwide in those days, but CBS made an exception for this unique production.

At the time The Fall of the City was written, Fascism was spreading across Europe. The Anschluss, the Nazis’ invasion of Austria, had not yet occurred but seemed imminent. MacLeish intended his play as an allegory on the rise of Fascism. He said the play was about “the way people lose their freedom” and also called the play, in part, a response to the America First movement of the 1930s. In The Fall of the City, the people of the city willingly surrender their freedom to a tyrant.

Though the city where the action takes place goes unnamed in the play, it was modeled after the city of Tenochtitlán, where, according to legend, a woman once rose from the dead to alert the city of the advancement of an enemy army, which is exactly what happens in The Fall of the City. However, in MacLeish’s world, this strange and ominous event is covered by international press and broadcast over the radio. The conceit of the play is that it is a breaking news story unfolding live as listeners tune into their radios. All of the action occurs in real time in a single location. MacLeish uses the radio announcer (played by Welles) as his narrator, a kind of Greek chorus. Much of the play consists of the people debating how they should respond to the coming event. When the conqueror finally arrives, the people surrender to hysteria and let him take the city unopposed. “Order must master us!” they proclaim; “Men must be ruled!” Only the announcer is able to see that, when the conqueror’s visor rises, his helmet is hollow inside: no one is there at all. The epiphany of the play belongs to him:

The people invent their oppressors: they wish to believe in them.
They wish to be free of their freedom: released from their liberty—
The long labor of liberty ended!
They lie there!

The first airing of the play was so successful that it was aired again two weeks later. Although broadcasters were not as efficient in the 1930s in measuring audiences as they are today, CBS concluded that MacLeish’s words were heard by over a million people, a feat that was very impressive for the time. The play was a great success with audiences, but it also succeeded as prophecy. About a year after the first airing, Hitler conquered Austria with barely a shot being fired.

You can listen to the original broadcast of the play through the video embedded below.

In 2009, WNYC produced a radio documentary on the 1937 production, which you can find through the link below.

“Fall of the City: Prophetic Classic” (Written, produced and directed by Sarah Montague and narrated by Radiolab host Jad Abumrad)


Ernest Hilbert Reads in DC for “Lunch Poems: Readings from The Hopkins Review”

By January 30, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Lunch Poems: Readings from The Hopkins Review

Featuring Ernest Hilbert, Helena Chung, Natalie Shapero, Erica Dawson, and Mark Halliday

The Loft @ Busboys and Poets
5th & K Streets
1025 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
PHONE: 202-789-2227

Date: Thursday, February 9th 2017

Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Order up some lunch and listen! Two blocks from the Marriott!




“On a Phrase of Thomas Merton’s” by Bill Coyle

By January 30, 2017 E-Verse Universe, Feature

the dank weather of Nazism

It has been raining for a thousand years.
Mold and moss and mushrooms fructify.
How long, we wonder, till the weather clears?

Nobody in authority appears
to know, nor will they speculate as to why
it has been raining for a thousand years.

Underground sources, though, say these are tears
the ghosts of other, long-dead races cry.
How long, we wonder, till the weather clears?

Not that we worry, really. Our engineers
have raised up walls unfathomably high.
It has been raining for a thousand years,

a steady drizzle, a whisper in our ears
bidding us despair, despair and die.
How long, we wonder, till the weather clears?

Panicked reports come in from the frontiers.
The walls are crumbling, they say. The end is nigh.
It has been raining for a thousand years.
How long, we wonder, till the weather clears?

Now That’s What We Call a Poetry Slam: “Miserable Failure” by Iron Reagan

By January 24, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Our New First and Second Families Have Been Given Secret Service Names, and Here They are . . .

By January 23, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Bethany brought us the Top Five Fun Secret Service Names (Henry Kissinger = Woodcutter, for instance) and the Top Five Secret Service Code Names for the 2016 US Presidential Race. Now we have a new president. This is what she has learned about the secret service’s code names for the Trump and Pence families.

Donald Trump: Mogul
Melania: Muse
Ivanka: Marvel
Donand Jr.: Mountaineer
Eric: Marksman (probably due to things like this and this and this and this)
Tiffany: Currently without protection, as befits her outcast status
Barron: Unknown
Mike Pence: Hoosier
Karen Pence, the second lady: Hummingbird

“The Improved Binoculars” by Irving Layton

By January 23, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Below me the city was in flames:
the firemen were the first to save
themselves. I saw steeples fall on their knees.

I saw an agent kick the charred bodies
from an orphanage to one side, marking
the site carefully for a future speculation.

Lovers stopped short of the final spasm
and went off angrily in opposite directions,
their elbows held by giant escorts of fire.

Then the dignitaries rode across the bridges
under an auricle of light which delighted them,
noting for later punishment those that went before.

And the rest of the populace, their mouths
distorted by an unusual gladness, bawled thanks
to this comely and ravaging ally, asking

Only for more light with which to see
their neighbour’s destruction.

All this I saw through my improved binoculars.


“Myth” by Muriel Rukeyser

By January 21, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the
roads.+++He smelled a familiar smell.+++ It was
the Sphinx.+++ Oedipus said, “I want to ask one question.
Why didn’t I recognize my mother?”+++ “You gave the
wrong answer,” said the Sphinx.+++ “But that was what
made everything possible,” said Oedipus.+++ “No,” she said.
“When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered,
Man.+++ You didn’t say anything about woman.”
“When you say Man,” said Oedipus, “you include women
too. Everyone knows that.”+++ She said, “That’s what
you think.”

“At the Tomb of the Unknown President” by Tom Disch

By January 20, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Here the virgins he could not devour
In his lifetime are stacked like logs
In the great cellblocks of his friendship:
Each face wrapped in a famous silence,
Each leal heart a lamp whose flame consumes
The bonds of bankrupt cities. We have gathered
Here today only to stare at, and restate
Our faith in an innocence surpassing
Mere event, more real than measurement.
His madness makes us great, for who has not
Wandered, lost and exalted, in the forest
Of his lies? Who, witnessing his slow
Ineffable decline, has not tasted
The rarest vintage of articulate grief?
He has made the blind to see, the lame to leap.
For these and other reasons it is our belief
He is divine. Tears are therefore inappropriate:
We are persuaded that his corpse shall rise.

Top Five New Vocabulary Words of the Trump Presidency

By January 19, 2017 Feature

In preparation for the Trump presidency, Bethany brings us a few new vocabulary terms we might find ourselves using.

* * *

5. Apophasis: To call attention to something by saying you won’t mention it. For example, Trump said he wouldn’t mention Bill Clinton’s sexual past at the second presidential debate. He then brought four of the women who have accused Bill Clinton, to the debate as his guests and held a press conference before the debate.

* * *

4. Paralipsis: To bring up a subject by saying you’re not going to bring it up. For example, Trump said, following one of the presidential debates, that “I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can’t do it,” Trump said in reply. “It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.” Which led all the news stories to mention what he wasn’t mentioning.

* * *

3. Kakistocracy: Government by the worst qualified or most unprincipled people. Yeah.

* * *

2. Emoluments: This means a salary, fee or profit from a government office. In this context, it is a reference to the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which reads: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

In other words, the President of the United States must not receive any profit from being president, in the form of special gifts, or tax abatements, or business dealings

* * *

1. Projection: This is in the psychological sense. People, especially those with narcissistic personality disorder or related issues, see in other people (falsely, in this context) the traits that they themselves possess but wish to deny. For example, someone who is a bully, and is cruel to other people, may be the first one and the loudest one to cause others of bullying. One of the more alarming and frustrating aspects of this is that the more they bully, the more they accuse the victims of their bullying of being bullies. And the crueler they get.

So, there you go. Good luck!

“When Will I Get to Be Called a Man?” by Big Bill Broonzy

By January 16, 2017 E-Verse Universe

Donald Trump: The Magazine of Poetry

By January 11, 2017 Feature

Publisher, bookseller, critic, blogger, and all-around polymath Henry Wessells is the man behind Donald Trump: The Magazine of Poetry, issued in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, The Magazine of Poetry, which was created in the 1960s by a group of science fiction writers that included J.G. Ballard and Tom Disch. Trump: The Magazine of Poetry includes my poem “Mars Ultor,” which has been read at the ongoing protests at Trump Tower. Click here to see New York bookseller Erin Mae Black reading my poem in the lobby at Trump Tower. I’m told that Eric Trump exited the elevator directly in front of her as she was reading it, so he has heard some of my verse (which is just kind of funny).

