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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
The 400th anniversary of Andrew Marvell's birth arrived in March, so I've been rereading his poems. The Restoration-era English poet, essayist and diplomat was honored in the Times Literary Supplement recently with new poems by Paul Muldoon, Will Harris and Angela Leighton. Muldoon responded to Marvell's "The Mower to the Glowworms" with a comic poem from a glowworm's point of view, while Harris reflected upon Marvell's complementary "The Mower." Marvell's poems recall a wild English countryside all but destroyed by modern development. Muldoon and Harris give hope for a resurgence of Marvell's natural world. The most historically resonant poem is... Continue reading
Posted 8 hours ago at Southern Bookman
Revered for signing Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey triggered the Negro Leagues' demise. Rickey refused to compensate Robinson's Negro Leagues team, the Kansas City Monarchs, as well as not paying other black teams when he signed their players, according to Negro Leagues historian Andrea Williams' article in Thursday's New York Times. The article appeared on Jackie Robinson Day, the anniversary of Robinson's debut with the Dodgers in 1947. Honoring the major leagues' first black player, the members of each team wear Robinson's number 42. Williams, the author of "Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
Frank Jacobs never wrote for Broadway. Instead, Jacobs contributed countless parodies of show tunes to Mad magazine during its glory years. With more than 500 bylines in his 57 years, he played a major role in defining the magazine, upon which Baby Boomer kids like me gorged. His value to the magazine is summed up by the title of a collection of his poem parodies: "Mad for Better or Verse." He made "Fiddler on the Roof" "Antenna on the Roof," skewering suburban America. "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" he turned into "Louella Schwartz Describes Her Malady." In "East... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
Carbon emissions rose during 2020, barely slowed by the covid pandemic. The amount of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere has reached its highest level in 3.6 million years, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Salon article said. While the Covid economic shutdown impeded carbon emissions, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere rose to 412.5 parts per million, an increase of 2.6 parts per million over the year. Scientists say that the carbon level must be reduced to 350 parts per million if the world is to escape the worst effects of climate... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Southern Bookman
The Braves' mediocre start hasn't stopped Ronald Acuna Jr. fever from raging. AJC columnist Mark Bradley, whose pronouncements make me nervous given his track record of being wrong, anointed the buoyant Braves right fielder the best player in baseball, along with the stolid Angeles outfielder Mike Trout. No Atlanta fans would disagree, after seeing Acuna hit a routine grounder to Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius and beat Gregorius' good throw to first base for an infield hit. That made the sports world sit up in wonder. In the Braves dismal loss to the Marlins Monday night, Acuna again accomplished an amazing... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Southern Bookman
Ken Burns' Ernest Hemingway documentary is drawing fire for neglecting the FBI's surveillance of the writer. Journalists David Talbot on his web site and David Masciotra in a Salon article berated Burns and Lynn Novick for ignoring longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's vendetta against Hemingway, which worsened the anguish that led to the author's suicide. The Hemingway series' avoidance of the FBI harassment is all the more glaring when several Academy Award-nominated films examined the FBI's surveillance of black civil rights leaders and entertainers and white leaders of the antiwar movement during the 1960s. Hemingway attracted the FBI's attention... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Bookman
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's Ernest Hemingway documentary left me with deep sadness. I've admired the writer for years, especially his early short stories, while despairing at his masculine posturing, cruelty to friends and loved ones and bloodlust for hunting animals. The exhaustive six-hour PBS program gives a devastating postmortem of Hemingway's personality dissolution, exacerbated by frequent brain injuries. I wanted to free myself, as did Hemingway’s most independent wife, Martha Gellhorn. Yet, hooked likd his last sad wife Mary, I kept watching, no matter how appalling his behavior turned. Written and narrated by Burns stalwarts Geoffrey C. Ward and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2021 at Southern Bookman
I've been amused by the misguided campaign for a Masters protest of Georgia's voter suppression law. Even sophisticated writers like the Atlantic's Jemele Hill have the misconception that the PGA tour runs the Masters, as Major League Baseball does the All-Star game. The PGA has nothing to do with the tournament. The annual "tradition like no other" is put on by the private and exclusive Augusta National Golf Club. Some even called for the Masters to be moved, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred switched the all-star game from Atlanta to Denver. That will never happen. The Masters would... