Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vanishing worlds

This Sunday I went to fetch first thing, as always, the Book World section from the Washington Post, but it was not there. I knew the newspaper had ended the section as a stand-alone, and I even had a review in the final edition, but old habits die hard. In the Outlook section, a spate of non-fiction books were reviewed, as promised, and in the weekday issues, novels fall under scrutiny. But it just isn't the same.

I had heard earlier in the week of the loss of another cherished institution: the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh. Since 1966, it has been bringing world renowned poets to my old home town -- from Seamus Heaney to Richard Wilbur to every one, and for an aspiring writer, it was a heady experience to sit in the dark and listen to these great poets say their poems and have the words settle on the audience like warm snow. The Forum, like Book World, is a victim of the damn recession and the vanishing reader.

We miss you.

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