Blackfish and Moby Dick.

Last week, my wife and I saw the documentary Blackfish, the attempted exposé of SeaWorld. In particular, Blackfish focused on the plight of one orca, Tilikum, who has been involved in three deaths, including the 2010 killing of his trainer, Dawn Brancheau. Originally caught in the wild, Tilikum is an overly large orca who has […]

Favorite First Lines.

More prime link bait for me: The Atlantic asked 21 writers to name their favorite opening lines. There are some obvious selections (“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan…”, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”) and some sneaky good picks (“I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glass suspended in front […]

Charles Olson and “The Art of Fielding”

The scholar’s dream: the finding of a rare text that illuminates an author or a period of history, or that allows us to reconsider something we otherwise thought well-established. Chad Harbach’s novel The Art of Fielding, which I recently reviewed, contains such an event—an event, as it turns out, that was probably based on a real […]