Two mid-twentieth-century American poets died of heart attacks in New York City taxi cabs. The more recent was Robert Lowell in 1977, who expired en route from JFK. Having left his third wife, Caroline Blackwood, he was returning to his second, Elizabeth Hardwick, with a Lucian Freud portrait of the young Blackwood in his arms. The other, lesser-known, was James Agee (1909–1955), who at the age of forty-five died on his way to the doctor, leaving his only novel, A Death in the Family, unfinished. The book appeared posthumously, after a substantial editing job, winning a Pulitzer in 1958 (a year before Lowell's National Book Award-winning Life Studies appeared).
My review of Agee's Selected Poems, edited by Andrew Hudgins, will appear in the special April poetry issue of The New Criterion. Other highlights of the issue, which can be viewed online beginning April 1, are three new poems by Christian Wiman, a review of Daniel Mendelsohn's new translations of Cavafy by Eric Ormsby, and an essay by Denis Donoghue on Gerard Manley Hopkins.
William Logan tackles the recent volume of interviews with Seamus Heaney by Denis O'Driscoll: "A reader jaded by memoir might still find it interesting to know that the Heaney stove would have been stewing up feed for the animals, with scones rising on the griddle, an ever-boiling kettle, and pots choked full of washing."