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Levi Stahl

Levi Stahl has written 57 posts for The Constant Conversation

Whisky Priest Books

Anyone who frequents the shady corners of the Web where books are discussed is probably familiar with the Caustic Cover Critic blog. Proprietor James Morrison writes about book design–and, let’s be honest, is far too generous with his praise and judicious with his criticism to truly be called caustic–deploying a sharp eye, a ready wit, [...]


Though it’s possible that T. S. Eliot was correct when he famously said that “it appears likely that poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult,” there are nonetheless times when difficulty is not what we want. As Nicholson Baker writes in his dizzyingly poetry-besotten novel The Anthologist,
The rhyming of [...]

Pssst! Hey, Santa!

For those of you still shopping . . . poet and Quarterly Conversation contributor Ron Slate has rounded up nineteen poets and gotten them to offer brief notes on their favorite poetry books of the year.
Nineteen! At one per family member, that will probably take you at least through first cousins!

Giacomo Leopardi

In the October 25th issue of the New Yorker, Adam Kirsch–one of the smartest poetry critics working today–wrote about a new translation of the Canti of nineteenth-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi by FSG publisher Jonathan Galassi. Kirsch’s review highlighted the
unremitting quality of Leopardi’s pessimism, the crushing insistence, which distinguishes it from the seductive melancholy of [...]

A free ticket to the Dance!

Being a book publicist—which is what I do in my daily life—is a pretty great way to make a living. Especially if you work, as I do, at a university press: you get to work with smart people to get the word out about smart books. And what could be better than talking to people [...]

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  • Pete: If nothing else, that headline would have totally pissed off Huey Lewis.
  • Levi Stahl: In a large sense, it’s not a patch on his major work, but good god, I love Javier Marias’s...
  • KAO: Good to have you back, sir.
  • Soo Jin Oh: Hi, Jeff, I am loving the dispatches from the Winter Institute as it was one event I always wished I...
  • Jeff Waxman: That cover for CONTEMPTIBLE is phenomenal! Thanks, gents!
  • Diane: This only confirms what I have known intuitively for several years now in relation to my own store in the...
  • Jeff Waxman: Not in my family, it won’t.
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  • Levi Stahl: Ouch. That sounds easily bad enough to take the prize. E-mail me with your address and I’ll put the...
  • DebraG: Thanks, Levi, for your post. By linking Jonathan Ames and “Dance” you’ve prompted me to...