Mary McCarthy’s The Group, Hilton Als’s “The Women,” and Bridesmaids: My August Column at Bookslut

Mary McCarthy's The Group is a book I've always meant to read but never managed to pick up. McCarthy's name has never quite made it onto the essential American women writers hit list along with, say, Edith Wharton, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and Eudora Welty. Perhaps this is because of McCarthy's reputation as "a viperously …

Happy Bastille Day: Get Drunk with Baudelaire

GET DRUNK by Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen XXXIII One should always be drunk. That's the great thing; the only question. Not to feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and bowing you to the earth, you should be drunk without respite. Drunk with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as …

“God forgive me for my sins — but I can really write”: Irmgard Keun, Anita Loos, and Women Who Dare to Write

Recently, Nobel Prize for Literature laureate V.S. Naipaul stated in a Guardian interview that no woman writer could ever be his equal due to her innate "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world." My impulse was to dismiss Naipaul's misogynist "tosh" as a reflection of his own impoverished psyche; alas, the luxury of dismissal is …

A Wider View of Authorship: Eroticizing the Past My June “The Bombshell” Column at Bookslut

Early in Eavan Boland’s dazzling new book, A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet, she tells a story: when she was a young poet and mother living in the suburbs of Dublin, she went into the city one day and happened to walk by an art gallery where she spied in the window …

Live from London: The Ultimate Field Trip! Part 1

Four students from The Bronx Academy of Letters--senior, Denise Reynoso and juniors, Renee Miller, Alison Joseph, and Kenneth Herrera--winners of a school wide essay contest visit us in London accompanied by English teacher extraordinaire Christian Clark. Listen to this amazing podcast from Christian Clark's inspiring website Minilessons.org in which the students discuss London, travel, theater …

In Memoriam, Charles McPhee, April 24, 1962-May 8, 2011

Inspiration comes from unlikely places. Mine, for the past five years, has come from my cousin Charles who in June of 2006 learned he had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Gorgeous, funny, smart, kind, madly in love with his extraordinary wife Petra, and an ecstatic new father, he was also at the height of his career …

GOT MILK? MY MAY COLUMN AT BOOKSLUT

THE GENDER POLITICS OF PLEASURE DAIRIES France was on the verge of Revolution, the ill-famed extravagances of Marie-Antoinette having poisoned the populace against her and the entire regime. Pornographic circulars featuring the Austrian-born Queen were rife in the streets of Paris as was an engraving entitled “La France Malade” (“France Is Sick”) representing a female …