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August 22, 2011

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It's Ossining. Revolutionary Road is around the bend from Sing Sing.

Two recent Ossining celebrity mortalities are Peter Falk and John Chervokas. Peter Frampton had a place there for a while.

Brice Marden grew up the next town over, Briarcliff Manor.

Don and Betty's house was in Chilmark, a neighborhood about a mile up the hill.

John Cheever lived on the other side of town, and would leave there for long walks through Scarborough, aka Shady Hill.

I'm told a prolific best-selling novelist now spends part of the year in Scarborough.

Thank you for giving further life to REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Yates’s earliest career distinction, of course, was being awarded the Yale Younger Poet Prize; and his novels, cartographies of self-destruction, were largely written in the place where Chief Tuscaloosa, sovereign of a Mississippian tribe that fractured into the Choctaws and Creeks, stood above the river which bears an Anglicized version of his name, the Black Warrior and, given due cause, cursed the white men whom Hernando de Soto led into his territories and took him as hostage.

Whatever dark powers he summoned in revenge seem to have prevailed, when one considers the meteorological events of last March. Blake Bailey’s expert biography, and the film adaptation of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, have rekindled interest in his work; still, bringing more poets to the relatively small Yates canon is a valuable public service indeed.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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