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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
Like medieval princes seeking to marry the wealthy king's daughter, cities large and small have submitted their pitches to make Jeff Bezos even richer. From Newark to LaGrange, Ga., the towns touted their benefits to land the second headquarters for Bezos' retail juggernaut Amazon. The company claims that the new headquarters will bring the lucky city 50,000 new jobs. Economists say that such high-tech endeavors as the Amazon effort generate even more startups. Atlanta, which made a glitzy video in cooperation with state economic touters, is favored to at least make the finals, according to the AJC. Unable to find... Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at Southern Bookman
Like other longtime Atlantans, I enjoyed seeing the Atlanta landmarks in "Baby Driver." However, the film hardly does for Atlanta what "Bullitt" did for San Francisco. Or "The French Connection" for New York City. Burt Reynolds' "Sharkey's Machine" gave Atlanta a more menacing big city vibe. "Smokey and the Bandit" had more exciting car chases. While I liked Ansel Elgort as Baby, he didn't appear that competent a get-away driver. He kept getting bogged down on the interstates. Michael Pollard in "Bonnie and Clyde" seemed more adept at leaving the cops behind. Well, in Baby's defense, Atlanta's traffic can be... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Southern Bookman
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I've wondered what New Yorker writer A.J. Liebling would make of the Trump era and its fogs of fake news, Internet sensationalism and social media alarms. No doubt, Liebling would chronicle old-line print publications like The New York Times, Washington Post and his own New Yorker as they uncover the Trump administration's assaults on American democracy while seeking to survive in the online world of Google, Twitter and Facebook. Today marks Liebling's 113th birthday, as Garrison Keillor noted in his Writer's Almanac. Born in 1904 in New York City, Liebling died on Dec. 28, 1963, a little over a month... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Southern Bookman
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Richard Wilbur, who died Saturday at age 96, forged a brilliant career translating French literature, a calling he shared with fellow poets John Ashbery and Richard Howard. The three have not only achieved long and distinguished careers as American poets and critics. They've also given American audiences a varied collection of French literature, expanding the understanding of French culture. Beginning in the 1950s, Wilbur gained renown as the leading translator of classical French theater, including plays by Moliere, Jean Racine and Pierre Corneille. As poet/critic Dana Gioia noted in an essay on Wilbur's career, the Pulitizer Prize-winning poet began translating... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
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Richard Wilbur was a member of the great generation of American poets who gained fame after World War II. Unlike his gifted peers, Wilbur lived on into the 21st century, extending his poetic career with a brilliant late flowering. Like contemporary Howard Nemerov, another combat veteran, Wilbur remained true to meter and rhyme. Wilbur, who died Saturday at age 96, gained fame for his serenity and affirmation of art, nature and life's daily customs and rhythms. While Wilbur during his career was accused of lacking passion and fire, his "Collected Poems:1943-2004" stands among America's major poetic achievements, displaying far-reaching imagination... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
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Richard Wilbur was a member of the great generation of American poets who gained fame after World War II. Unlike his gifted peers, Wilbur lived on into the 21st century, extending his poetic career with a brilliant late flowering. Like contemporary Howard Nemerov, another combat veteran, Wilbur remained true to meter and rhyme. Wilbur, who died Saturday at age 96, gained fame for his serenity and affirmation of art, nature and life's daily customs and rhythms. While Wilbur during his career was accused of lacking passion and fire, his "Collected Poems:1943-2004" stands among America's major poetic achievements, displaying far-reaching imagination... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
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The Morgan Museum and Library keeps coming up with exhibits that make me long to hop a jet for New York City. Following a show on author Henry James' influence on American portraits in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Morgan is displaying drawings from the collection of art gallery owner Eugene V. Thaw and his wife, Clare. New York Times arts critic Holland Cotter's review Friday stirred my aesthetic senses. Cotter's descriptions of the drawings by obscure artists and well-known painters like Picasso and Goya indicated a major event that displays the medium's immediacy and elemental artistic... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Bookman
