Tag Archives: Atlantic Monthly

Fraught relations.

A 14-line poem called “Embrace,” by Michael Collier in the June Atlantic.  Please click over and tell me what you think of it.  I love the changing points of view, from “you” to “her” and from then to now.  Are the relations between children and adults always fraught?

Michael Collier is a former poet laureate of Maryland. You can read about him and his work here and here.


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When video was young.

From “Moments Not to Remember,” by David Owen

“The popularity of video cameras arises from a simple but potent misunderstanding. Somehow people have gotten the idea that they won’t mind being old so much if they can turn on the TV and see what they were like when they were young. This is not true.

“The best memories — the ones that actually do comfort people in their later years — are ones that have been allowed to evolve unhindered by documentary proof.

“Memory is better than a video camera, because, in addition to being free, it doesn’t work very well.”

Atlantic Monthly, June 1995


Friends School in Detroit, 1974

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‘It is unfair to bore someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to bore you right back.’

Ever since I read Garrison Keillor’s short story, “The Poetry Judge,” in The Atlantic in 1996, this quotation has become one of my rules of thumb for judging good writing:

“Experience becomes literature when it no longer matters to the reader whether the story is true or not,” the narrator says.

“Self expression is not the point of it,” he continues. “We are not here on paper to retail our injuries. For one thing, it is unfair to bore someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to bore you right back…”

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