The fundamental flaw is the concept: the idea that three pilgrimages is better than one; that three pilgrimages equals three times the enlightenment for the writer and three times the payoff for readers.
The Montana men of Shann Ray’s debut collection American Masculine: Stories drink and hunt, wrestle steers and reckon with fathers who beat their wives. They are Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Assiniboine-Sioux, and white. They are men shouldering troubled pasts.
Each character struggles with the existential questions they find themselves forced into: being only children and losing a parent; facing romantic commitments and romantic upheavals; finding themselves with children or childless.
At sixteen I traveled to England with my family, bringing an SAT workbook, a five pound dumbbell, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in my overstuffed suitcase. The only useful item of this set was the novel, the lightest and most logical item. On a trip, even a great trip, escape is necessary, and an immersive book is the best medium.
The reissue of Elizabeth Bishop’s collected POEMS and PROSE by Farrar, Straus and Giroux at the centennial of her birth is an opportunity for new readers to discover her work. After all, Bishop’s poems hinge on the experience of discovery, a discovery that demands awareness, not preparation.