New Criterion

A magazine that publishes articles, notes and comment on cultural life in America. Publishes contributions from poets, authors, public policy scholars, humanities lecturers, and critics. Includes poetry, arts criticism, and commentary. Departments in thea

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 8, April

Chekhov & Tolstoy
After he had written Anna Karenina, Tolstoy reacted against literature. He wanted henceforth to be a moral philosopher, a prophet, a sage, and a saint, rather than an artist. (How often we mistake the nature of our own gifts!) And many people subsequently...
Notes & Comments: April 2005
A thank-you to Ward Churchill We suspect that most of our readers will be familiar with the case of Ward Churchill, the professor of "ethnic studies" at the University of Colorado whose comparison of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to...
Responding Unkind
A pointed dissent, written by a theologian, from my February column on God and the tsunami was received by The New Criterion a few weeks ago, and I happily set about composing my doubtless crushing reply until the editors informed me that the author...
Robert Southey: Pathos & Tragedy
"A great many second-rate poets, in fact, are second-rate just for this reason, that they have not the sensitiveness and consciousness to perceive that they feel differently from the preceding generation, and therefore must use words differently."...
Stuart Davis in Philadelphia
In 1937, Stuart Davis received a commission from the WPA Federal Art Project to paint a mural for a low-income public housing development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Then, the neighborhood was a downmarket blue-collar enclave, rather than today's hotbed...
The Fortunes of Formalism
Of the three books currently on my night table--a flaking early edition of the poems of Abraham Cowley, a coffee-table book on wooden boats, and a book from 1911 entitled A Study of Versification, by Professor Brander Matthews of Columbia University--most...
The Interior of a Heron's Egg: Michael Donaghy, 1954-2004
Once I heard a well-known poet grumble when faced with the prospect of following Michael Donaghy onstage. The poet didn't offer an explanation and didn't have to. Those in earshot simply understood that Donaghy abundantly possessed a skill lost to...
The Maastricht Fair
A long, thin sliver of Holland extends southwards, squeezed between Belgium and Germany. At its center, minutes from Aachen, is the town of Maastricht, population of 125,000. Declaring itself with some justification the oldest urban enclave in the...
The Metaphysics of Richard Wilbur
During World War II the Allied forces in Europe had trouble maintaining a staff of cryptographers. There were few who could do the difficult work of deciphering enemy codes. Some got killed and others cracked up under the pressure of constant shelling...
The New York Fairs
You may think the story of "The Armory Show: The International Fair of New Art" begins at the Hudson River piers that recently hosted 162 galleries from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and thirty-three foreign...
Travels in "The Waste Land."
According to the calendar, The Waste Land is more distant from us today than In Memoriam and Leaves of Grass were from T. S. Eliot when he completed his masterpiece in 1922. Yet as Eliot himself proved, poetic time, like Einsteinian time, is relative....