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louis mayeux
A journalist, poet and all-around handyman in the literary trades, I've been publishing the Bookman for a decade.
Interests: sports, theater, poetry, fiction, journalism, piano, music, writing, movies. My favorite poets include Robert Lowell, John Keats, William Matthews, Turner Cassity. Favorite writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, William Styron.
Recent Activity
My optimism is rising that Stacey Abrams can win the Georgia governor's race. Her Republican foe, Brian "Jethro" Kemp, has brought the state national horror and derision for his heavy-handed voter suppression efforts as secretary of state, a post he refuses to relinquish as he runs for governor. Although Kemp would be much worse than GOP incumbent Nathan Deal and predecessor Sonny "Bass Farm" Perdue, I've agreed with longtime observers of Georgia politics that the state's vaunted demographics shift would again crash. My optimism about Abrams' campaign was stoked by a strongly reported article by the Nation's Joan Walsh, who... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Southern Bookman
The Catholic Church's canonization of slain El Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero has been overlooked in the crush of midterm election news and Saudi Arabia's alleged killing of a Washington Post writer. Romero, assassinated by a right-wing hit squad in 1980 as he was conducting Mass, became a saint earlier this month along with Pope Paul VI and several other lesser known Catholics. Catholic author Paul Elie, one of our best writers on religion and culture, explores in an incisive article in the current Atlantic what Romero's canonization means for Pope Francis and the church's moral stature as sexual abuse allegations... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Southern Bookman
The late comedian/social commentator Lenny Bruce "is having a pop culture resurgence," according to a New York Times article. During Bruce's career when he was oppressed by governmental authorities, the Times did little to support his battle for First Amendment freedom. It did report on his arrests. The article is one of the newspaper's several attempts during the years after Bruce's death to make amends. The strongest bit of evidence offered for a Bruce revival is the popularity of a play based on Bruce's performances. Ronnie Marmo's "I'm Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce" has gained a following in Los... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
Our grandchildren will not see bees, butterflies, beetles and spiders. Frogs, lizards and salamanders will be gone too. The alarming decline in insects is even worse than previously reported, according to a new study. Scientists doing research in a pristine rain forest in Puerto Rico found severe reductions in the number of insects, along with the lizards and birds that feed upon them, according to a Washington Post article. The falloff was linked to climate change, the newspaper said. Following a UN report last week that humanity has 12 years to forestall the worst effects of climate change, the loss... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
My dismal experience at YMCA camp gave me one of my strongest childhood memories: meeting the Green Bay Packers' Jim Taylor. Nearly 60 years later I remember the crew-cut Jimmy standing in the dim light of a rustic cabin before a gaggle of preadolescent boys wearing Camp Arrowhead T-shirts, blue jeans and high-top Keds. As I sat on a roughhewn bench, my misery drifted away with the thrill that I was in the presence of someone big and famous. I can't recall what the square-jawed and muscular Green Bay Packers fullback said, probably something about the importance of hard work,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Southern Bookman
Kurt: Thanks for comment. I've long admired Lowell and his poetry. I'll check out the Spiegelman book.
