Category Archives: obituaries

Remembering Wislawa Szymborska and Dorothea Tanning

Craig Morgan Teicher -- February 2nd, 2012

Two beloved poets passed away this week: Nobel winner Wislawa Szymborska, who died yesterday at 88, and Surrealist painter turned poet Dorothea Tanning, who died on Tuesday at 101.   Both women led extraordinary, and extraordinarily different lives.  By way of remembrance, we wanted to simply quote a few lines from a poem by each…

from “Miracle Fair” by Wislawa Szymborska:

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.


from “Artist, Once” by Dorothea Tanning:

enfolded as in a pregnancy,
those not-yet-painted works

to be. They, hanging fire,
slow to come—to come

out—being deep inside her,
oozing metamorphosis

in her warm dark, took
their time and promised.

Fast forward. Trapped in now,
she’s not all that sure.

Compared to what entwined
her mind before the test,

before the raw achievement
pat, secure—oh, such bounty

to be lived, yet untasted,
undefined—all the rest…

Jeanne Leiby, Editor of The Southern Review Has Died

Craig Morgan Teicher -- April 20th, 2011

Jeanne Leiby, the editor of the literary journal The Southern Review died on Tuesday in a single-car crash in Louisiana, reports the LA Times. The Southern Review is one of America’s most respected and longstanding literary magazines, and Leiby, who served as editor for the past three years, has been praised not only for navigating budget challenges at the Review’s home-university of LSA and bringing the magazine into the digital age, but also adding a welcome level of warmth and humanness to hear dealings with writers.

In a blog post on the TSR blog, for instance, she discusses her practice of calling writers whose work she is accepting:

I spend a lot of my life rejecting things—that’s the reality of my job. When I find something that excites me so much I want to put it in print, I’m happy, I’m thrilled. In the moment of the call, the writer likes me and I like her and we celebrate the work. I call because we—all of us at TSR—strive to build long-term relationships with our writers. We want to engage as much as possible in their writing lives because it’s our job.

Leiby was a beloved presence in the literary world and will be much missed.  More information is available on the LSU Web site.

Hugh Prather, Self-Help Phenom, Dies at 72

Craig Morgan Teicher -- November 22nd, 2010

Hugh Prather, author of the wildly popular self-help book Notes to Myself, has died at 72.  He was in his hot tub and apparently died of a heart attack, according to the NYT obit. Notes to Myself was first published in 1970 by a small press, then quickly outsold its first printing; it’s gone on to sell five million copies and is still in print–published by Bantam–today.

The book was composed of a series of journal entries, little notes to the self, like this:

“When I get to where I can enjoy just lying on the rug picking up lint balls, I will no longer be too ambitious.”

Notes to Myself was also the inspiration for Jack Handy’s “Deep Thoughts” sketches aired on “Saturday Night Live.” But all kidding aside, Prather’s book was a source of comfort and help to many. Anyone have memories of the book to share?

The PW Morning Report: Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 10th, 2010

It’s Friday…you know what that means…

Swedish Narcissus: The Millions had such a good title for this article about Stieg Larsson that we had to reuse it.

Another Kind of Paper Book: Jennifer Egan tells Salon why she won’t give up her paper day-planner for an electronic one.

Old-Fashioned Bookselling: NPR extols the virtues of good old word-of-mouth advertising for books.

Thomas Guinzburg Dies at 84: Here is the NYT obit for Guinzburg, a founder of the Paris Review and longtime head of Viking.

Pentagon Seeks to Destroy Book: The Pentagon wants to buy up the entire first printing of a book that details covert military operations.

Accepting the Digital Future of Books: Wired‘s Jonah Lehrer struggles to accept the digital future of books.

The Return of Cool-er: The Cool-er e-reader is on its way back after the company went under.  The Bookseller reports on a new partnership that could resurrect the e-reader.

Sir Frank Kermode Dies At 90

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 18th, 2010

Frank Kermode, the preeminent British critic and author, most recently, of Concerning E.M. Forester, died at 90 years old this week.  He was the rare critic and academic whose name was known beyond the academy.  In its obituary for Kermode, the Guardian said, “This was what he did best, and with grace: unraveling the ways in which ideas worked in literature.” He did this for a broad audience on both sides of the Atlantic.

Kevin Morrissey of Virginia Quarterly Review Has Died

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 3rd, 2010

It is with a heavy heart that we report that Kevin Morrissey, Managing Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review, took his own life on Friday.  Details of his death were confirmed yesterday.  His co-worker at VQR, Waldo Jaquith, wrote about the tragedy in a post on his blog:

This morning, shortly after 11:00, my friend and boss Kevin Morrissey took his own life at the coal tower. He left his apartment, walked down Water Street and called the police to report a shooting at the coal tower, a shooting that actually came shortly thereafter. A lifetime of grappling with depression combined with recent stresses proved too much for him. He was the managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia since 2003. Kevin was dogged at his work, meticulous in his detail, and one of the finest human beings I’ve had the privilege to know. Survived by his father, sister, and brothers, he was was 52 years old.