Category Archives: Gold in Them Stacks

Ted Mathys in the Stacks: On Cyclones and Call Outs

Central Library’s poet-in-residence Ted Mathys reports from Special Collections, where he is exploring the William Marion Reedy Archive. This is the second in a series. In the Stacks is a collaboration between the St. Louis Public Library and Coffee House … Continue reading

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Ted Mathys in the Stacks: Hall of Mirrors

Central Library’s poet-in-residence Ted Mathys reports from Special Collections, where he is exploring the William Marion Reedy Archive. This is the first in a series. In the Stacks is a collaboration between the St. Louis Public Library and Coffee House … Continue reading

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Tim Rakel’s Subterranean Library

Anyone who’s heard Tim Rakel’s music knows that he is a highly literate songwriter. The versatile folk-rock musician and host of KDHX’s Mystery Train program, Rakel works a rich vein of labor history, modernist literature, and urban lore into his … Continue reading

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The Public Library, by Isaac Babel (1916)

At times, working in a glorious old building like this, one can feel haunted by it. There are time warps in the library, and a trip to the stacks can stir up the presence of ghosts. Isaac Babel’s 1916 story … Continue reading

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Thomas Bernhard: Everybody’s Favorite Austrian Misanthrope

I have replaced the screen saver on my work computer with a picture of Thomas Bernhard. He will watch my desk while I am gone. He stares, remorseless, with a hint of humor and contempt, directly at me in my … Continue reading

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“A Pen Warmed Up in Hell”: Joy Williams at the Paris Review

The great Joy Williams is interviewed by Wash U grad Paul Winner in the Summer 2014 issue of the Paris Review. Love this opening anecdote about her giving a craft talk at a university. Instead she discussed Kraft cheese.   … Continue reading

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National Poetry Month: A Cure for the Word Flu

At the moment I’m reading an interesting debut novel called The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon. An English nerd’s paranoid trip, it documents the outbreak of a technologically-induced “word flu” which causes language to become debased and corrosive. Definitions are … Continue reading

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Orlando on Reading (with a Nod to The Goldfinch)

So, to begin 2014 with an embarrassing confession, I had never until very recently read Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. No idea why: I love Woolf and read most of her work in high school and college, including some of the less-read … Continue reading

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Literary Sins: Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel

Elizabeth Taylor (the midcentury British writer) has had the misfortune of sharing a name with one of the twentieth century’s biggest celebrities. A clear-eyed, morally incisive novelist overshadowed by her cinematic namesake: Taylor would probably be the first to chuckle … Continue reading

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Alice Munro’s Nobel Material

As has been widely reported, Alice Munro has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, in recognition of a body of work that now includes 14 short story collections. Munro has been so consistently good for so long that … Continue reading

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