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October 24, 2011


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Thanks for reminding us of this great classic of American literature. It's amazing how contemporary "Bartleby" seems---anyone who has ever endured office life will have no trouble connecting with it. Also worth re-reading is Melville's "Benito Cereno," his chilling allegory (among other things) on race relations (

Hi, Terence,

Thanks for directing readers to another Melville work of ongoing importance and, using that word of wide circulation in the 1960s, relevance.

Now let me direct readers to Terence Winch's fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, includng his superb new volume of verse, FALLING OUT OF BED IN A ROOM WITH NO FLOOR. Just click on his name that appears in the column to the immediate left here. Given what I wrote about Melville's low self-esteem, I recommend Winch's villanelle "Against Low Self-Esteem" in his new book.

Earle Hitchner

Great post! I visited Zuccotti Park last week (and hope to again when I'm down in NYC next weekend). I witnessed several interactions between stock brokers and investment bankers and the varied protestors. The Wall Streeters, when not strolling by, laughing to a lunch date, would sometimes stop and engage in conversation. What I witnessed, over and over again, were protestors calmly stating their cases, calmly informing these men and women that the conversation points they keep lobbing toward them/us are old, are not the point. To the questions of "Why are you here? Why don't you go home?" all I heard, over and over again, was "I'd prefer not to." Bartleby is civil disobedience writ large. OWS is a prime example of transcendentalism shooting the gulf.

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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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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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