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Critic's Notebook for March 24, 2014

by Brian P. Kelly

Posted: Mar 24, 2014 03:19 PM


Sign up to receive "Critic's Notebook" in your inbox every Monday—it only takes a few seconds and it's completely free! "Critic's Notebook" is a weekly preview of the best to read, see, and hear in culture, compiled by the critics, writers, and editors at The New Criterion.

This week: A new biography of war poet Wilfred Owen, J. D. McClatchy's favorite American poetry & a last chance to view The Fulbright Triptych.

Fiction: Falling Out of Time by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen (Knopf): A blend of theater, poetry, and prose, the latest from Grossman (To the End of the Land) tells the story of a family trying to cope with the loss of their son. Announcing that he is going to find his dead child, a father begins walking in circles around his village, and is soon joined by other townspeople. As the number of walkers grows, they discuss mortality and grief, recollecting their memories in a collective search for closure.

Nonfiction: Wilfred Owen by Guy Cuthbertson (Yale): World War I produced more than a few laudable poets, but even among these, Wilfred Owen, who was killed on one of the last days of the war, stands out. Despite his early death, his poems like “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” endure to this day.  This new biography pays close attention to Owen’s early life to explain his artistic growth and body of work.  Look for a review in a forthcoming issue of The New Criterion.

Poetry: J. D. McClatchy in The Wall Street Journal: In Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, the poet J. D. McClatchy gives a rundown of his favorite collections of American poetry, choosing books from Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop. McClatchey’s own books include Mercury Dressing, Division of Spoils, and Hazmat. His latest volume, Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems, is available from Knopf on Tuesday.

Art: The Fulbright Triptych at the New York German Consulate (through April 30): Originally scheduled to be on view through March, Simon Dinnerstein’s painting The Fulbright Triptych will remain at the German Consulate just a little longer. The painting— which James Panero calls a work of "figurative significance" and "religious reverence with which Dinnerstein reveals the creative process" —will now be on view through April, giving those who still haven’t made the trip one last chance to see the impressive final product of Dinnerstein’s 1971 Fulbright fellowship in Germany.

Music: Schubert, Bartók, and Brahms at 92Y (Sunday): The pianist Yefim Bronfman and musicians of the New York Philharmonic join forces for a program of chamber music at the 92nd Street Y. The program will include Schubert's Sonatina for Violin and Piano in A minor, Bartók's Contrasts for piano, violin, and clarinet, and Brahms's dramatic Piano Quintet in F minor.

Other: Jennifer Egan, Siri Hustvedt, and Margot Livesey discuss To The Lighthouse and Virginia Woolf at Symphony Space (March 26): This Wednesday, the novelists Siris Hustvedt, Jennifer Egan, and Margot Livesey will discuss Woolf and her work at Thalia Book Club, an ongoing series of literary events hosted by Symphony Space. The actress Gaby Hoffmann will read an excerpt of To the Lighthouse.

From the archive: Reporting Nuremberg by Carl Rollyson, September 1998: On the war-crimes-trial reporting of Martha Gellhorn, Janet Flanner & Rebecca West.

From our latest issue: On style & order by Michael Knox Beran: Lessons from Camillo Sitte's City-Building According to Artistic Principles.

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