Homage to the master, William Zinsser

Period. Over. Life has come to a full stop for America’s famous writing coach William Zinsser. He died at his home in Manhattan on May 12 at the age of 92.

William Zinsser: On Writing Well
William Zinsser: On Writing Well

He was in his early 80s when he came out with the revised and expanded 30th anniversary edition of his bestseller, On Writing Well: A Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, in 2006.Continue Reading

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

The Norton Anthology of Poetry
The Norton Anthology of Poetry
The Norton Anthology of Poetry is one of the best and most comprehensive collections of English poems from Old English to the present day. I was going through the poems after reading about the death of the literary critic MH Abrams.

Abrams, who died on April 21 at the age of 102 in Ithaca, New York, was the founding editor of the Norton Anthology of Literature, first published in 1962. He was also an adviser to the editors of the Norton Anthology of Poetry. Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter and Jon Stallworthy acknowledge his contributions in the preface to the book.Continue Reading

e.e.cummings and Sylvia Plath

e.e.cummings
e.e.cummings
I remember the thrill of reading e.e. cummings for the first time in probably the last year of high school, in a paperback centennial edition of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury. It was mindblowing. He was so different from the poets we had to read in school. The difference started with the author’s byline, set in lower case.  He was so playful, playing with words, images, arrangements of lines; he made poetry fun. The wordplay, verse arrangement, punctuation, everything caught the eye. If you were young and liked the Beatles back then, he was your poet — like the Beats and the Liverpool poets, only older. He belonged to an earlier generation, but was definitely hip.Continue Reading

Postscript to World Book Day

Gutenberg
Gutenberg

What would have Gutenberg thought of Kindle books? Insubstantial books weightless as air you can read only on a slim handheld computer screen. Books you can’t open, shut, or leaf through with your hands, which you can’t underline or jot notes on, which won’t rest on your tummy when you curl up in bed. Books, which never went through a printing, press, whose galleys were not marked up by proofreaders for corrections by printers.Continue Reading