Al Young title

Archive for April, 2014

PETER MATTHIESSEN (May 22, 1927 – April 5, 2014) | in memoriam

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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Top Books by Peter Matthiessen at
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Matthiessen by Krementz © Jill Krementz

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We met when he visited UC Santa Cruz, where I was teaching in the 1980s. Community Studies — an exciting, interdisciplinary work-study program, now defunct — had brought me there to fill in for novelist Carter, who was on sabbatical.  I loved Peter Matthiessen‘s At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Far Tortuga, novels, and Sal Si Puedes: César Chávez and the New American Revolution. Thomas McGuane, when we were late-1960s Stegner Fellows at Stanford, had drawn my attention to Matthiessen’s exquisite writing. I thought of him as a sensitive East Coast mandarin, patrician in upbringing, holistically aware, and hip to how the tiny-minded practices and techniques of Big-Bucks Business were trashing the earth along with hearts and minds. I knew he had co-founded with George Plimpton, among others, the Paris Review, from whose invaluable Writers at Work interview series, I’ve gathered much of the guidance and insight I needed to keep teaching myself to write. Even though I’d grown up in full darkness of the McCarthy Era, I didn’t then know Matthiessen dreamed up the Paris Review as a cover for his CIA spy mission. I did know, though, about Stephen Spender and the CIA money that Encounter, the influential literary journal he edited, accepted CIA funding. The so-called Cold War tarred and tainted artists in every direction. France-based Richard Wright and James Baldwin, it turns out, were no exception. Tall, smooth and cordial, Peter Matthiessen shook my hand and asked: “Are you a friend of Ralph‘s?”
— Al Young

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‘Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86’ | Christopher Lehman-Haupt, NY Times |

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‘Peter Matthiessen, Founder of Paris Review, Dies at 86’ | Tom Vitale, NPR | April 7, 2014

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‘Remembering Peter Matthiessen, Visionary Naturalist and Literary Mentor’ | Alex Shoumatoff | Beacon Broadside,
April 6, 2014

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The 2014 Pulitzer Prize

Monday, April 14th, 2014

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2014 Pulitzers

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