Following Steinbeck and Charley

Fifty years ago, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charlie, set off on a trip across America. The journey resulted in “Travels with Charley,” one of my favorite road trip books. Pittsburgh-based writer Bill Steigerwald is about to retrace Steinbeck’s journey in a project that could be dubbed Travels without Charley. Ultimately, he’ll use Steinbeck’s trip […]

A good Dickey is hard to find

One of my favorite moments in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction comes at the grisly finale to “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The Misfit has just killed a grandmother in cold blood, prompting his cohort to note: “She was a talker, wasn’t she?” “She would of been a good woman,” the Misfit says, “if it […]

A kayak made of poetry

In a New York Times obituary of George Hitchcock, the founder of Kayak poetry magazine, it noted the publication carried the following motto in every issue: “A kayak is not a galleon, ark, coracle or speedboat. It is a small watertight vessel operated by a single oarsman. It is submersible, has sharply pointed ends, and […]

An inverted NPR moment, thanks to Hank Stuever

NPR likes to define its “moments” as those times you sit in your driveway with the car running, waiting for a particularly enthralling story to end before going into your house. Thanks to Hank Stuever and his marvelous book “Tinsel,” Lara and I had an inverse NPR moment recently. Our friend Barb loaned us an […]

An elegy for Peter Orlovsky

Steve Silberman offers this wonderful tribute to Peter Orlovsky, who died Sunday. Orlovsky was a poet and, more prominently, Allen Ginsberg’s lover for decades. I heard Orlovsky had died but couldn’t find anything Sunday to confirm it with the exception of changes to his Wikipedia entry. Silberman was no stranger to Ginsberg and Orlovsky, to […]