Recent links of note:
“Red State, Blue City”
David A. Graham, The Atlantic
Last November’s round of elections drove a heavy wedge into the already huge gap between states’ and cities’ political preferences. With Republicans controlling thirty-three state houses, progressives have begun to tout cities as havens of “resistance,” vowing to use a thorough program of municipal ordinances to heighten the contrast between deep-blue urban centers and the rest of the country. David A. Graham of The Atlantic, however, has doubts about this plan de guerre. His article describes the pettiness of much of the urban agenda (e.g., bans on plastic bags and Happy Meal toys) to give lie to the supposed “practicality” of city governments, and he describes the shaky legal basis for more ambitious policies like “sanctuary” cityhood. Graham closes with a heartening anecdote about how North Carolina Republicans scrapped a plan to redistrict Asheville, N.C., after that city’s frequent gestures toward nullification—but Graham also notes that this kind of patience from Republican state houses will run out quickly if Democratic cities overplay their middling hand.
“Voices from the Asylum”
Robert Crawford, Literary Review
Rather than allow incarceration to cut short his already prolific career, Ezra Pound famously managed to crawl toward new heights in poetic writing during his seven-year stay at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, or as he called it, “the bughouse.” A new book on Pound by Daniel Swift, reviewed by Robert Crawford in the Literary Review, takes its title from Pound’s nickname for the hospital—“The Bughouse,” in this case, referring not only to St. Elizabeth’s inmates but also to the motley collection of fellow poets who visited Pound during his term. Crawford’s review recalls a moment in literature, at the height of Modernism spanning the ’40s and ’50s, during which broken personalities like Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Robert Lowell found themselves uniquely fit to channel the spirit of the era through verse.
From our pages:
On Yefim Bronfman in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the New York Philharmonic.