'Ninety Days' by Bill Clegg

Clegg has made relapse the subject and not recovery the subject. That self-proclaimed emphasis is this book’s great strength because the question posed from the very beginning of whether or not he’s going to do crack again or drink again is never really answered. In a large way, this is a book about not finding the answer, when most memoirs are poised to do the exact opposite… … read more

'Left-handed' by Jonathan Galassi

That a renowned editor and chief at a famous publishing house (Jonathan Galassi, Farrar Strauss & Giroux) should come out of the closet in middle age and be the subject of an article in The New York Times seems pretty odd in this day and age – particularly when the piece reads like a gossip… read more

'Touch' by Henri Cole

Can something true but unbearable happen out of the sense of wonder?  Is one addicted to the gaze that follows curiosity, however morbid?  I kept thinking about this idea while reading Henri Cole’s new book of poems, Touch.  What exactly constitutes wonder?  Is it casual, ordered, instinctual?  Is it considered wonder only when it ends… read more

Edward Albee: Pioneer Award Spotlight

“What I write is much more interesting than I am.” If Edward Albee had taken Fran Leibovitz’s advice (Why would you be a writer if you weren’t really good at it?) he would have never gotten around to writing the plays he is famous for: as he admits, he wasn’t a very good writer when… read more

‘The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse’ by Lonely Christopher

There’s this theory that activist and writer Eve Ensler and I talk about from time to time about people who are living in the world who are alive and people who are living in the world who are dead. Call it a way of looking at human beings that explains death not only as something… read more

'Radiant Losses' by Tony Leuzzi

More than anything lost, there’s a great and somewhat sad generosity in Tony Leuzzi’s second book of poems, Radiant Losses. I felt while reading these poems that no subject was off limits even when the domain was local: the stiff signature of suburban lawns or the lonely woman at the donut shop or the troubadour… read more

'Pleasure' by Brian Teare

The poems that Brian Teare writes always seem restless with language itself:  the words to say what as much as not being able to find the words at all; poems that exist, in a way, between language and utterance that makes them strangely formal—although I wouldn’t call him a formalist, strictly speaking. His newest book,… read more

'Finishing the Hat' by Stephen Sondheim

For Sondheim lovers—and like recovering alcoholics, we are legion—Finishing the Hat (Knopf) is far and beyond the most adroit and comprehensive look at the man and his music that has ever been written. Meryle Secrest and Martin Gottfried wrote biographies of Sondheim but both books were badly written and, more importantly, Secrest knew nothing about… read more