1 reply
Can the thought of Lionel Trilling matter now? The critic and Columbia English professor who wrote "The Liberal Imagination" died in 1975, after seeing his beloved university beset by 1960s radicalism and his traditional literary culture buffeted by change. As the nation's political discourse sinks into chaos, Trilling's rigorous analysis of politics and culture has a muted return with a volume of selected letters, surely a vanishing literary genre. Edited by critic and poet Adam Kirsch, a late member of Trilling's long-waning tradtion, the collection brings back a world in which writers consciously wrote letters with a view toward posterity.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I thought I'd had enough of reading about the Civil War. Then I saw Stephen W. Sears' massive tome, "Lincoln's Lieutenants: The High Command of the Army of the Potomac" in the Charleston Preservation Society's bookstore. Years before, I'd been absorbed by Sears' histories of the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Sears generated narrative excitement by weaving dramatic vignettes of individual soldiers with compelling discussions of broader strategic aims and battlefield developments. Sears in "Lincoln's Lieutenants" again blends a novelist's flair with a historian's precision. His accounts of the political intrigues and personality clashes of Lincoln's presidency demonstrate that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I've been disappointed by the Literary Hub web site. Its articles often wallow in author self-indulgence and book fetishism. An exception is Teddy Wayne's monthly interview column, "5 Writers, 7 Questions, No Wrong Answers." In the feature, Wayne asks five young or established fiction writers the same recurring questions about their inspiration, outside of books, and critical terms they find irritating. The writers also share what was going on in their lives when they were writing their novels or short story collections. The writers are asked to not respond in complete sentences, resulting in more imaginative, reflective and poetic answers.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The world still has time to escape the worst devastation from climate change. A UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released this week found that the world has 12 years to head off the most extreme disaster from climate change. The report found that enormous economic changes are needed to keep the world at a 1.5 degree celsius increase in temperatures over the pre-industrial era, rather than 2 degrees, according to a thorough article in the Guardian. That .5 degree margin will make a big difference, according to the report, saving hundreds of millions of people from poverty and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2018 at Southern Bookman
As the political and cultural cacophony assails us, Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith's "American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time" offers more reflective witness to the country's experience. The small, beautifully realized anthology, published by Graywolf Press and the Library of Congress, gives a vibrant sampling of the American poetry world. Like other poet laureates, Smith hopes to broaden poetry's audience. Along with the anthology, whose title is taken from a poem by Robert Hayden, the first black poet laureate, Smith is conducting readings in small towns that have had little access to poetry. Smith's selections include many of the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Dave Anderson's columns graced The New York Times sports pages. Like his former Times colleague Red Smith, Anderson wrote about sports with elegance and care for the English language. The last sportswriter to leave the Ebbets Field press box when the Dodgers fled Brooklyn for Los Angeles, Anderson wrote with a deep sense of history and tradition. Anderson's death Thursday at age 89 brought home the decline of the Times' sportswriting in recent years. Along with Anderson, the newspaper once published insightful and eloquent columnists like George Vescey and William Rhoden. Vescey came out of retirement Friday to warmly remember... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I remember autumn. Hope it comes again. Halloween decorations look forlorn in 90 degree heat. I remember when October meant changing seasons, not climate change. I remember when the United States Senate called itself the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body." Now, the institution once known for great orators and legislators rushes to put a sniveling, beer-guzzling, misogynistic liar on the Supreme Court. I remember when men valued holding their liquor. Now, the standard is drinking until puking? The Senate once valued truth and honesty. Now, the lies have it. Mississippi men in the past honored women. Now, they snigger as a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The "Porgy and Bess" movie soundtrack was one of my favorite albums during my childhood, frequently played on my father's 1960s-vintage cabinet hi-fi. George Gershwin's "Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" and "There's a Train That's Leavin' Soon for New York" have remained bright in my mind along with songs from another classic musical that brought joy to those long summer afternoons: "My Fair Lady." While criticized through the years for racial condescension and stereotypes, Gershwin's opera remains a landmark musical achievement, mainly because of its classic songs. After an initial 124 performances on Broadway,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at Southern Bookman