Legend has it that Wessells ignited fifty marshmallows before finding one that bore a striking resemblance to the 45th President of the United States. It does bear an uncanny resemblance.


The magazine opens with a gem by Dwight D:

America is a burnt marshmallow,

brown and black at the edges,

white and squishy in the interior.

In addition to verse and prose written in response to the unlikely and entirely disorienting (when not frightening and infuriating) rise of Mr. Trump, the magazine contains art, such as this lovely portrait by Molly Crabapple:


Donald Trump The Magazine of Poetry was published on Tuesday the 22nd of November, 2016, near 725 Fifth avenue in New York City.

Donald Trump The Magazine of Poetry. Illustrated throughout. Unpaginated, [24] pp. Oblong quarto (8.25 x 9 inches), Upper Montclair, New Jersey: Temporary Culture, 2016. Pictorial wrappers.

Contributors include: Christopher Brown, Brendan C. Byrne, Molly Crabapple, MJ Duffy, Ernest Hilbert, Nicole Neenan, Mark Singer, the John Sladek Society, H. Wessells, Michael Zinman.

$15.00 per copy ($25.00 foreign), payment by check payable to Temporary Culture, or via paypal to wessells [at] aol [dot] com.



“Capgras” by David Yezzi

By January 7, 2017 Feature

We talk
drink wine

& in

they look
so much
like our friends

the way
their eyes
light up
at the sight of us.

Look, the
low sun agrees,
moving over
their faces this

as the lamps
come on around
the neighbor-

& we
share with them
our stories
& our

It’s as if they’ve
known us now
forever, as
if we grew up

in this uncanny
valley, where all
our lives they’ve
loved us all
our lives.

“The Muse and the Auctioneer’s Gavel: Learning About Poetry from First Editions” by Ernest Hilbert

By January 6, 2017 Feature

The editors at Plume magazine in Canada asked me to supply a short piece on first editions of famous works of poetry for their Essays and Comment section. Many thanks to essays editor Robert Archambeau for soliciting the piece.

* * *

For a decade and a half I have worked more or less contentedly as a rare book dealer, roughly half the number of years I’ve devoted to being a poet, an equally eccentric pursuit. In that time I’ve had the pleasure of placing quite a number of extraordinary first editions of poetry into my clients’ collections. I am often asked what precisely makes a book “rare.” Why, for instance will one volume of poetry sell for $5 (a used copy of a recent title, something I would buy for myself), $50 (a first edition of Diane Wakoski’s 1966 Discrepencies and Apparitions signed by her along with a drawing in her hand), $500 (poet and translator Richmond Lattimore’s copy of the 1955 first edition of Elizabeth Bishop’s second book Poems: North & South and A Cold Spring), $5,000 (an inscribed 1926 first edition of Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues), while another might sell for $50,000 (a 1633 first edition of John Donne’s Poems by J.D. with Elegies on the Author’s Death), and yet another for well over $500,000 (Edgar Allan Poe’s impossibly rare 1827 first book of poetry, Tamerlane, authored by “A Bostonian,” which hammered at $662,500 at a 2009 Christie’s sale, a tattered and rather stained copy at that, but one of only 12 thought to remain from a print run of 50). While no easy answer concerning this sort of marketplace value will fully suffice, there are a few measures upon which one may fairly rely.

The historical significance of a book—which has much to do with cultural consensus and is subject to alteration—is perhaps the greatest determinant, as no other aspect will bear if the book is not thought important in the first place. The endless pull between a book’s desirability and its scarcity contributes enormously to its value as well. How many remain in the world, and how many in private hands? How many and what kind of collectors or institutions vigorously pursue it? Beyond these considerations one encounters bibliographical matters—state and issue points, most of which are imperceptible to the amateur, others scandalously contentious, others still evolving by comparison with newly discovered copies—and material attributes, such as overall condition, presence of original or early bindings, wide margins. There are also matters of  provenance—copies that come down through libraries of famous scholars, collectors, or friends of the author, and much else besides. To read a poem in its first edition delivers an experience akin to the “aura” that Walter Benjamin insisted an original work of art possesses—“the uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being embedded in the fabric of tradition”—and which is diluted through reproduction down the ages. It is quite something to read Paradise Lost in its first edition of heavy paper bound in centuries-old calfskin, quite another to do so with a footnoted, small-type, tissue-paper classroom doorstop. Whatever magic may have attached itself has flown.

Read on over at Plume.

“Two Portraits” by Ernest Hilbert in the Southwest Review

By January 3, 2017 Feature

My poem “Two Portraits” appears in the new issue of the Southwest Review alongside poems by Denise Duhamel, A.M. Juster, Mary Jo Salter, Gerard Malanga, and others. Follow the link to subscribe and read.


Two portraits lean on their stands and watch me.
The first frame, stained dark cherry, nicked pink
At its edges, clasps Dürer’s engraving,
“St. Jerome in his Study.” The bearded saint,
Bald and intent, gazes down on his own work,
Never aware of me, as a dog and human-
Faced lion doze beside his slippers.
The image’s coppery scintilla comfort me.

Light breaks from his pate like a borealis,
Serene as the light through his window.
The glass becomes a pool that swims
With reflected light, his study rippled under
Clear water, near enough, almost, to touch,
Like a drowned royal grave filled with sparks
And traces of an imagined world.

The other frame, cheap rusted metal, cocked,
Holds a fading black-and-white photograph
Of my father, raising me, a blond boy
Before a piano and a long board
Chalked with staves: Old melodies and high notes,
A wall of trills and delicate runes like
The antechamber of an ancient tomb.

The notes run up and up from left to right
Disappearing behind the great bear-form
Of my bearded father in striped tie and tweed.
He cups his big hands beneath my small legs.
Through his glasses—they reflect
The room and hide his eyes—
He watches me at my work.

The portrait once shone like a coffin set on end,
Dimming in time, depths flattened,
Still empty of its intended occupant.


Ernest Hilbert’s debut poetry collection Sixty Sonnets (2009) was described by X.J. Kennedy as “maybe the most arresting sequence we have had since John Berryman checked out of America.” His second collection, All of You on the Good Earth (2013), has been hailed as a “wonder of a book,” “original and essential,” an example of “sheer mastery of poetic form,” containing “some of the most elegant poems in American literature since the loss of Anthony Hecht.” His third collection, Caligulan (2015), has been called “brutal yet beautiful,” defined by “pleasure, clarity, and discipline,” “tough-minded and precise,” filled with a “stern, witty, and often poignant music,” “a page-turner in a way most poetry books can never be.” His fourth collection, Last One Out, will be published by Measure Press in 2018.

His poems have appeared in Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Sewanee Review, Hudson Review, Boston Review, Verse, New Criterion, The New Republic, American Scholar, Hopkins Review, Oxonian Review, and the London Review, as well as several anthologies, including the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (2009), The Incredible Sestina Anthology (2013), nd two standard Penguin classroom anthologies, Poetry and Literature (both 2011 with later editions since). He graduated with a doctorate in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly. While there, he studied with Jon Stallworthy—biographer of Wilfred Owen and Louis MacNeice and editor of the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry—and James Fenton, then Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He later served as poetry editor of Random House’s magazine Bold Type in New York City and head editor of Contemporary Poetry Review, published by the American Poetry Fund in Washington DC.

Hilbert supplies opera libretti and song lyrics for contemporary composers Stella Sung, Daniel Felsenfeld, and Christopher LaRosa. His most recent opera with Sung, The Book Collector, premiered at the Schuster Center in Dayton, Ohio in May 2016, with full orchestra, combined 3D and traditional sets, and ballet, made possible by New Music USA, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the ASCAP Foundation, and the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts. Hilbert is as a senior literature specialist at Bauman Rare Books in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, Keeper of the Mediterranean Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and their son, Ian, who was born in December 2015.