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A recent trip to Boston uncovered gaps in my Revolutionary War knowledge. Boston's Freedom Trail, denoted by red bricks meandering along city sidewalks, tells the story of the American colonies' battle for independence from Great Britain. The revolution stirred in Boston and nearby towns with the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party and other flashpoints. Visits to the Old North Church and Paul Revere's House gave a new understanding of the early days of the revolution. In previous years, we'd visited Lexington and Concord, where the revolution's first shots were fired in April 1775, and the Bunker Hill monument. I'd forgotten... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Has Sylvia Plath fatigue reached The New York Times? Times critic Parul Sehgal, who has brought a welcome fresh voice to the newspaper's Arts section, on Wednesday dismissed the first volume of Plath's collected letters, from 1940-1956. The volume includes Plath's voluminous correspondence with her mother, Aurelia. Sehgal says Plath's mother fixation lay at the root of the poet's mental instability. Reading about Plath's relationship with Aurelia, I was reminded of Richard Wilbur's poem about encountering the fragile young Plath and her mother on a visit to a mutual friend in 1953. (See below). The first volume covers Plath's life... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Color TV burst into the nation's living rooms in the early 1960s, along with pro football. New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle was one of the NFL's stars in those days when autumn Sunday afternoons revealed a game more suited for television than baseball, the established "national pastime." Looking like an aging sea captain caught in a storm of blitzing linemen, Tittle hurled thunderbolt passes to a pack of Giants receivers, including Frank Gifford, the subject of Frederick Exley's love letter to the Giants, "A Fan's Notes." Although in that pre-Super Bowl era Tittle's Giants lost three NFL championship games,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Like fellow Stanford writing program alum Ernest Gaines, Larry McMurtry has fashioned a long and distinguished literary career based on his home territory. While Gaines's novels are rooted in the black sharecropping community in rural Louisiana where he spent his childhood, McMurtry has set his work in his native Texas. A cornerstone of McMurtry's accomplishment has been acknowledged this fall with the publication of the "Thalia Trilogy," collecting the three novels that take place in Thalia, the fictionalized small Texas town based on Archer City, Texas, where McMurtry grew up. In recent years, McMurtry returned to Archer City, boosting the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Move over, Eve Babitz. Maxine Groffsky's my latest literary crush. I'd never heard of Groffsky until discovering a witty, nostalgic and scintillating interview with her in the current Paris Review. Groffsky in the interview recalls her days as the Paris Review's Paris editor during the 1960s. She was the literary journal's last Paris editor, closing the office and ending a romantic era that began with the journal's founding by George Plimpton and others in the early 1950s. Plimpton held the editor's title during Groffsky's time at the Paris Review, but she did most of the hard work of putting out... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2017 at Southern Bookman
It's getting harder to love baseball. I want to follow the playoffs, which this year feature glamour teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox. We have the lovable Indians, seeking to break their own World Series curse, as the Cubs did last year against the very same Tribe. The Astros, whom I've followed since childhood, and the Diamondbacks are powerful squads with little national following. After Houston's Hurricane Harvey flooding, the Astros will be lauded as symbolizing the city's recovery. The D-Backs? They have some fine ballplayers who toil in obscurity. Hoping for a Dodgers-Yankees or Cubs-Red Sox... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Philip Roth and Don DeLillo are often mentioned as possible Nobel Prize winners, but I offer another worthy American candidate: Louisiana's Ernest J. Gaines. Like Nobel winner William Faulkner, Gaines has created profound universal literature from stories found in his small home territory. Gaines' novels such as "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," "A Gathering of Old Men" and "A Lesson Before Dying" have received international recognition for their vision of humanity. His fictionalized black community based on his home in rural Pointe Coupee Parish, La., will last for future generations of readers. Writer Wiley Cash, who studied under Gaines... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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I was surprised that the Ted Kennedy Library in Boston gave prominent display space to J.D. Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy." Vance's mega-bestselling memoir about his rise from a troubled Appalachian family to Yale Law School and Silicon Valley career is the latest conservative bible, preaching self-reliance and hard work over government dependence. While Vance and a few other relatives achieve success, the book's prevailing story is the decline of a white working class family beset by social and economic changes in rural Kentucky and Ohio. As Vance's mother, a trained nurse, succumbs to drug addiction and a series of unstable marriages,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Sitting in an Atlanta traffic jam after a weeklong stay in Boston, I wondered why Amazon would chose the Big Peach Pit for its second headquarters over the New England Hub. The Boston Globe every day during our trip ran a front-page story on Boston's chances of landing the Amazon deal. If I read correctly, Massachusetts won't offer Amazon any tax breaks. It'll stand on its developed mass transit - fraying as it is -, educated work force (Boston seems to have a college on every street corner) and cultural offerings. Boston has a traffic problem too, despite its extensive... