Author Archive | Alfred Corn

John Ashbery Remembered by a Fellow Poet

Though he liked to drink (too much, truth to tell) John didn’t frequent gay bars. People came to him. In Paris he was partnered with the poet Pierre Martory for several years and later provided translations of a volume of his poems.

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In Search of the Spirit of Mu Xin

In the spring of last year, the Asia Society in New York hosted the premiere of a film about Mu Xin’s life, made by documentary filmmakers Francisco Bello and Tim Sternberg and titled Dreaming Against the World. Joanne Wang was associate producer for the film, and at her invitation I attended the New York premiere. […]

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Illusions Lost and Found

SEPTEMBER 1965: a half century on, it’s not easy to follow my movements with perfect accuracy, but here goes. I was staying up in Westchester County with Cheryl R., a fellow undergraduate a couple of years younger. We’d become friendly during the previous year, as part of the small huddle of Emory’s brainy misfits, a […]

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The Ambidexterity of a Musician

Stravinsky was married and Craft is heterosexual, so it may seem that this book lacks interest for GLBT readers unless they happen to be fans of 20th-century concert music. However, at least one of its chapters ( “Amorous Augmentations”) touches on the question of Stravinsky’s sexual orientation.

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Auden’s Bardic Return to Oxford

POETS WRITING literary criticism do so to generate income, to communicate aesthetic values to the public, and to build an audience for their imaginative work. Would readers of the 1950’s and 60’s have paid much attention to Randall Jarrell the poet if he hadn’t been a sharp-witted and engaging critic? Probably not. As for W.H. Auden, I can offer some personal testimony from nearly four decades ago.

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Collected Poems by Daniel Mendelsohn

A New Cavafy Is Born

Reviews of C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems, and C. P. Cavafy: The Unfinished Poems.

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When Arthur Met Paul

In 1873, when French poet Arthur Rimbaud was staying in London with his

more famous lover Paul Verlaine, the spark-striking and strategically

untruthful nineteen-year-old added two years to his age so that he

could pass through a set of doors normally closed to minors. …

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Life of the “Marvellous Party”

  The Letters of Noël Coward Edited by Barry Day Knopf. 780 pages, $37.50   NOT MANY PEOPLE write real letters now, so those of us who like to read them—for their informal tone, their jokes, their opinions, their gossip—have to go to collections like this one. It’s an omnium-gatherum of hundreds of letters (and […]

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The Gay Artist as Critic

All these temporary critics have masters degrees with the exception of Merrill, whose reading was nevertheless extensive enough to make his essays on Cavafy, Dante, Ponge, and Bishop more than exercises in pure appreciation.

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