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Ken Burns' Ernest Hemingway documentary on PBS mentioned that Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, served as war correspondents for Collier's magazine. Gellhorn covered the Spanish Civil War and World War II for Collier's, and she brought Hemingway to the magazine to cover the liberation of Europe from the Nazis after D-Day, as the series relates. Hemingway's ham-handed undermining of Gellhorn at the magazine led to their divorce. The program’s reference to Collier's bade me to do some Internet research about the magazine. Founded in 1888 by Peter Fenelon Collier, the once popular publication was a trailblazer in investigative... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Now that the Baylor Bears have dispatched the overhyped Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Great American Circus caravan can move on Baylor won a women's basketball championship a few years ago, and now the Baptist school from Waco rules the men's game once dominated by teams like Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Duke and Kentucky. Those old bluebloods need a transfusion. At least traditionalists could cheer for UCLA. All season, everyone talked about the Zags' greatness, especially after the Bears were knocked flat for a spell by the coronavirus. But after barely surviving the UCLA Bruins, who won 11 titles under John Wooden... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Moving major league baseball's all-star game out of Atlanta brought the "midsummer classic" its largest national attention in years. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the right choice in moving the All-Star game because of Georgia's law to suppress black voting rights. Sadly, the baseball all-star game's interest among sports fans has dwindled for years. Once the National League and American League all-stars competed to win, but now the event is a meaningless exhibition. Manfred's announcement contrasted with the NBA's insistence on holding its all-star game a month ago in Atlanta, against the initial trepidation of LeBron James and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Good Friday arrived early this year, on the second day of April. The month has a special light, bringing memories of spring snowstorms in New York City and Princeton, trips to Louisiana and stations of the cross and the final words of Christ at Sacred Heart in downtown Atlanta when I was a young catechumen. Although I rarely attend Mass these days, I still reread every year John Donne's "Good Friday, 1613. Traveling Westward," and George Herbert's "Easter Wings." On the beautiful spring morning, I opened once again my favorite book, "The Norton Anthology of English Literature," and turned to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Chicago Black Sox were born too soon. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned the great hitter and his White Sox teammates for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series, rigged by gamblers. Now, major league baseball embraces sports betting. Beginning with opening day Thursday, casino operator Bally will broadcast Braves games and other pro and college sports, taking over from Fox. Bally plans to eventually promote betting on games to young fans with interactive features. The regional sports networks, owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, will also show Atlanta Hawks and Nashville Predator games, along with Atlantic Coast... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Georgia Republicans' law to suppress minority voting comes as high-tech companies increase their presence in Atlanta, attracted by black STEM workers. Those black professionals sought by Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other companies will be hampered from voting because of the petulant GOP Legislature's law imposing state control over local election boards and limiting absentee ballots. The legislation even makes it a crime to give food and water to voters waiting in line. Those good Christian legislators must have forgotten the Bible story about Jesus asking the Samaritan woman at the well for a sip of water. She would have gone... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Rupert Murdoch seeks to own George Orwell. Murdoch's News Corp. announced on Monday a $349 million deal to purchase Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's book publishing unit, whose massive backlist encompasses Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm." If the deal goes through, big-lie purveyor Fox News Network will be in the same stable as Orwell's novels. Newspeak will co-exist on Fox broadcasts and the pages of "1984." Murdoch's Harper Collins will also gain rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Virginia Woolff's novels and Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men." When envisioning Willie Stark and the corruption of populism,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Larry McMurty's career was as big and undefinable as Texas, his native state and literary landscape. McMurtry, who died Thursday at age 84, wrote novels, screenplays, essays, biographies, memoirs, literary criticism and history, his voice constant. For bookish, would-be cosmopolitan Southern men like me, he was a trusted companion, giving advice on how to live with dying myths and relentless change. For much of his career, McMurtry was slighted by the Eastern critical establishment. For a while, he wore a T-shirt mocking himself as a minor regional novelist. But, along with Louisiana's Walker Percy, he was an essential writer for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2021 at Southern Bookman
When I was a boy, NBA teams like the Syracuse Nats, Cincinnati Royals, Philadelphia Warriors and St. Louis Hawks flickered across our TV screen on Sunday afternoons. Reading the long-vanished Sport magazine, with its glowing profiles of sports stars, I turned into an NBA fan, a rarity among Southern boys raised on college football. My favorite team was Bob Pettit's Hawks, who beat the Celtics of Bob Cousy and Bill Russell in 1957 to win the franchise's only championship. But my favorite player was the Lakers' Elgin Baylor. Soaring above the basket, leaping after the ball, Baylor was like a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2021 at Southern Bookman