“A Song for New Year’s Eve” by William Cullen Bryant

By December 31, 2016 Poetry

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
+++++++Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
+++++++Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
++++++++++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
+++++++Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
+++++++For his familiar sake.
++++++++++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
+++++++Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
+++++++Because he gives no more?
++++++++++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
+++++++While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
+++++++How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
+++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
+++++++Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
+++++++Of all they said and did!
++++++++++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
+++++++And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
+++++++Oh be the new as kind!
++++++++++++++Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.


“The Music Crept By Us” by Leonard Cohen

By December 31, 2016 E-Verse Universe

I would like to remind
the management
that the drinks are watered
and the hat-check girl
has syphilis
and the band is composed
of former SS monsters
However since it is
New Year’s Eve
and I have lip cancer
I will place my
paper hat on my
concussion and dance

Books Read or Reread by Ernest Hilbert in 2016

By December 28, 2016 Feature

One thing I’ve learned about fatherhood is that the number of books one will have time to read in a given year plummets precipitously. Nonetheless, I managed a few.


George Saintsbury, A History of English Prosody from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day

Martha Stout, The Psychopath Next Door

Jason Zuzga, Heat Wave

Henry Wessells, Extended Range

Derf Backderf, Trashed

Barbara Pym, A Few Green Leaves

Joe Haldeman, The Forever War

John Berryman, 77 Dream Songs

Best American Comics 2015

Willard Spiegelman, Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Raymond Carver, Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories

Martin Amis, Yellow Dog

Robert Frost, West-Running Brook

Mary von Schrader Jarrell, Remembering Randall

Barbara Pym, Some Thin Gazelle

Kevin Durkin, Los Angeles in Fog

Mark Siegel, Sailor Twain

Claudia Rankine, Citizen

Derek Wilson, Calamities & Catastrophes: The Ten Absolutely Worst Years in History

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Tomas Transtromer, Selected Poems

Sandra Simonds, The Sonnets

B.J. Novak, One More Thing

Kegvin Doughterty, Ships of the Civil War

Jacque Tardi, It was the War of the Trenches

Hilton Als, White Girls

Pierre Veys and Carlos Puerta, The Machine Gunners’ Ball

Daniel Clowes, Patience

Will Self, Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys

George Saunders, Congratulations By the Way

George Saunders, The Very Persistant Gappers of Frip

David Foster Wallace, This is Water

Daniel Nester, Shader

Dave Eggers, Hologram for the King

Olena Kalytiak Davis, Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities

G. Gregory Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays

Saul Bellow, The Dean’s December

David Sedaris, Naked

Mario Vargas Llosa, Notes on the Death of Culture

Rebecca Foust, Paradise Drive

Donald Hall, Selected Poems

Thomas Hardy, Mayor of Casterbridge

Jim Harrison, River Swimmer

Saki, Chronicles of Clovis

Samuel Mitcham, Blitzkrieg No Longer: The German Wehrmacht in Battle, 1943

Jean Shephard, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

Dave Eggers, Zeitoun

Kinglsey Amis, The King’s English

Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry

Roberto Bolano, Last Interview

Charles Addams, Groaning Board

Roberto Bolano, Woes of the True Policeman

William Logan, Our Savage Art

George Puttenham, Art of English Poesy

Penolope Fitzgerald, Off Shore

John Berryman, The Sonnets

John Clegg, Antler

John Clegg, Holy Toledo

James Henderson, The Frigates

Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics

Robert Archambeau, The Poet Resigns: Poetry in a Difficult Time

Bill Ripley, Prisoners

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Tom Wolfe, In Our Time

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Jane Kenyon, Otherwise: New and Selected Poems

Jim Harrison, Dead Man’s Float

Gary Trudeau, Action Figure

Gary Trudeau, Yuge!

A.M. Juster, Billy Collins Experience

Henry James, Roderick Hudson

Hakan Sandel, Dog Star Notations

Anthony Arthur, Literary Feuds: A Century of Celebrated Quarrels, From Mark Twain to Tom Wolfe

Shirley Jackson, The Sundial

Ben Lerner, The Hatred of Poetry

J.V. Cunningham, Collected Poems and Epigrams

James Hilton, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Agatha Christie, The Hallowe’en Party

Chuck Klosterman, But What if We’re Wrong?

Owen King, Intro to Alien Invasion

Best American Comics 2016

Michael Dirda, Book by Book

Christopher Hitchens, And Yet . . Essays

Amy Clampitt, Westward

Frederick Seidel, Widening Income Inequality

Joe Ollman, Chewing on Tinfoil

Sylvia Plath, Colossus

Ange Mlinko, Marvelous Things Overheard

* * * 


Patton Oswalt, Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film

Robinson Jeffers, Selected Poetry

Henry Miller, Sexus

A. Poulin, ed., Contemporary American Poetry

David Ferry, Bewilderment

Richard Garrett, Clash of Arms, the World’s Greatest Land Battles

Donald Hall, Back Chamber

Joe Queenan, One for the Books

David R. Higgins, Jagpanther vs. SU-100

Lavinia Greenlaw, Minsk

Daniel Hahn, Poetic Lives: Shelley

Hunter S. Thompson, Screwjack

Algernon Blackwood, Tales of the Mysterious and Macabre

E.F. Benson, Collected Ghost Stories

Edith Wharton, Ghost Stories

Charles Dickens, Selected Short Fiction

P.G. Wodehouse, Ring for Jeeves

John Davie, trans. Horace, Satires and Epistles

John Dryden, Poetical Works

Niall Rudd, trans., Juvenal, Satires

Quincy R. Lehr, Dark Lord of the Tiki Bar

A.M. Juster, trans., Horace, Satires

Ben Greenman, The Slippage

R. S. Gwynn, Dogwatch

Honoré de Balzac, Droll Stories

Iain Haley Pollock, Spit Back a Boy

Karl Kirchwey, Engrafted Word

James Matthew Wilson, Some Permanent Things

Franz Kafka, Complete Stories

F. Marion Crawford, For the Blood is the Life and Other Stories

Charlotte Perkins Gillman, The Yellow Wallpaper

Jan Schreiber, Peccadilloes

Bram Stoker, Dracula’s Guest and Other Stories

W.W. Jakobs, The Monkey’s Paw and Other Stories

Henry James, Turn of the Screw

H.P. Lovecraft, Bloodcurdling Tales

Algernon Blackwood, Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories

John Suckling, Works

Ambrose Bierce, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

Washington Irving, History, Tales, and Sketches

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Selected Tales and Sketches

Guy de Mauppasant, Collected Stories

Edgar Allan Poe, Annotated Tales

Robert M. Bender, ed., Five Courtier Poets of the English Renaissance

J. Kirby-Smith, Celestial Muse, Poetry and Music through the Ages

Tales of 1,000 Nights, Volume 1

CA Conrad, Frank Sherlock, The City Real and Imagined

Rick Mullin, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle

Elizabeth Scanlon, Odd Regard

Frank Sherlock, Spaced Between these Lines Not Dedicated

Michael and Matthew Dickman, 50 American Plays

Richard Wilbur, trans., Moliere, Tartuffe

Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love

A.R. Ammons, The Really Short Poems

J.T. Barbarese, Black Beach

Steve Almond, Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Save Your Life

Charles Addams, Creature Comforts

Steve Martin, Shopgirl

Juliana Gray, Anne Boleyn’s Sleeve

Amy Glyn, Modern Herbal

Philip Larkin, Complete Poems, ed. Archie Burnett

James Booth, Philip Larkin: Life Art, Love

Joe Queenan, If You’re Talking to Me Your Career Must Be in Trouble

Penelope Fitzgerald, The Bookshop

Barry Unsworth, The Big Day

Julian Barnes, Sense of an Ending

Arthur Schnitzler, Casanova’s Return to Venice

Ben Lerner, 10:04

Robert Fagles, trans., Homer, Odyssey

Peter Bagge, Buddy Bites the Bullet

Stephen Burt, Belmont

Timur Vermes, Look Who’s Back

Jan Schreiber, Sparring with the Sun, Essays

George Orwell, The Clergyman’s Daughter

W.B. Yeats, The Plays

Callie Siskel, Arctic Revival

Christopher Ricks, True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound

Heinrich Boll, The Train Was on Time

H.T. Lenton, World War Two German Surface Vessels

George Saunders, Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Rick Geary, The Borden Tragedy (A Treasury of Victorian Murder)

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Lorenzo da Ponte, Memoirs

Chuck Klosterman, I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains Real and Imagined

