Whether you prefer your poems timely or unbound from any particular political moment, we’ve picked some that will refresh your sense of syntax.
Delmore Schwartz published “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” in the Partisan Review in 1935 at the age of 21. It’s as powerful now as it was then — maybe even more so.
For essayist and critic David Ulin, the work of Delmore Schwartz was most significant for its influence on his hero Lou Reed. Reassessing Schwartz’s writing, Ulin locates Schwartz as a uniquely American writer.
Cantankerous and prickly though he could be, Lou Reed definitely appreciated the joy that his music brought to so many. Dan Epstein honors the late artist’s career.
Sportscaster Howard Cosell was at once infuriating and insightful. A new book says he was identified in the popular mind as a prototypical New York Jew.
Delmore Schwartz was a poet first and foremost, and an important one, but his short stories—a valuable selection of which are collected in In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories—aren’t too shabby themselves. Concerned for the most part with sensitive young men at odds with their families, these pieces often hark back to the 1930s, to the Great Depression as it was experienced in New York City, and to the philosophical struggle between left-wing ideologies and the desire to earn a solid living that characterized Jewish communities of that era. That conflict has long been more or less resolved, but in Schwartz’s telling, it retains a kind of freshness and poignant humor: in a representative moment, one of Schwartz’s young intellectuals introduces his mother to a brilliant scholar and tells her, “You have just seen a genius”; without missing a beat, she answers him, “How much money does he make?”