Guest Post: W.F. Lantry Remembering Stanley Elkin

Stanley Elkin: Fiction as a Form of Mathematics
By W.F. Lantry

So there I was, just inside the Beltway, watching some popular movie the other day. When you’re writing a novel, there’s a lot to be said for watching movies from the same genre, and besides, the heroine was pretty. Anyway, at one point, the protagonist is about to be indicted. He’s not sure what to do, and he’s standing at an intersection here in town. It’s really more of a crossroads, and he stops at the corner. He has no idea which way to go.

His lawyer is in one of our glass office buildings, a few stories up, and sees him standing there. So the lawyer takes out his cell phone, and calls the guy. And he says, “Trust me on this one, I’ve seen a lot of these cases. No matter what happens from now on, you will never be the person you were before. You need to give all that up. You need to figure out who you’re going to be from now on. It’s just a problem you need to solve.” The scriptwriter must have been a fan of Stanley Elkin.

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W.F. Lantry on Visiting Stevens

"One must have a mind of winter": In 1932, Stevens purchased this 1926 Colonial Revival style house in Hartford, living there until his death in 1955.


My world is real, but it is not yours. In mine, small electric devices are engraved with lines from Stevens: “The single artificer of the world.” We were in Vermont, and driving home. Shirley was with us. We had to go through Hartford.

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Three poems: Two after “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, One on Pilgrimage

Three wonderful writers sent in poems–two after one of Stevens’s most popular and most influential poems, “Thirteen Ways of Looking a Blackbird” In alphabetical order: Tiff Holland, W.F. Lantry, and William Walsh

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