Gary Snyder, This Present Moment

Langston Hughes, The Panther and the Lash

Charles Addams, Happily Every After

Ernest Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea

Rick Geary, The Bloody Benders (A Treasury of Victorian Murder)

Gary Snyder, Danger on Peaks

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Roan Ricardo Phillips, The Ground

Donald Hook, Madmen of History

Seymour Freidin and William Richardson, eds., Fatal Decisions: Six Decisive Battles of WWII from the Viewpoint of the Vanquished

Thomas Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Donald Tyson, The Necromonicon

Kenneth Munson, Fighters and Bombers of World War II, 1939-45

Martin Amis, Lionel Asbo

Christopher Hitchens, Arguably

Adrian Wood, Warships of the Ancient World

Raffaele D’Amato and Andrea Salimbeti, Bronze Age Greek Warrior 1600-1100 BC

Nic Fields and Donato Spedaliere, Troy C. 1700-1250 BC

Martin Dugard, Killing Patton

Justin Quinn, Early House

This is Spinal Tap, Official Companion

David M. Ewalt, Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It

Kevin Young, Book of Hours

Tomaz Salamun, Soy Realidad

Roberto Bolano, Nazi Literature in the Americas

Noah Van Sciver, Fante Bukowski

Lawrence Grobel, Conversations with Capote

Richard Mattheson, Hell House

Adrian Tomine, Killing and Dying

Gregory Waldon, Tigers in the Ardennes: The 501st Heavy SS Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge

Alice Goffman, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City

Jon Ronson, Them: Adventures with Extremists

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

John Berryman, Recovery, a Novel

Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

Stephen Crane, Great Short Works

Daniel Nester, How to Be Inappropriate

David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

David Foster Wallace, Girl with Curious Hair

Stephen Burn, ed., Conversations with David Foster Wallace

Ranjit Bolt, The Art of Translation

Burton Raffel, The Art of Translating Poetry

John Frederick Nims, Sappho to Valery

Albert Baugh and Thomas Cable, History of the English Language

David Crystal, Stories of English


  • Mark Lardas, Bonhomme Richard vs Serapis: Flamborough Head 1779
  • George Saunders, In Persuasion Nation
  • Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem
  • James Matthew Wilson, The Violent and the Fallen
  • Iain Banks, Wasp Factory
  • Christian Hawkey, Book of Funnels
  • Jean Shepherd, Fistful of Fig Newtons
  • Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her
  • Philip Larkin, High Windows
  • Shigeru Mizuki, translated by Jocelyne Allen, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
  • Anne Carson, Glass, Irony, and God
  • Geoffrey Hill, A Treatise of Civil Power
  • Ernst Junger, translated by Michael Hofmann, Storm of Steel
  • Rachel Kushner, Flamethrowers
  • Chris Bullard, Dear Leatherface
  • Randall Jarrell, Complete Poems
  • Ian Fleming, Moonraker
  • Willard Spiegelman, Seven Pleasures
  • David Mason, Sea Salt
  • Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems
  • Daniel Nester, editor, Incredible Sestina Anthology
  • James Longenbach, Art of the Poetic Line
  • Jessica Piazza, Interobang
  • Daivd Konow, Bang Your Head
  • Oxford Poetry, 100 Years
  • Robert Pinsky, Gulf Music
  • Alice Munro, Dear Life
  • Lydia Davis, Collected Stories
  • Robert Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker, History of Opera
  • Leo Tolstoy, translated by Rosemary Edmonds, Anna Karenina
  • Yoshida Mitsuru, translated by Richard Minear, Requiem for the Battleship Yamato
  • Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard
  • Carson McCullers, Member of the Wedding
  • William Todd Schultz, Tiny Terror: Why Truman Capote (Almost) Wrote Answered Prayers
  • Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, Soldiers: German POWs on Fighting, Killing, and Dying
  • LeRoi Jones, Dutchman
  • Edward St. Aubyn, Lost for Words
  • Saul Austerlitz, Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community
  • Jeff Smith and Jessica Abel, editors, Best American comics 2013
  • Christian Wiman, Hard Night
  • Nick Kent, The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music
  • Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jacques Tardi, West Coast Blues
  • Renata Adler, Speedboat
  • Joshua Mehigan, Accepting the Disaster
  • Quincy Lehr, Heimat
  • Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
  • Mary McCarthy, Groves of Academe
  • C. Hugh Hildesley, The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling at Auction
  • Brett Milano, Vinyl Junkies
  • David Barber, Wonder Cabinet
  • Harold Johnson and Jeff Leason, The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan : Advanced Dungeons and Dragons C1
  • William Shakeseare, Love’s Labor’s Lost
  • Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water
  • Frank Bidart, Watching the Spring Festival
  • JRR Tolkien, Two Towers
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Sonnets
  • ee cummings, Xaipe
  • Sharon Mesmer, Annoying Diabetic Bitch
  • Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • W.H. Auden, Look, Stranger
  • Jon Stallworthy, Survivors’ Songs: From Maldon to the Somme
  • Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
  • Homer, Robert Fagles translator, Iliad
  • Jim Harrison, Farmer
  • Siegfried Sassoon, Sherston’s Progress
  • Michael Robbins, Second Sex
  • Shirley Jackson, Haunting of Hill House
  • Hugh Cole, Battle of the Bulge
  • Joseph Kerman, Opera as Drama
  • Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan
  • Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever
  • Matthew Zapruder, Sun Bear
  • Christopher Buckley, But Enough About You: Essays
  • H.G. Wells, Invisible Man
  • Elisabeth Vincentelli, Abba’s Abba Gold (33 1/3)
  • Daniel Tobin, The Net
  • Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers
  • Daniel Clowes, Caricacture
  • Geoffrey Nutter, Rose of January
  • Scott McCloud and Bill Kartalopoulos, Best American Comics 2014
  • John Keegan, The Mask of Command: Alexander the Great, Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant, Hitler, and the Nature of Leadership
  • Donald Hall, Essays After Eighty
  • Chelsea Minnis, Poemland
  • Thomas Devaney, Calamity Jane
  • Kingsley Amis, Collected Poems

My basement library, poised to grow larger this year.

My basement library


  • Eric Rasmussen, The Shakespeare Thefts
  • Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus
  • Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
  • Devon Bixler, Notes for the Conquest
  • Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband
  • Sebastian Junger, War
  • Edgar Istel, The Art of Writing Opera Librettos
  • Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities
  • Alina Simone, Note to Self
  • Ann Charters, Portable Sixties Reader
  • Andrei Codrescu, The Poetry Lesson
  • John Keegan, War and Our World
  • Samuel Pepys, Days of Excess, excerpts from the diaries
  • Charles Bukowski, The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps
  • Joseph Epstein, In a Cardboard Belt
  • Christopher Hitchens, Missionary Position
  • Steve Zaloga, Japanese Special Attack Weapons: Kamakaze
  • Mark Stille, Italian Battleships of World War II
  • George Green, Lord Byron’s Foot
  • Christopher Isherwood, Mr. Norris Changes Trains
  • David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
  • George Saunders, Tenth of December
  • Joseph Epstein, Partial Payments
  • Quincy Lehr, Shadows and Gifts
  • Henri Cole, Touch
  • Susan Sontag, Under the Sign of Saturn
  • Gregory Gibson, Hubert’s Freaks
  • Paul Muldoon, Maggot
  • Brenda Shaughnessy, Our Andromeda
  • Neil Gaiman, American Gods
  • David Yezzi, Birds of the Air
  • George Saunders, Pastoralia
  • A.S. Byatt, Ragnarock
  • Mark Stille, USN Destroyer vs. ISN Destroyer, Osprey Duel Series
  • Shakespeare, Othello, Arden edition
  • George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone
  • Daisy Fried, Women’s Poetry
  • David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
  • Rick Gekoski, Lost, Stolen, or Shredded
  • Wallace Stevens, Selected Poems
  • Russell Davis, End of All Seasons
  • David Rothman, Part of the Darkness
  • Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
  • David Rothman, Book of Catapults
  • Deborah Baker, The Blue Hand, The Beats in India
  • W.G. Sebald, Natural History of Destruction
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest, Arden edition
  • Frank Bidart, Star Dust
  • Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station
  • Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Poems
  • Ian McEwan, In Between the Sheets
  • Gregory Dowling, David Mason
  • Ben Mazer, New Poems
  • Jonathan Franzen, Freedom
  • David Mason, The Country I Remember
  • George Saunders, Civil War Land in Bad Decline
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring
  • Andrew Hudgins, Clown at Midnight
  • Noel Botham and Bruce Montague, Catch That Tiger: Churchill’s Secret Order That Launched the Most Astounding and Dangerous Mission of World War
  • Norman Mailer, The Fight
  • John Betjeman, Nip in the Air
  • W.H. Auden, Cyril Connolly, Patrick Leigh-Fermer, Edith Sitwell, Christopher Sykes, Evelyn Waugh, and Angus Wilson, The Seven Deadly Sins
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
  • John Polidori, The Vampyre
  • Paul Gruskin, The Art of Modern Rock
  • Alexander McCall Smith, What Auden Can Do For You
  • Tom Disch, Dark Verses and Light
  • Paul Roland, Nazis and the Occult
  • Cyril Ray, ed., The New Compleat Imbiber
  • Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Ian Winwood and Paul Brannigan, Birth, School, Metallica, Death, Volume One
  • Matthea Harvey, Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form
  • The Ned Rorem Reader
  • Derf Backderf, My Friend Dahmer
  • Bruce Thornton, Guide to Classics
  • Randall Bytwerk, Paper War: Nazi Propaganda in One Battle, on a Single Day, Cassino, Italy, May 11, 1944
  • Tom Bissell, Magic Hours
  • Michael Kerrigan, World War II Plans That Never Happened 1939-45
  • John Ashbery, April Galleons
  • Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives
  • Seamus Heaney, Human Chain
  • David Brooks, The Paradise Suite: Bobos in Paradise and On Paradise Drive
  • Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Joe Sacco and Adam Hochschild, The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme
  • Ian Fleming, Live and Let Die
  • Genevieve Gauckler, Charles Freger and Robert McLiam Wilson, Wilder Mann


