Grandpa Was a Grave Robber & More

Kudos to poets Kim Roberts and Dan Vera for developing an unusual guide to 120 dead literary authors who lived in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Their website,, documents the residences of authors both famous and obscure, including Paul Laurence Dunbar, James M. Cain, and others whose DC affiliations are well known.  Ddid you know that Philip K. Dick (The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick) lived in northwest DC in the late 30s and attended public schools for grades 2-4?  That Sinclair Lewis wrote Main Street and Babbitt while living in Georgetown? And that poet Caresse Crosby, co-founder of Black Sun Press with her husband, Harry Crosby, was a Dupont Circle resident from 1937 to 1950, and opened a modern art gallery?  Great fun.

And how about authors who call D.C. home today?  Novelist Carolyn Parkhurst (The Nobodies Album) recalls writing novels in a Starbuck’s in northern Virginia and learning at her home in Glover Park that her first novel had sold.  Here.

French author (The Stranger) Albert Camus’ surprisingly deep ties to Judaism.  Here.

“It’s a depressing sign of the state of contemporary US politics that support for science has become, in some quarters, an out-and-out electoral liability.” A review of Jonathan D. Moreno’s The Body Politic: The Battle Over Science in America.

“For the arms merchants, the post-9/11 wars have also been, in the words of an army official quoted by [Andrew] Feinstein, ‘a feeding frenzy.’ Iraq and Afghanistan have been good business not only for the usual giants of the military industry, but for many others in the darker recesses of the business.”  A review of Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.

“Why don’t 21st century writers organize?” wonders writer-editor Jason Boogs as he completes his forthcoming book about scribblers during the Great Depression.  His insightful piece dusts off a story about one of our favorite characters from the period, novelist Maxwell Bodenheim. Here.

“Listening to gossip can be likened to receiving stolen goods; it puts you in immediate collusion with the person conveying the gossip to you,” writes Joseph Epstein.  A taste of his new book, Gossip: The Untrivial PursuitHere.

“My great-grandfather was a grave-robber,” says California art historian Paul Koundounaris, author of The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses. He spent five years traveling around the world photographing the halls of the dead.  Here.

From growing up Catholic on the south side of Chicago to Vietnam to the advertising game.  Minnesota Public Radio essayist Peter Smith recalls A Cavalcade of Lesser Horrors. A report.

Why write a book about Pat Nixon?  Here.

If you’re a Beat freak and into Gregory Corso (Mindfield: New and Selected Poems) and Herbert Huncke, watch this revealing short documentary. We were reminded of the early 90s New York book fair where we ran into Corso (see pix below, courtesy of Morty Sklar).  That’s us on the left.  The bag in the poet’s hand contains a bottle of booze he picked up at the Algonquin bar down the street.

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