Dashing Expectations: On Malcolm Whyte’s “Gorey Secrets” and Nathalie Tierce’s “Pulling Weeds from a Cactus Garden”

DECEMBER 7, 2022 AS SOMEONE WHO spends a great deal of time studying allusions to and adaptations of children’s books in literature written for adults, I’ve ferreted out Sylvia Plath’s allusions to Lewis Carroll’s Alice books and excavated the skeletons of Grimms’ and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales from Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry and prose. This … Read more

A Garden in This Wretched World: On László Krasznahorkai’s “A Mountain to the North, a Lake to the South, Paths to the West, a River to the East”

November 26, 2022 EVERY WORK OF ART entails a journey, not necessarily in its essence but in its creation: a search by an artist or artist to discover how to tell their story, to develop their idea, to convey their emotion, to display their vision; a search for the apposite, if not the perfect, combination … Read more

In a Garden of Zeroes: On Brenda Hillman’s “In a Few Minutes Before Later”

OCTOBER 12, 2022 IN A FEW MINUTES BEFORE LATER is a big, ambitious, ferociously groundbreaking book that cycles through sections devoted to stress and beauty, activism and poetry, admirable women, troubled writers, science and the world soul, and environmental catastrophe alongside “endangered words.” This collection persistently bolts “beyond control” of conveniently channeled trajectories of thought … Read more

Cultivating his garden

When I was a child I wanted to be a cartographer. I drew maps of my surroundings – bedroom, home, neighborhood, city, country, continent – ​​with “Here be dragons” additions, features of the books I loved. Those books had little in common but for one thing: they had to have a map in the endpapers. … Read more

The awe and terror of this new garden

Ralph Waldo Emerson had little use for tourism. The great essayist preferred to conduct his transcendental rambles from the comfort of his rocking chair in Concord, Massachusetts, where he spent most of his adult life. It’s true that he crisscrossed the American heartland for decades as a fixture of the lyceum lecture circuit, but that … Read more

Healing, Dangerous Wonders: On Sylvia Legris’s “Garden Physic”

JULY 5, 2022 Give me truths;For I am wary of the surfaces,And die of inanition. If I knewOnly the Herbs and simples of the wood,Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain, and agrimony … — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Blight” (1844) In all Diseases, strengthen the part of the Body afflicted. — Nicholas Culpeper, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) ¤ … Read more