  • Jennifer Egan, Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Chris Bullard, O Brilliant Kids
  • Philip Pullman, Lyra’s Oxford
  • Dante, Purgatorio, Mandelbaum translation
  • Naomi Klein, No Logo
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Very Good, Jeeves
  • Frank O’Hara, Selected Poems
  • Martin Amis, War Against Cliche
  • Joe Bonono, Highway to Hell
  • Quotable Christopher Hitchens (cover to cover!)
  • Douglas Coupland, Life After God
  • Dan Leroy, Paul’s Boutique
  • Brock Clarke, Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
  • Charles Burns, X’d Out
  • Charles Dickens, Hard Times
  • Gonzague Saint Bris, World of Jules Verne
  • William Butcher, Jules Verne, Definitive Biography
  • Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days
  • Jules Verne, Five Weeks in a Balloon
  • Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Jules Verne , 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas
  • Robert Lowell, Near the Ocean
  • Bill Janovitz, Exile on Main Street
  • Peter Bagge, Buddy Does Jersey
  • Michael Robbins, Alien Vs. Predator
  • J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello
  • Chris Ware, Lint
  • Gordon Williamson, German Heavy Cruisers 1939-1945
  • Ian Mcewan, Black Dogs
  • Quincy Lehr, Obscure Classics of English Progressive Rock
  • Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds
  • Gordon Williamson, German Pocket Battleships, 1939-1945
  • Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
  • Ben Katchor, Cardboard Valise
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
  • William T. Vollman, Riding to Everywhere
  • A.E. Stallings, Olives
  • H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds
  • Daphne Carr, Pretty Hate Machine
  • Jack Gilbert, Dance Most of All
  • Joel Conarroe, editor, Eight American Poets
  • Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
  • Patrick Smith, Tenth Muse
  • Northrop Frye, editor, Sound and Poetry
  • David Mason, Scarlet Libretto
  • John Addington Symonds, Essays Speculative and Suggestive
  • Musical Antiquary, Volume I
  • John Hollander, Vision and Resonance
  • David Lehman, Fine Romance
  • Virgin Thompson, Music with Words
  • Gary Schmidgall, Literature as Opera
  • James Anderson Winn, Unsuspected Eloquence: A History of Relations Between Poetry and Music
  • Aristotle, Poetics, Malcolm Heath translation
  • Philip Rupprecht, Britten’s Musical Language
  • Paul Kilda, edtior, Britten on Music
  • Derek Williams, Romans and Barbarians
  • W.H. Auden, Selected Essays
  • Gerry Cambridge, Notes for Lighting a Fire
  • J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
  • Michel Houellebecq, Map and the Territory
  • John Carey, Pure Pleasure
  • Richard Evans, The Third Reich at War
  • Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Arden edition
  • Graham Greene, Brighton Rock
  • Otto Skorzeny, Skorzeny’s Special missions
  • M. Owen Lee, Wagner’s Ring: Turning the Sky Round
  • J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Don Delillo, Cosmopolis
  • Roberto Bolano, The Third Reich
  • Tom Wolf, A Man in Full
  • Seth, George Sprott
  • Mark Lardas and Peter Dennis, CSS Alabama vs USS Kearsarge: Cherbourg 1864
  • Ken Ford, Howard Gerrard, Alan Gilliland, and Paul Wright, Run The
  • Gauntlet: The Channel Dash 1942
  • Jehanne Dubrow, Stateside
  • Catie Rosemurgy, My Favorite Apocalypse
  • Thomas Devaney, Series of Small Boxes
  • Michael Dickman, End of the West
  • Michael Dickman, Flies
  • Rupert Matthews, Hitler as Military Commander
  • Henri Cole, Blackbird and Wolf
  • Peter Bagge, Everyone is Stupid But Me
  • Josh Sims, Icons of Men’s Style
  • Ronald Latham, ed., Travels of Marco Polo
  • Shriley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Roberto Bolano, 2666
  • Seamus Heaney, Seeing Things
  • David Yezzi, Tomorrow and Tomorrow
  • Bejamin Anastas, Too Good to Be True
  • Steven Zaloga and Tony Bryan, Lorraine 1944: Patton Vs Manteuffel (Campaign Series, 75)
  • Yann and Romain Hugault, The Grand Duke
  • Best American Comics 2012
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
  • Ezra Pound, The Cantos
  • William Cookson, Guide to The Cantos
  • Charles Burns, The Hive


  • William Langewiesche, The Outlaw Sea
  • Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22
  • Seamus Heaney, The Haw Lantern
  • Nicholson Baker, Anthologist
  • Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist
  • Don Thompson, The $12,000,000 Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
  • Howard Nemerov, Collected Poems
  • Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking
  • Seamus Heaney, Field Work
  • Patton Oswalt, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
  • Malcolm Bradbury, The History Man
  • Bruce Bawer, Prophets and Professors
  • Gregory McNamee, Return of Richard Nixon
  • Wesley Stace, Charles Jessold Considered as a Murderer
  • Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
  • Rae Armantrout, Versed
  • Zadie Smith, On Beauty
  • Michael Chabon, Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  • William Burroughs, The Job
  • Stevyn Zaloga, Panther Vs. Sherman
  • A.N. Wilson, Tolstoy
  • Ted Hughes, Lupercal
  • Rachel Wetzsteon, Silver Roses
  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, translated by Rosemary Edmonds
  • CA Conrad, Book of Frank
  • David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
  • Phil Hoy, Seven American Poets
  • Christopher B. Krebs, A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich
  • Joan Didion, White Album
  • Tina Fey, Bossypants
  • Nikki Sixx, Heroin Diaries
  • A. E. Hotchner, The Good Life According to Hemingway
  • Cyril Edwards, trans, Nibelungenlied, Oxford Classics
  • Henry Miller, Black Spring
  • Martin Amis, Moronic Inferno
  • Alan Bennett, Uncommon Reader
  • Shakespeare, MacBeth, Yale series
  • Philip Larkin, Whitsun Weddings
  • Philip Larkin, High Windows
  • Saul Bellow, Herzog
  • Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
  • Justin Taylor, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever
  • John Carey, Pure Pleasure
  • Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
  • Ian McEwan, Cement Garden
  • Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity
  • Muriel Spark, Far Cry from Kensington
  • Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  • Adrian Tomine, Scenes from an Impending Marriage
  • Christian Lander, Whiter Shades of Pale
  • Christopher Buckley, Florence of Arabia
  • George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Songs of the Damned
  • Jacques Barzun, The Culture We Deserve
  • William Kennedy, Ironweed
  • Max Brooks, World War Z
  • H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines
  • Joseph Epstein, Life Sentences
  • Justin Quinn, Close Quarters
  • Barnaby Conrad, Martini, An Illustrated History
  • Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader
  • Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library 1
  • David Higgins, King Tiger Vs. IS-2
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula
  • Kingsley Amis, Green Man
  • Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary
  • Jason Guriel, Pure Product
  • Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murad, trans. Maud
  • Leo Tolstoy, Kreuzer Sonanta, trans. Maud
  • Samuel Manashe, New and Selected Poems
  • Gabriella Ibieta, ed, Latin American Writers
  • Anthony Preston, World’s Worst Warships
  • Robert Desaix, Night Letters
  • Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt, trans Christopher Fry
  • Kim Deitch, Alias, Cat
  • Best American Comics 2011
  • Mark Stille, Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships
  • Richard Ford, Women with Men
  • Erik Davis, Led Zeppelin IV
  • Thomas Foster, 25 Books that Changed America
  • Richard Humble, Hitler’s High Seas Fleet
  • Muriel Spark, The Finishing School
  • Clive James, Opal Sunset, New and Selected Poems