If Nicky Pearson would have gone to Woodstock with his girlfriend, Sally, he would have heard John Sebastian's acoustic solo performance of "Darlin' Be Home Soon," which mesmerized the music festival's huge crowd. Sebastian's recording of the song with his band, The Lovin' Spoonful, casts a nostalgic glow on Nicky and Sally's fragile love affair during Tuesday night's "This Is Us." All of the broken hopes of the 1960s play out, shattered like the elderly Nicky's handmade snow globe. Yet, the dream endures at the episode’s end. Beautifully portrayed by Michael Angarano, the wounded young Nicky rejects Sally's dream of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Flannery O'Connor exhibited a saintly devotion to her writing and Catholic religion even before suffering from lupus. After the debilitating and eventually terminal disease forced O'Connor to return to her Georgia home, she followed a daily ritual of prayer and writing. She bravely led a constricted life of intense pain, living with her mother on a remote farm in Milledgeville, Ga. She died of the disease at age 39, leaving behind several daring novels and a collection of masterful short stories. Her letters to friends such as Atlanta resident Betty Hester are considered spiritual classics. O'Connor's courage and commitment to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Emily Stokes was named the Paris Review's new editor, in a surprisingly quick decision announced Tuesday. Stokes, senior editor at the New Yorker since 2018, will replace Emily Nemens, who recently announced she's leaving the august post to write her second novel. “Emily will honor the review's tradition of discovery,” said Paris Review publisher and noted writer Mona Simpson in the announcement of Stokes' appointment on the literary journal's web site. “I believe she’ll publish distinctive work in a distinctive way, with courage, subtlety, and style.” Whooo: courage, subtlety, and style: Founding Paris Review editor George Plimpton must be raising... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2021 at Southern Bookman
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Longtime New Yorker editor David Remnick stepped up to review Blake Bailey's new biography of Philip Roth, one of spring's most anticipated books. Remnick, who periodically writes for the New Yorker, points out in the magazine's current issue that authors often express horror at biographers pillaging their lives and work. But Roth cooperated with Bailey, granting him a number of interviews and complete access to his files. Roth didn't seek to control Bailey's views. Bailey's 900-pound opus arrives April 6, nearly three years after Roth's death, and is receiving extensive critical attention, most of it positive. The author of acclaimed... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2021 at Southern Bookman
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The lady in red wasn't Bob Dylan in drag. The beautiful woman smoking a cigarette and reclining on a living room chaise lounge on the cover of Dylan's 1965 album "Bringing It All Back Home" was Sally Grossman, the wife of Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman. Photographer Daniel Kramer took the photo at Grossman's home in Woodstock, N.Y. She, like Dylan's girlfriend Suze Rotelo, who appeared in the cover photo of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," gained fame as a Dylan muse. Sally Grossman, who went on to manage the Bearsville Recording Studio and theaters in Woodstock after her husband's death, died... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Ringo Starr is an inspiration. Serene and joyful at age 80, Starr is giving a series of media interviews keyed to the release Friday of his five-track album "Zoom In." Starr recorded the album during the pandemic via zoom and at his home studio, where several of his musical friends wore masks as they recorded. His record, and his related interviews in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today to New York magazine, shine a light of hope. As a member of the Beatles, Starr was overshadowed by the songwriting and musical brilliance of John Lennon and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2021 at Southern Bookman
They smoke a lot of cigarettes on "Prime Suspect." I missed the BBC police procedural starring Helen Mirren when it ran on PBS' "Masterpiece Theater" in the early '90s, and have searched for it ever since. After a couple of misses in streaming land, I at last found the show on Hulu and clicked it up. Mirren's beleaguered detective Jane Tennison does most of the smoking. Creepy serial killer Gary Marlow - another English poetry reference - also lights up an alarming number of cigs, especially when Jane at last breaks him into confessing. The cigarettes give "Prime Suspect" a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2021 at Southern Bookman
Carl Hiaasen is one of those journalists revered in newsrooms across the country. A best-selling novelist who could have left behind newspaper life, Hiaasen kept writing his column for the Miami Herald, blasting greedy Florida developers and politicians despoiling his native state's bountiful natural resources. After 35 years, Hiassen wrote his last column for the Herald this week. Hiaasen expressed sadness at the disappearance of local newspapers across the country. Hiaasen was admired by reporters throughout the United States for his fearless columns and his comic novels satirizing the state's rapacious business people. Many newspaper scribes write novels, dreaming of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2021 at Southern Bookman