Category Archives: Art

On the Film Version of Dave Eggers’s “The Circle” and a Nod to Cormac McCarthy’s Essay “The Kekule Problem: Where Did Language Come From?”: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

So I’m not in the habit of beating dead horses (though I did once write a scene in which a couple got romantic while leaning up against one, but that’s a different story), and I don’t bother to review or … Continue reading

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On William Gay’s “Little Sister Death”: a Novel That Puts the P in Posthumous

So I should begin by the admission that I’m a diehard William Gay fan, and have been for years, ever since reading his first novel—The Long Home (1999), which was edited/published by none other than my own editor, Greg Michalson—though … Continue reading

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A Postmortem on Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” and What’s That Aron Ralston Dude Up to Now?

So apparently Aron Ralston—the solo rock climber who cut his own arm off when trapped by a boulder, as portrayed in James Franco’s 127 Hours (2010)—has run afoul of the law, to the tune of “domestic violence,” which hopefully did … Continue reading

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On Being in the Center of Everything, With a Nod to the Master, Vladimir Nabokov

So I’ve just returned to my home in State College, Pennsylvania, a name that must rank high on a list of Least Imaginative Monikers, but it does have an odd distinction: It’s (more or less) exactly in the center of … Continue reading

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Life Over Tech in Santa Fe and Beyond

So it seems I haven’t had a minute to blog in the last couple weeks, mainly from being too busy with “real” life—as opposed to the virtual world we often live in these days—in a visit to Santa Fe, New … Continue reading

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John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” Finally to be Filmed, With Zach Galifianakis playing the Inimitable Ignatius Reilly

So one of the funniest American novels EVER is about to (finally) make it into a film version (in which Hollywood will no doubt muck it up, but so it goes): John Kennedy Toole’s (infamous) A Confederacy of Dunces (1980), … Continue reading

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Further Reflections on Scenes Cut From the Film Version of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” Or Films You Wish You Had Seen, and Some You Wish You Had Not

So being a diehard Cormac McCarthy fan (and more than just a little bit suspicious), I feel the hand of God or Fate or Providence in the fact that one of my students this semester was an actor (Baby Eater … Continue reading

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Did William Gay Really Write His Books? Meddlesome Neighbors Want to Know

So there’s an obituary of Southern Gothic master Wiliam Gay in last week’s daily NY Times (Feb 29th) that I almost missed, which has a few illuminating details and quotes, such as describing his novel Twilight (2006) as “textbook Southern … Continue reading

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Death of an MFA Program, an Insider’s View

So as is becoming known throughout the university world and blogosphere, Penn State cut the funding for its MFA program, of which I’m the director, and we’ve chosen to cease admitting new students, rather than expect them to pay many … Continue reading

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Christo’s Next Art Project, “Over the River,” Gets Approved, and Will Be in My Backyard

So there’s good news for art lovers of the world: Installation-art guru Christo has finally got approval for his project titled “Over the River,” which will be located about twenty short miles north of my Colorado home, on the Arkansas … Continue reading

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