  • Sinclair Lewis, Babbit
  • William Logan, Whispering Gallery
  • Best American Comics 2009
  • Best American Comics 2010
  • Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl
  • William T. Vollman, Europe Central
  • Evelyn Waugh, Scoop
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • William Logan, Strange Flesh
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Hey, Rube
  • Frederick Seidel, Collected Poems
  • Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil (various translators, New Directions)
  • Frederick Exley, A Fan’s Notes
  • Calvin Tomkins, Lives of the Artists
  • Paul Siegell, Wild Life Rifle Fire
  • Katy Evans-Bush, Oscar and Henry
  • Dave Sim, Glamourpuss
  • Alvaro Mutis, Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, translated by Edith Grossman, five novels:
  • The Snow of the Admiral
  • Ilona Comes with the Rain
  • The Tramp Steamer’s Last Port of Call
  • Abdul Basher, Dreamer of Ships
  • Tryptich on Sea and Land
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
  • P.J. O’Rourke, Holidays in Hell
  • Kevin Prufer, Fallen from a Chariot
  • Harvey Pekar, The Beats
  • Rutu Modan, Exit Wounds
  • Kenneth Rexroth, Thirty Spanish Poems of Love and Exile
  • Mark Dawson, Solitary Conversations
  • Anna Akhmatova, Selected Poems
  • Maurizio Catelan (Phaidon), by Francesco Bonami, Nancy Spector,
  • Barbara Vanderlinden, and Massimiliano Gioni
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Complete Stories
  • Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye
  • Jill Essbaum, The Devastation
  • The Complete Graphic Work of Jack Levine, Kenneth W. Prescott and Emma-Stina Prescott
  • William S. Burroughs, The Ticket that Exploded
  • Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Superfreakonomics
  • David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  • Horace, Odes and Epodes, Joseph Clancy, trans
  • Anton Joachimsthaler, The Last Days of Hitler: Legend, Evidence and Truth
  • David Sedaris, When You are Covered in Flames
  • Damion Searls, What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going
  • Daisy Fried, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again
  • Sapphire, Push
  • James Thurber, Credos and Curios
  • Robert Lowell, Collected Prose
  • Joshua Ferris, The Unnamed
  • Paul Johnson, Modern Times
  • Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore
  • Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King
  • Victor Davis Hanson, The Father of Us All
  • John O’Hara, Appointment in Samara
  • T.S. Eliot, The Confidential Clerk
  • Donald Hall, White Apple and the Taste of Stone, New and Selected
  • Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
  • Ian McEwan, Solar
  • Evan Thomas, Sea of Thunder, Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945
  • Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons, Peter Carson, trans
  • David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp
  • Lester Bangs, Mainlines, Bloodfeasts, and Bad Taste
  • David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
  • Christopher Buckley, Supreme Courtship
  • Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
  • Alan Powers, Front Covers
  • Martin Amis, The Information
  • Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms
  • Graham Annable, Further Grickle
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Better Than Sex
  • Edwin Gaustad, Ben Franklin
  • Martial, Epigrams, William Matthews, trans
  • Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
  • Tao Lin, Shoplifting from American Apparel
  • Philip Roth, American Pastoral
  • John Foy, Techne’s Clearinghouse
  • Robert Lowell, Notebook (Red)
  • T.C.F. Hopkins, Confrontation at Lepanto
  • Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, David Yezzi, ed.
  • Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities
  • Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
  • J.L. Carr, Month in the Country
  • Steve Mateo, Let It Be
  • Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What’s Left of It
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick
  • Matthew Zapruder, Come On All You Ghosts
  • Nicholas Basbanes, Among the Gently Mad
  • Thomas Aylesworth, Monsters from the Movies
  • Peter Bagge, The Bradleys
  • Tony Horwitz, A Voyage Long and Strange
  • David Sedaris, Holidays on Ice
  • A.M. Homes, This Book Will Save Your Life
  • Dan Breithaupt, Aja (33 1/3)
  • Mark Polizzotti, Highway 61 Revisited
  • Jane Smiley, Charles Dickens
  • Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  • Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
  • Robert Stern, Kriegsmarine
  • Seamus Heaney, North
  • Timothy Donnelly, The Cloud Corporation
  • John Ashbery, Notes from the Air
  • Julia Wertz, Drinking at the Movies
  • W. Somerset Maugham, Razor’s Edge
  • Jay McInerney, How it Ended
  • Robert Lowell, Lord Weary’s Castle
  • Hunger S. Thompson, Curse of Lono
  • Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato
  • W.D. Snodgrass, Not for Specialists
  • Philip Hoy, W.D. Snodgrass in Conversation
  • Rachel Wetzsteon, Home and Away
  • Michael Reck, Ezra Pound, a Close-Up
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gambler (Hugh Aplin translator)
  • William Burroughs, Place of Dead Roads
  • Kay Ryan, Niagara River
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
  • Tom Wolf, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  • Matthew Zapruder, The Pajamaist
  • Jill Alexander Esbaum, Heaven
  • Pictopia, Volume One
  • Andi Watson, Slow News Day
  • Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift
  • Mountain Man Dance Moves, by the editors of McSweeney’s
  • Annie La Ganga, Stoners and Self-Appointed Saints
  • Daniel Clowes, Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron
  • Franz Wright, Wheeling Motel
  • Tom Wolf, The Right Stuff
  • Plato, Trial and Death of Socrates
  • Jon Stallworthy, War Poet
  • John Danielle, Master of Reality
  • Esquire Handbook of Style, by the editors of Esquire
  • Batton Lash, Tales of Supernatural Law
  • Robert Jackson, The World’s Great Battleships, from the Middle Ages to the Present
  • Gillian G. Gaar, In Utero
  • Christopher Buckley, Boomsday
  • Heather Green, No Omen
  • Kaya Oakes, Slanted and Enchanted: the Evolution of Indie Culture
  • Daniel Clowes, Eightball
  • Richard Ford, Multitude of Sins
  • David Cross, I Drink for a Reason
  • Anthony Thwaite, Ruins of Time
  • Peter Bagge, Buddy Does Seattle
  • Paul Fussell, Bad, or the Dumbing of America
  • Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur
  • Theresa Ortolani, Endurance
  • Ethan Rilly, Pope Hats One
  • Donald Barthelme, Flying to America
  • John Updike, Pigeon Feathers
  • Allison Hoover Bartlett, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
  • Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw
  • Jamie McKendrick, Crocodiles and Obelisks
  • Peter Bagge, Everyone is Stupid Except for Me
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water
  • Ian McEwan, Comfort of Strangers
  • Sharon Olds, The Father
  • Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
  • John Updike, The Complete Henry Bech
  • New British Poetry, edited by Don Paterson and Charles Simic
  • John Updike, Bech at Bay
  • Jason Shinga, Bookhunter
  • Geoffrey Brock, Weighing Light
  • Tim Clayton, Hogarth
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  • Craig Arnold, Made Flesh
  • Danny Sugerman, Appetite for Destruction
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point
  • Jason Lutes, Berlin, Book Two
  • Hugo Wilkes, Low
  • Craig Arnold, Shells
  • Douglas Coupland, Generation X
  • Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet
  • Tony Horowitz, Confederates in the Attic


