"Lit Bits & Culture Capture" Blog Posts

Some Preliminary Thoughts on Contemporary Poetry

Natasha Trethewey during the Witter Bynner Fellowships Awards Ceremony
“Poetry is a very large house, and there are many kinds of poetry.”—Sam Hamill, poet, translator, former publisher, and cofounder of Copper Canyon PressRead More »

Celebrating the Freedom to Read! Banned Books Week: Sep 24–30, 2017

Display table with banned books
“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous—they contain ideas.” —Pete HautmanRead More »

The Blue Humanities

photo of a calm sea
“There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath . . . for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness . . . ” —Herman Melville, Moby-DickRead More »

Celebrating Herman Melville

Monument Mountain near Great Barrington, Massachusetts
“Melville, as he always does, began to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond human ken . . . It is strange how he persists—and has persisted ever since I knew him, and probably long before—in wandering to-and-fro over these deserts, as dismal and monotonous as the sand hills amid which we were sitting . . . If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us.” —Nathaniel HawthorneRead More »

Traveling with John Steinbeck—and Charley!

Vista Mission Mountains, National Bison Range, Montana
“I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation—a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every state I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.” —John Steinbeck, Travels with CharleyRead More »