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's "The Vietnam War" didn't mention Norman Mailer's "The Armies of the Night" in the PBS documentary's look at the March on the Pentagon in October 1967. The show did show a clip of Mailer arm in arm at the march with poet Robert Lowell and linguist/American foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky. The writers anchor a line of middle-aged, distinguished-looking marchers, who wear coats and ties and have serious, intellectual looks. The group probably includes noted child-care expert Dr. Benjamin Spock and writer Dwight Macdonald, although I couldn't identify them. While showing a fleeting glimpse of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Parul Sehgal's calm, clearly written book reviews have brightened The New York Times' daily Arts section like morning sunlight. Named to the newspaper's daily book review staff after the recent departure of longtime chief critic Michiko Kakutani, Sehgal avoids the pompous critic-speak that marred Kakutani's work. Sehgal knows how to reach the common reader without dumbing down her sentences. A former editor for The Times' Sunday Book Review, Sehgal has joined Dwight Garner and Jennifer Senior in the book review rotation with occasional contributions from veteran Janet Maslin. None of the writers holds the title of "chief critic." Kakutani wielded... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Richard Russo's recent short story collection is called "Trajectory," although the characters have reached the end of their life path. With developed plots that illuminate the characters' personalities, the book's four stories give the reading pleasures of the fiction that used to appear in publications like the Saturday Evening Post and the Atlantic, and still does from time to time in The New Yorker and Harper's. Yes, the New Yorker and Harper's still publish a story in each issue. In recent years, experimental work has taken prominence over traditional stories driven by plot and character. Like his grandfather, a glove-making... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2017 at Southern Bookman
I'm already exhausted after two episodes of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's "Vietnam." Three hours gone, 15 to go. The show will grow even more grueling. John F. Kennedy's assassination and the photo of Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office on the plane in Dallas ended the second part Monday night. Johnson's escalation of the war, including bombing Vietnam "to the stone age," will take up much of the remaining eight episodes, along with Richard's Nixon's and Henry Kissinger's brutal and deceitful ending of the war. I'll have to keep fighting off the impulse to yell at the screen,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Now the bell tolls for Rolling Stone. Founder Jann Wenner has announced plans to sell the financially troubled entertainment/political magazine as its nears the 50th anniversary of its first issue, shown at left. Wenner's announcement, which received a long valedictory story on the front page of The New York Times' business section Monday, is the latest red alert for the publishing industry. Last week, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and several other editors of once-unassailable magazines announced they were stepping down. Earlier, the Village Voice, which rivaled Rolling Stone as a counterculture bible, said it was ending its print edition... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2017 at Southern Bookman
The Rouge in Baton Rouge now means bloody. Seven people have been killed by gunfire in my hometown this week, making 73 murders so far this year. In 2016, the Louisiana capital totaled 62 shooting deaths. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III cited the Mississippi River town's "brutal summer," telling the Baton Rouge Advocate he hoped the killings were "a peak, not a trend." He made that comment the day before the seventh killing occurred. Several of the slayings, which looked like gang warfare to this distant reader, occurred in the Old South Baton Rouge neighborhood, also... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Books stirred as much excitement during my college days as the latest record by the Velvet Underground or film by Brian De Palma. Novelist J.P. Dunleavy's "The Ginger Man" and "The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B" drew rapturous praise from a few of my pals. The author's picaresque characters such as "The Ginger Man's" Sebastian Dangerfield served as life guides for some acquaintances, as dubious as that seems. Dunleavy, born in New York City of Irish parents, died this week at age 91. He lived on a huge estate in Ireland, claiming Irish citizenship because of its tax-free policy for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Will Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology edge out Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology? The home of the Kennedy Library beat the home of the Carter Library? Boston has emerged as the favorite to land Amazon's second headquarters, according to Bloomberg News. Atlanta and every other U.S. city with any trace of a digital economy are competing to win the site. The Seattle-based Amazon said the $5 billion investment would bring 50,000 jobs to the winning city. That would be a lot of beans for Beantown. A Boston victory in the Amazon sweepstakes would be bitter for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at Southern Bookman
Often knocked out by snowstorms over the years, Atlanta has staggered through its first tropical storm. That looks like the future. Along with winter snow jams and springtime thunderstorms, Atlanta will now vie with autumn hurricanes. The summers will grow hotter. On the bright side, traffic will improve as fewer people want to move here. Atlanta is part of the tropics now. Will beachfront property be far behind? Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at Southern Bookman