  • Tom Wolfe, I am Charlotte Simmons
  • Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word
  • George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Bait and Switch
  • Ben Katchor, Beauty Supply District
  • Charles Burns, Big Baby
  • George Orwell, Why I Write
  • Tom Wolfe, In Our Time
  • Tom Wolfe, Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
  • Kimball and Kramer (eds.), Lengthened Shadows
  • Amy Clampitt, Westward
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Blink
  • Robert Crumb, R. Crumb’s America
  • Gay Talese, The Gay Talese Reader
  • W.H. Auden, Academic Graffiti
  • Gabrielle Bell, When I am Old
  • Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party and Other Stories
  • Cusquena Paintings in the Churches of Cusco [no author]
  • Mario Vargas Llosa, Feast of the Goat
  • Mario Vargas Llosa, Death in the Andes
  • Garcilaso de la Vega, The Royal Commentaries
  • Sarah Hannah, Inflorescence
  • T.S. Eliot, Prufrock and The Waste Land, annotated by Valden James Madson
  • Adam Kirsch, Invasions
  • Adam Kirsch, The Modern Element
  • Hal Sirozitz, Before, During, and After
  • E.A. Robinson, Selected Poems
  • Dana Goodyear, Honey and Junk
  • Davis McCombs, Dismal Rock
  • Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House
  • David Mason, Ludlow
  • Lynn Levin, Imaginarium
  • George Plimpton, The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair
  • Tom Wolfe, Hooking Up
  • Tom Wolfe, The Pumphouse Gang
  • Jenny Holzer, The Venice Installation
  • Philip Roth, Everyman
  • Simon Armitage (translator), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Robert Lowell, Life Studies
  • Robert Lowell, For the Union Dead
  • Erica Dawson, Big-Eyed Afraid
  • Ernest Hemingway, Across the River and into the Trees
  • Drawn and Quarterly Showcase Volume One
  • Drawn and Quarterly Showcase Volume Two
  • Harvey Pekar, Another Day
  • Lester Bangs, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
  • Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
  • Keith Gessen, All the Sad Young Literary Men
  • John Ashbery, A Worldly Country
  • Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts
  • Nathanael West, Day of the Locust
  • Sophie Hannah, Pessimism for Beginners
  • P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves
  • J.D. Salinger, Nine Stories
  • Mark Jarman, Unholy Sonnets
  • W.H. Auden, As I Walked out One Evening
  • Mary Jo Bang, Elegy
  • Henry Taylor, Brief Candles
  • Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up
  • Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt
  • J. Allyn Rosser, Foiled Again
  • David Leaf (ed.), KISS, Behind the Mask
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Luck of the Woosters
  • George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
  • Henry Miller, Quiet Days in Clichy
  • Johannes Steinhoff, Final Hours
  • Tom Disch, About the Size of It
  • T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party
  • Charles Simic, A Wedding in Hell
  • Charles Bukowski, The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain
  • Jay McInerny, Model Behavior
  • W.S. Di Pierro, Brother Fire
  • Chuck Palahniuk, Snuff
  • Simon Armitage, Selected Poems
  • David Davies, Nelson’s Navy
  • Kevin Huizenga, Curses
  • Eavan Boland, Outside History
  • Joshua Ferris, And then We Came to the End
  • Jeanette Winterson, Boating for Beginners
  • Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
  • Sarah Vowell, Party Cloudy Patriot
  • Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn
  • Michael Quadland, That Was Then
  • Tom Disch, Castle of Indolence
  • Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo
  • Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation
  • Tom Disch, Castle of Perseverance
  • Tom Disch, Camp Concentration
  • Greg Sanders, Motel Girl
  • D.H. Lawrence, Birds, Beasts, and Flowers
  • Howard Griffin, Conversations with Auden
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  • The Upanishads
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear
  • Ben Katchor, Julius Kniple, Real Estate Photographer
  • Jonathan Ames, The Alcoholic
  • Henry James, The Ambassadors
  • Paul Fussell, Class
  • Christian Landor, Stuff White People Like
  • Drawn and Quarterly Showcase, Volume Four
  • Robert Lowell, Lord Weary’s Castle
  • Jason Lutes, Berlin: City of Stones, Part One
  • Gahan Wilson, Monster Collection
  • Charles Addams, Half-Baked Cookbook
  • Robert Frost, Versed in Country Things
  • Stewart O’Nan, Last Night at the Lobster
  • Wendell Stacy Johnson, W.H. Auden
  • Frederick Seidel, Cosmos Trilogy
  • Philip Larkin, Jill
  • Joseph Epstein, Narcissus Leaves the Pool
  • S. Eddy Bell, Lulu and Mitzy, Best Laid Plans
  • David Yezzi, Azores
  • Paul Siegell, Poemergency Room


  • Alistaire Horne, The Age of Napoleon
  • Philip K. Dick, Selected Stories
  • Henry Reed, The Auction Sale, introduction by Jon Stallworthy
  • Tony Hoagland, What Narcissism Means to Me
  • Catullus, Odi et Amo, translated by Roy Arthur Swanson
  • Jennifer Omand, Squarecat Comics, Volume One
  • Mark Steyn, America Alone
  • W.H. Auden, About the House
  • Michel Rabagliati, Paul Moves Out
  • Jon Stallworthy, Body Language
  • Marilyn Taylor, Subject to Change
  • George Herbert, Selected Poems, edited by R.S. Thomas
  • Eric Pankey, For the New Year
  • Lynn Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves
  • C.K. Williams, The Vigil
  • Gustave Dore/Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • C.K. Williams, Flesh and Blood
  • Frank O’Hara, Meditations in an Emergency
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores
  • Chris Ware, Quimby the Mouse
  • Ovid, Amores, translated by Peter Green
  • Morri Creech, Field Knowledge
  • Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga
  • Par Lagerkvist, The Dwarf
  • August Kleinzahler, The Strange House Travelers Keep
  • Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
  • Robinson Jeffers, Selected Poems
  • Frederick Seidel, Going Fast
  • Joshua Beckman, Shake
  • G.M. Hopkins, Poems
  • Debra Ginsberg, Waiting
  • Philip Larkin, Girl in Winter
  • W.H. Auden, The Double Man
  • Scott Donaldson, E.A. Robinson, A Life
  • Sam Lipsyte, Home Land
  • Gilbert Hernandez, Sloth
  • Peter Porter, Selected Poems
  • Lynn Truss, Talk to the Hand
  • James Merrill, Water Street
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior
  • Justin Quinn, Fuselage
  • Justin Quinn, The O’o’a’a Bird
  • James Merrill, Braving the Elements
  • Michel Houelbecq, Possibility of an Island
  • Chuck Klosterman, IV
  • Peter Young, English Civil War Armies
  • Adrian Tomine, Summer Blonde
  • Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
  • Dana Gioia, Barrier of a Common Language
  • Raymond Carver, Ultramarine
  • Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli
  • Dana Gioia, Interrogations at Noon
  • Dana Gioia, Daily Horoscope
  • William T. Vollman, Poor People
  • Harold Brodkey, This Wild Darkness
  • Bob Dylan, Chronicles I
  • H.L. Hix, Surely as Birds Fly
  • Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon, Pride of Baghdad
  • Thomas Lux, The Cradle Place
  • Andrew Marvell, Poems, with drawings by Kurt Roesch
  • Rodney Jones, Transparent Gestures
  • Michael Schmidt, Great Modern Poets
  • David B., Epileptic
  • Scott Morse, Southpaw
  • Adrian Tomine, Stories, the Best of Optic Nerve
  • Philip K. Dick, Man in the High Castle
  • X.J. Kennedy, Cross Ties, Selected Poems
  • Adriane Tomine, Optic Nerve, #-
  • Jeffrey Brown, Cat Getting Out of Bag
  • Seamus Heaney, District and Circle
  • Joe Queenan, Queenan Country
  • James Merrill, Country of a Thousand Years of Peace
  • W.D. Snodgrass, Not for Specialists, New and Selected Poems
  • Charles Bukowski, Come On In!
  • Jeffrey Brown, Clumsy
  • Bill Coyle, God of this World to His Prophet
  • Eavan Boland, Selected Poems
  • Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians
  • Jack Wiler, Fun Being Me
  • Jeffrey Brown, Every Girl is the End of the World for Me
  • Jan Schreiber, Orvietto, wood engravings by William Rueter
  • Don Paterson, Landing Light
  • David Jones, The Sleeping Lord
  • John Ashbery, Can You Hear, Bird?
  • Marilyn Taylor, Seven Very Liberal Arts
  • Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women
  • James Fenton, Children in Exile
  • Wendy Cope, Serious Concerns
  • Major Jackson, Leaving Saturn
  • Lawrence Durrell, Justine
  • Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan, eds., A Passion for Books
  • William Logan, Reputations of the Tongue
  • Wendy Cope, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
  • Seamus Heaney, New Selected Poems
  • Charles Simic, Walking the Black Cat
  • Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces
  • Richard Wright, Native Son
  • William Logan, Vain Empires
  • Joe Matt, Spent
  • Jeffrey Brown, Unlikely
  • Henry James, Washington Square
  • Sharon Olds, Satan Says
  • Jeffrey Brown, Miniature Sulk
  • Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio
  • Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
  • Justin Quinn, Waves and Trees
  • Charles Bukowski, Women
  • Rebecca Wolff, Figment
  • Par Lagerkvist, The Sybil
  • Charles Bukowski, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument
  • Until the Fingers Being to Bleed a Bit
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos
  • Joshua Mehigan, The Optimist
  • William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
  • Charles Simic, Book of Gods and Devils
  • John Ashbery, Houseboat Days
  • Philip Roth, My Life as a Man
  • Yvor Winters, In Defense of Reason (includes The Morality of PoetryThe Experimental SchoolPoetic ConventionPrimitivism and DecadenceThe Influence of Meter on Poetic ConventionMaule’s CurseThe Significance of Hart Crane’s The Bridge)
  • Hart Crane, The Bridge
  • Scott Miles, Trenches
  • John Knowles, A Separate Peace
  • W.D. Snodgrass, Make Believes, Verses and Visions
  • Jeffrey Brown, Big Head
  • Jeffrey Brown, Any Early Intimacy
  • Elizabeth Dieffendorf, Books of the Century
  • David Horowitz, Indoctrination, U.
  • P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores
  • James Merrill, Scattering of Salts
  • Joshua Furst, Short People
  • Robert Coover, Pricksongs and Descants
  • Sarah Hannah, Longing Distance
  • William Faulkner, Light in August
  • Flannery O’Connor, Complete Stories
  • Seth, Vernacular Drawings
  • Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
  • Ernest Hemingway, True at First light
  • Paul Muldoon, Horse Latitudes
  • C.P. Cavafy, Poems
  • John Ashbery, The Tennis Court Oath
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor
  • Robert Coover, Pricksongs and Descants
  • Toni Morrison, Sula
  • Jeanette Winterson, Stone Gods
  • Best American Comics 2008
  • Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
  • Henry Green, Loving
  • Charles Bukowski, The Roominghouse Madrigals