A middle-aged man says grace at the Francis Marion Hotel's Swamp Fox Restaurant. The two couples at the table grasp hands during the blessing. After their meals, they order peach cobbler and ice cream. Piano music fills the gracious room: American songbook classics and Paul McCartney's sweeter Beatles love songs. The piano player drifts easily from song to song, embellishing the familiar melodies with virtuoso grace notes and chord stylings. While the old port city is filled with new restaurants catering to foodie tourists, the Swamp Fox draws locals with traditional Charleston dishes. She-crab soup, first served in 1924. Shrimp... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I generally oppose public tax breaks for developers and owners of sports franchises, but the $5 billion plan for the downtown Atlanta gulch would transform the city. The Atlanta City Council is receiving praise for delaying Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' proposal to give the Los Angeles-based CIM Corp. up to $1.75 billion in tax reductions to build a massive mini-city at the desolate tangle of rail lines and parking lots near Mercedes-Benz Stadium. CIM owner Richard Ressler, the brother of Hawks owner Tony Ressler, wants to build a $5 billion complex of offices, apartments and retail stores at the site.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Henry Luce's media empire is breaking up at last, undone by the digital economy. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynn, are purchasing Time magazine from the Meredith Corp. for $190 million. The size of the purchase is surprising; longtime rival Newsweek was sold for virtually nothing a few years ago. The Benioff deal doesn't include former Luce jewels Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, which the midwestern company Meredith also wants to peddle. Along with Time, Luce's Fortune and Sports Illustrated were stalwarts of a fabled company that dominated the national media landscape. Money magazine came in later, riding... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The romance between Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard and American critics looks endangered. Ace New York Times book critic Dwight Garner in a caustic review Tuesday eviscerated the sixth volume of Knausgaard's novel, "My Struggle." Garner particularly decries a section of the book that analyzes Hitler's rise and fall, seen by Garner as an odious attempt by Knausgaard to justify his using the same title as Hitler's memoirs. Knausgaard's book traces the minute, everyday details of his life from childhood to adulthood. Rather than seen as a tedious exercise in self-indulgence, "My Struggle" gained a huge international readership and rapturous... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Harvard professor and popular historian Jill Lepore has scored the writer's hat trick of New York Times coverage. Lepore's weighty new history of the United States, "Those Truths," received a glowing review from right-wing writer Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday book review. An essay taken from Lepore's book ran on the front page of the Sunday Review opinion section. Then, on Monday morning, the Times ran a profile of Lepore on the front page of its arts section. The 942-page book is the first general history of the United States to appear in years, and one of the first written... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Thelonious Monk's posthumous rise into the pantheon of great American composers continues with two solo recordings of his complete works. Albums by pianist Jed Distler and guitarist Miles Okazaki are the first solo renditions of Monk's oeuvre, the latest homage to the troubled jazz genius, as reported by New York Times jazz critic Giovanni Russonello. Rivaling Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, Monk is known even by those who are not jazz fans. His compositions are frequently performed by a new generation of musicians, as his own albums keep getting rediscovered. While setting standards for jazz, his music transcends the genre.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The AJC each week publishes a historic front page from The Atlanta Constitution to mark the newspaper's 150th year, and Thursday's reprint offered coverage of President Theodore Roosevelt's visit to Roswell and Atlanta in October 1905. While vestiges of 19th century journalism remain, striking modern changes have arrived. While the passive voice and hyperbole still rule, there are no ads. The newspaper's columns are wider, and the type larger. Local boosterism dominates, but the language is not quite as pompous and stilted. Several photographs reflect the historical importance of the event, although their display lacks drama. Indicating a move toward... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2018 at Southern Bookman
A few copies of Bob Woodward's "Fear" lay on a small table Tuesday near the cash register at my friendly neighborhood Barnes & Noble. I was surprised that Woodward's blockbuster detailing the incompetence of Donald Trump didn't receive a more prominent display. While "Fear" might attract impulse buyers standing in the checkout line, the book had been placed inconspicuously away from the main display tables at the center of the store. Perhaps the B&N had landed only a few copies of the book, and didn't want to sell out too soon. As I waited to buy the first Paris Review... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Escaping from Rachel Maddow's daily political frenzy and the idiocy of Monday Night Football, I came across a "Lonesome Dove" episode on Starz Encore. Thank goodness, it was the part that mainly takes place on Clara Allen's horse ranch near Ogallala, Neb., not the long and tortuous account of Blue Duck's kidnapping of the prostitute Lorie, which I can barely stand to watch. The 1989 CBS miniseries taken from Larry McMurtry's novel has beautiful scenery that brings despair over the destruction of the country's natural habitat and public lands. When the miniseries was filmed 30 years ago, the country was... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Donald Trump's senior advisers blunt his worst impulses, according to new revelations this week about Trump's incompetence and mental instability. A book by Bob Woodward and an anonymous article on The New York Times op-ed page gave accounts of senior staff members carrying out a "second track government" that subverts Trump's impetuous decisions. Left unsaid is that the staff members see Trump as a vessel for their most odious policies. The anonymous writer describes Trump as "amoral" with "no guiding principles." Outside of a primitive core of slogans he uses to excite his base, Trump lacks a fully developed policy... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Watching Donald Trump fume about the "lying New York Times" before a bewildered group of sheriffs Wednesday afternoon, I imagined "Trump: The Opera." As the baritone playing Trump bewails the perfidy of his presidential staff, the sheriffs lined up behind him act like a Greek chorus. In ominous minor-key tones, they sing the word "lying" over and over, or "treason." The Trump character grows ever more frenzied, his voice rising until he stalks off the stage in a heart-pounding dramatic climax. Broadcast on Chuck Todd's daily "Meet the Press," Trump appeared before the sheriffs in their uniforms and cowboy hats... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2018 at Southern Bookman