Winter 2014 • Vol. XXXVI No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 2014 |

Mark Strand’s Luminous Nostalgia

An already tottering, manipulative king sets the action going in Shakespeare's King Lear when he announces disingenuously that he plans to "unburdened crawl toward death." Although a king does not crawl, unburdened or not, all sane people eventually realize the appropriateness of Lear's desire. In the summer of 2005, I was chatting with the poet Mark Strand at a literary conference. About to transfer from the University of Chicago to a post at Columbia, he told me he was moving into a university apartment on the Upper West Side. I asked whether he would have sufficient space for possessions, art, and all the other accretions of decades, especially books. Strand, then seventy-one, looked at me and pityingly observed: "You don't need more than a hundred books, Willard." I thought this odd at the time. Subsequently, I have realized that he was planning more than a geographical transition. And also that he was right. A wealthy, self-made man of my acquaintance once justified his phi

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Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University and the editor-in-chief of Southwest Review.

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‘Tis Yet to Come

By Willard Spiegelman

An already tottering, manipulative king sets the action going in Shakespeare's King Lear when he announces disingenuously that he plans to "unburdened crawl toward death." Although a king does not […]

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