For generations, or so I’ve heard, Brooklyn families have shrugged off the city swelter, crowding I-87 North en route to the Catskills for summer weekends. In July 2016, partly in search of traditions that might bind our family to a community, Ginger and I joined the exodus.
After three decades, the adventure of a young Midwesterner learning French, entering with passion into centuries of borrowed habits and rituals, seems like ancient history–so radically has the place of French in the world changed, along with the place of France.
On the last day of summer in 2015, after giving a lecture in Knoxville, Tennessee, I rented a car and drove across the state line, over the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge, to visit the picturesque town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, better known nowadays as Mayberry, USA.
What does Russia–or Russian literature–have to say to Americans concerned with the environment and sustainability, with how small corners of earth like a single farm might thrive, and what role they might play in seeding hope within our larger communities?
It might seem counterintuitive to speak of John Ashbery, the principal figure in the New York School of poets, as a pastoral poet. Ashbery’s verse has always dwelt on the heady distraction of metropolitan living, its haphazard and abstract qualities tuned most closely to the …