Fatal Attitudes

“The war did not destroy the English—it fixed them in fatal attitudes. The Japanese were destroyed and out of that destruction came different men; only the loyalties were old—the rest was new.” Thus the thirty-six-year-old New Englander Paul Theroux, pursuing his studies of the post-Imperial British, this time in Malaysia, …

Pound and Fascism

“Olson saved my life.” Thus Pound in January 1946, in his first days at St. Elizabeths, appealing in terror at the prospect of losing whatever sanity remained to him. How that life was saved we can now know, thanks to Catherine Seelye, who has put the story together, mostly out …

Gifts of the Gab

Those who are alarmed by New York, as I am, must be alarmed also by John Hollander’s poems, which I register as New York poetry through and through. In the past Hollander has been explicit and defiant about this, as in his witty and accomplished imitation of Juvenal’s third satire, …

Cards of Identity

I am way behind, getting to A.R. Ammons only now. And I know why; everything I ever heard about him said that he wasn’t my cup of tea. (The Britishness of that idiom is much to the point.) He was, I gathered, a poet who said “Ooh” and “Ah” to …