From “Christmas Oratorio” by W.H. Auden

By December 28, 2016 Poetry


Well, so that is that.
Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes—
Some have got broken—and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week—
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted—quite unsuccessfully—
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
“Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake.”
They will come, all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God’s Will will be done,
That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.


He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.

He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.

He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.

“Skeptic Christmas” by Jules Laforgue (Trans. by Kate Flores)

By December 22, 2016 E-Verse Universe

Noel! Noel? I hear the bells in the night . . .
And I to these faithless sheets have put my pen:
O memories, sing! All my pride flees me,
And by my vast bitterness I am overcome.

Ah! these voices in the night singing Noel! Noel!
Bringing me from the nave which, out there, is lighted
A motherly reproach so tender, so sweet
That my heart, too full, breaks in my breast . . .

And I listen long to the bells in the night . . .
I am the pariah of the human family,
To whom in his squalid hole the wind
Brings poignant rumor of a far festivity.


“A Christmas Sonnet (For One In Doubt)” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

By December 22, 2016 E-Verse Universe, Feature

While you that in your sorrow disavow
Service and hope, see love and brotherhood
Far off as ever, it will do no good
For you to wear his thorns upon your brow
For doubt of him. And should you question how
To serve him best, he might say, if he could,
“Whether or not the cross was made of wood
Whereon you nailed me, is no matter now.”

Though other saviors have in older lore
A Legend, and for older gods have died—
Though death may wear the crown it always wore
And ignorance be still the sword of pride—
Something is here that was not here before,
And strangely has not yet been crucified.

Ernest Hilbert reviews Scott Donaldson’s biography of E.A. Robinson.

“Save all the Toys for the Little Rich Boys”: “Father Christmas” by The Kinks

By December 20, 2016 Music Video


“Christmas in Black Rock” by Robert Lowell

By December 18, 2016 E-Verse Universe, Poetry

Christ God’s red shadow hangs upon the wall
The dead leaf’s echo on these hours
Whose burden spindles to no breath at all;
Hard at our heels the huntress moonlight towers
And the green needles bristle at the glass
Tiers of defense-plants where the treadmill night
Churns up Long Island Sound with piston-fist.
Tonight, my child, the lifeless leaves will mass,
Heaving and heaping, as the swivelled light
Burns on the bell-spar in the fruitless mist.

Christ Child, your lips are lean and evergreen
Tonight in Black Rock, and the moon
Sidles outside into the needle-screen
And strikes the hand that feeds you with a spoon
Tonight, as drunken Polish night-shifts walk
Over the causeway and their juke-box booms
Hosannah in excelsis Domino.
Tonight, my child, the foot-loose hallows stalk
Us down in the blind alleys of our rooms;
By the mined root the leaves will overflow.

December, old leech, has leafed through Autumn’s store
Where Poland has unleashed its dogs
To bay the moon upon the Black Rock shore:
Under our windows, on the rotten logs
The moonbeam, bobbing like an apple, snags
The undertow. O Christ, the spiralling years
Slither with child and manger to a ball
Of ice; and what is man? We tear our rags
To hang the Furies by their itching ears,
And the green needles nail us to the wall.

“Ars Poetica #58” by Alexander Long

By December 15, 2016 E-Verse Universe

In the latter stages of her dementia,
My mother, in a moment of clarity
In the home calmly recounted a “trip,”
As she called it, within her mind: Christmas,
We’re gathered at the table, wine is passed,
Turkey is tender and carved, bowls of mashed yams
And stuffing, candles, sweaters, smiles, warmth…and
It’s so gloriously serene and “right,”
She said, “it was disgusting.” She shared this
With me before the last regimen
Of meds took her even further away.
“At this dinner,” she said “the laughter grew
And our voices raised the joy only families
Are able to raise, never duplicate
Elsewhere….” Then, she stopped, grabbed my hand, held it
For fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes.
Maybe an hour, I don’t remember.
All I can feel now is her hand in mine.
Think of that. How long have you held the hand
Of the person you love and hate the most,
The irreplaceable one? If you
Claim it to have lasted more than twenty
Minutes, no one will believe you. I don’t
Expect you to believe me. But, listen
To my mother’s story. Take her pain
And make it your own, like an undertaker
Beautifies a body. Now, join my mother
And me in the home. Watch her hold my hand.
Listen to her tell me she was fighting
That Christmas with a violence no one could
Comprehend. Listen to her say she knew
She’d eventually lose, to what, she never
Said. Listen: “not a doubt about that one.”
Listen: “I need to feel that warmth I made
That Christmas before my mind removes me
From it.” Watch her take her hand from mine.
Or has her hand been taken from her?
Which is the right voice? Her hands fold
In a fierce gesture of prayer, then loosen.
She’s turning to me, calling my name.
She’s opening a poem for me again.
Alexander Long has published four chapbooks, most recently The Widening Spell (Q Avenue Press, 2016) & Lunch with Larry (Q Avenue Press, 2014). Long has also published three full collections of poems, most recently Still Life (White Pine Press, 2011). His essays examining the poetry of Larry Levis, among other things, can be found at The Offending Adam, Smartish Pace, & Valparaiso Poetry Review, all of which are available online.