Whether you admire the work of e.e. cummings or think of him mainly as the inspiration for your high school’s worst poet, you’ll enjoy this excerpt of Susan Cheever’s new biography, which touches on the poet’s later years and his relationship with Cheever’s father. The two (contrasting) money quotes here are Malcolm Cowley’s claim that cummings was “the most brilliant monologuist I have known” and this exasperated question posed by Helen Vendler: “What is wrong with a man who writes this?
Eric Benson interviewed Bruce Jackson about “the strange and brutal world of Southern prison farms.” Jackson, who recently published a collection entitled Inside the Wire, snapped prison photographs in Texas and Arkansas from 1964 to 1979. The images depict both the mundane and the surreal, occasionally appearing as though they were “taken from a fever dream.”