Neighborly Success

July 2, 2010

It’s not every day that your former neighbor is named the Poet Laureate of the United States. Congratulations to W.S. Merwin!

I am not a huge poetry fan, but I’ve taken an interest in Merwin’s work over the years because of his proximity. He is often published in the New Yorker, and I always find his work to be so real — he truly captures how things feel. The Pulitzer Prize winner has published many, many poetry books, and I’m sure you would find something in all that make you think. I recommend The River Sound, which contains a poem about my old apartment building! (Click here to check it out on Amazon.)

Here’s a story about Mr. Merwin that I’m sure you won’t hear anyplace else. He lived upstairs on the 6th floor of  a walkup in the West Village, I on the 4th, and he had been living there for many years before me. By the time I moved in, he was spending the majority of his time in Hawaii, but he kept his place in the West Village. Since it was a rent controlled apartment that he had moved into many years prior, the rent was comparatively low. I would see him once in a while to say hi and then I wouldn’t see him for a long stretch. And then one day my neighbor told me what happened: Merwin had given an interview in the New York Times, and he spoke about how at this point in his life he spent most of his time in Hawaii. The landlord read the article, and, because a main rule of rent control is that it must be your primary place of residence, he began proceedings to kick Mr. Merwin out. And he succeeded!

I never saw him around the building after that. But I do keep reading his poetry. And I am proud to have lived downstairs from someone who has been called our greatest living poet. Today the Library of Congress made that official.

Go here to read about him and to listen to an interview on NPR.

From his “Separation”:

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Single of the Week

Here’s Ken:

Just as Big Boi seems to have overshadowed Andre 3000 in their post-Outkast lives, so has pomp overrun circumstance in this week’s single. Big Boi’s “General Patton” is magnificent – orchestral bluster that’s crude and colossally indignant. When the recurring sample is operatic and the opening lyrics are “get the South’s dick up out yo’ mouth”, we’re talking about something that won’t be hitting wedding playlists soon.

Click here to listen.


Let the long weekend begin!

And when I say long, I mean really long…I’ll be on vacation next weekend, and so will Family Favs. But don’t despair! We’ll be back real soon with all the recommendations and tips you love. Until then…Happy Fourth!


2 Responses to “Neighborly Success”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    Glad to hear you knew your neighbor (at least a little) 🙂

    • familyfavs Says:

      I know! It’s so funny — that little building really had an incredible pedigree. Quintessentially West Village!

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