In Memoriam: Bartlett Hall

Built in the late 1950s, Bartlett Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to the school’s large and vibrant English Department, its award-winning Writing Program, renowned departments of Art History, Philosophy, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and numerous other programs, most of them associated with the University’s College of Humanities and Fine […]

Secession Fever?

Although the idea is hardly “sweeping the nation,” there are probably more efforts underway right now to form new, breakaway states, and even new republics, within the United States than at any other time since the Civil War.  According to a recent article in The Daily Beast: Five counties in Maryland want to form their […]

Letter from the B43

It was late August, 2006.  I had just moved to western Massachusetts, and I needed to figure out how I was going to get to work every day from my home in Northampton to my office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, seven miles away.  In the weeks leading up to the start of fall […]

Back to School

Late August for academics is time to return to campus.  And returning to campus is, invariably, an occasion for thinking both about what one accomplished (and didn’t accomplish) over the summer and about what one needs to accomplish (and would like to accomplish) in the coming year. For me, it’s a good time to assess […]

Mount Vernon, North Carolina: Part One

The European settlement of North Carolina’s piedmont took place primarily in the mid-eighteenth century, when Scotch-Irish and German migrants, travelling south from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other points north, passed through the Shenandoah River Valley of Virginia and entered the wide, thinly-settled region of North Carolina that lay between the seemingly inhospitable mountains to the west […]

East 61st Street, New York City

A new installation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City reprises the first one-man photography exhibition MoMA ever mounted: “American Photographs” by Walker Evans, which opened seventy-five years ago, in 1938.  More than fifty of the original one hundred prints by Evans are included in the new show, which runs through January, 2014. […]

Audubon Road

I first saw Audubon Road in the spring of 2012.  That May, I took my bike out of the kitchen, where it had leaned against a wall since the previous fall, and began riding daily.  That wasn’t unusual: I had biked with some frequency since moving to Northampton in 2006; but my riding had always […]