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Saturday, May 20, 2017


Novelist and poet Seb Doubinsky (he writes in both French and English) has a new project he calls "The Tabago Page." Interviews with writers will not focus on marketing and promotion but try to dig a little deeper into the work and the novelist or poet (or the poet-novelist or novelist-poet. Not sure what I am!)

Here is my interview.

And thanks to those who have already shared on social media. 


  1. What a provocative sentence and image: "Books are the tinder under the phoenix." I now have to think more and differently about the immolation and resurrection of the phoenix. Thanks, Marly, for sharing.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Tim! Glad you liked that.

  2. I wonder what age you were when the coffee table ceased to be "brownish", "creamish" or "sort of light" and became blonde. Blonde is an adult word, possibly even a woman's word; the date would be significant.

    Surprised you still re-read Cooper given Twain's elegant hatchet job. But then our childhood reading is corralled and cherished.

    How bereft I am, sorting through the re-read foreigners. If it wasn't for Donne, Bleak House and Yeats my posy would be greatly withered. Oh yes, WITW and Sendak, although if given thirty minutes I might be able to recite the latter.

    Joyce? (On the Kindle, at my elbow. Later dipping is OK, says Anthony Burgess) That Proust hole - I think being close to France and regularly visiting helps; the street names soothe me as do the character names: Guermantes, the three-dimensional (nay, four-dimensional) Mme de Verdurin, Charlus (A name that compels good pronunciation - ...loo-oos). But only two compared with multitudes. I can no longer call myself a reader, there is a greater imperative; these are mere notes and yet even here I'm constantly going back cutting away dead wood; branches that have died during the last few minutes.

    Occasionally I've cried at what I've written then damned myself, recognising incompetence or, more especially, incompleteness; meaning I see things more clearly than my readers are ever likely to and that's a terrible inscription for a tombstone.

    Sorry. Just wandering. But then you provide the necessary glades. Marly Glades, an academic who loses tenure and sets up as a private eye in Boise, Idaho. Because I like the way Boise is pronounced.

    1. I remember that table so well! Who knows what color I called it then...

      Now I don't reread Cooper, but I used to. But I do reread "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses." Delicious.

      Oh, I forgot Joyce. Yes, I used to reread the stories and "Portrait." For that matter, I've reread some Burgess. I'm not a fan of late Joyce. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

      More anon. Insomnia driving me batsbatsbats. I shall go lie in bed and flip around like a fish for an hour or two.

      Proust in Boise. Title?

      If you were satisfied the next day (after the tears), you probably would hang up your bard's cap. Never being satisfied is part of the call, right?

  3. Marcel meets James Jesus Appleton*

    *Born Boise, became chief of CIA counter-intelligence.

    Spook and author served each other coffee at Kwikfit, downtown Intercourse, Pa, waiting for their punctures to be fixed. A non-story.

    1. Deciding whether you changed his name from Angleton in order to fly under radar or because you love Andrew Marvell...

  4. I really enjoyed that interview, especially since you don't offer any of the standard author answers. The world needs more enthusiasm.

    (Random but fun American medievalism fact of the day: when J.F. Cooper decided to add castle battlements to Otsego Hall around the edges of his sloped roofs, they proved troublesome. They kept the snow from sliding off the roof and caused damage and leaks. Just learned that last night...)

    1. Hello, Insomnia Woman here--

      Glad you liked it. I'm afraid that I'm allergic to standard. But you know how it is--that's doom in some ways, better (for me) in others. A lot of people prefer the standard varieties of the written word.

      I have a friend who owns a Gothic bookcase salvaged from the fire at Otsego Hall. Poor Otsego Hall. First water, then fire. I've never been inside it, but Byberry Cottage (Susan Fenimore Cooper's house) has remains of the house incorporated into it, and the brick section is made of bricks from the Hall.

      Around here, the big expert on such things is Hugh MacDougall, and he has a lot of Cooper and Cooperstown materials housed online at Cooper's Otsego County. His "A Bicentennial Guide of Sites in Otsego County Associated with the Life and Fiction of James Fenimore Cooper, 1789-1851" has some information about the Hall. And that reminds me that I should see how he is doing....

    2. I'm currently working my way through a lengthy reading list of books and articles about Gothic architecture in America, and to my amazement I've not yet seen a reference to Cooper's (and your) church. It can't have gone unnoticed by architectural historians, and I expect to see someone mention it eventually, but it's certainly under-noticed. One of these summers Diane and I will surely find our way up there on a road-trip. (Before then, I'll have to binge-read more Cooper. He's a significant force in early American medievalism.)

    3. Perhaps that's because Cooper was a transformer of existing buildings rather than a promoter of ground-up Gothic--he didn't conceive of going Gothic until after his European trip. The church is lovely; it's too bad Otsego Hall is gone, but the Cooper Grounds make a lovely park right in the center of the village. If you have questions, write Hug MacDougall. He would adore getting letters from an interested Cooper fan! He occasionally gets visits from researchers, and he is extremely knowledgeable (also very elderly, but a mine of knowledge.)

      We do have a number of buildings that would interest you: the Norman tower in the woods; Kingfisher Tower (a nod to the Mouse Tower on the Rhine) in the edge of Otsego Lake; Christ Church; the Christ Church rectory (Tudor revival.)

      Kerry Dean Carso: "He added decorative buttresses to the exterior of the church, replaced its windows with pointed arch windows, and completely overhauled the interior by replacing the painted pine with natural oak. Cooper had an oak screen based on the one in Newstead Abbey in Nottingham from the twelfth century carved for the altar.19 A new chancel was built, attached to the western fa├žade of the original church. Of the final product, Cooper commented "It is really a pretty thing—pure Gothic, and is the wonder of the country round."20 With the renovation of Christ Church, Cooper had again brought medieval Gothic to Cooperstown. Cooper's church is significant not in the history of American church architecture, but as a testament to the impact Gothic architecture had on Cooper during his travels abroad." --from "The Old Dwelling Transmogrified: James Fenimore Cooper's Otsego Hall." He (she?) doesn't mention the stone Gothic altar. I believe it was imported.

      Have you read Cooper's "Home as Found"? That's the one that deals with Otsego Hall fictionally.

    4. Oh, there's the most cunning little guest house on the west side of the lake, too! The mansion burned, but there are a number of little buildings left. The guest house and the (imaginary) mansion are in my "Glimmerglass." I went to lunch there one day and fell in love. So charming! There are, I think, two half-timbered buildings by the lake behind the guest house. They're private property but I saw them when my daughter had a pastels class that used the grounds.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.