EppsNet Archive: Pulitzer Prize

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Greetings from the underworld! I see that Pope Francis put a bee in Turkey’s bonnet a couple of weeks ago by calling the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 a genocide. According to the Turks, the Vatican should look to its own history before casting stones. Tu quoque! On that note, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Biography was just awarded to David I. Kertzer for The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. Historically, popes have been far more circumspect in condemning genocide and other atrocities when committed by countries willing to aggrandize the Church (or when committed by the Church itself!) See you in Hell, clerics of all stripes . . . Read more →

The Lowlight of My Weekend

I had lunch over the weekend with Robert Hass — Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, UC Berkeley professor and former Poet Laureate of the United States. When I say I had lunch with him, I mean he was one of five people seated at our table. I asked to take a photo with him, which he graciously consented to. I don’t have any photos of myself with Pulitzer Prize winners and still don’t because the photo didn’t come out at all. I completely botched it somehow. So that was probably the lowlight of my weekend, except for Cal getting blown out by Washington on the gridiron 31-7, while four Husky fans sat directly behind us screaming the whole game. Football at Cal unfortunately is like academics at Washington: not terribly distinguished. Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: The Known World by Edward P. Jones

I bought this book and read it because it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. See, it says so right there on the cover: “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.” Did you know there was a time in our country’s history when black people were bought and sold as property, sometimes by other black people? And did you also know that 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance? Human slavery is deplorable, yes, but at this late date, can it be deplored any more than it has been already? If you have new depths of insight into the hearts and minds of the participants, by all means offer them, but Jones doesn’t have them. Reading The Known World is like reading a history book, albeit with a little more authorial contempt for some of the characters. It’s customary in book reviews to mention authors whose work… Read more →

Do People Recognize Beauty in Everyday Life?

This is a few years old now, but I just saw it today. (Please read Gene Weingarten‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning story from the Washington Post for the full details.) The premise is that Joshua Bell, international virtuoso, one of the best violinists in the world — maybe the best violinist in the world — dresses in jeans, T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap, and for 45 minutes plays several renowned classical pieces (on a good fiddle — the Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius of 1713, purchased by Bell in 2003 for $4 million) in a Washington, D.C., metro station, during a Friday morning rush hour, with a violin case open in front of him for donations. Do people recognize beauty in everyday life? [SPOILER ALERT] No. They don’t. Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department, is the only person out of 1,000 or so passers-by who recognizes Bell. “It was the most astonishing… Read more →

EppsNet Book Club

Welcome to the EppsNet Book Club! Here’s what we’ve been reading lately . . . Gilead by Marilynne Robinson Gilead is the journal of an old man — a pastor in a small town in Iowa — writing to his young son, whom he intends to read it after his death. He doesn’t know how to get to the point, he complains about his health despite an absence of physical symptoms, he sees everything as a blessing . . . He has no strong convictions — I think this but other people think that and they may have a point. The one strong conviction that he does have, he recants by the end of the book. It’s not a bad book but since the author, Marilynne Robinson, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for it, I feel like I have to say that it’s not a very good book either. Imagine… Read more →

Hamlet Backwards

This semester’s AP English final is on Beloved, a depressing novel enjoyed by no one. “I need an 87 on the final to get an A in the class,” my boy says. “That sounds manageable,” I say. “Not really. I knew Hamlet backward and forward and on that test I got an 86.” “What is Hamlet backward? It’s Telmah, right?” Read more →

Twitter: 2009-06-20

@Lileks If there's ever a Pulitzer Prize for Twitter, you should get it. Great medium for you. in reply to Lileks # Read more →