One Hundred Autobiographies
In One Hundred Autobiographies, poet and scholar David Lehman applies the full measure of his intellectual powers to cope with a frightening diagnosis and painful treatment for cancer. No matter how debilitating the medical procedures, Lehman wrote every day during chemotherapy and in the aftermath of radical surgery. With characteristic riffs of wit and imagination, he transmutes the details of his inner life into a prose narrative rich in incident and mental travel. The reader journeys with him from the first dreadful symptoms to the sunny days of recovery.
This "fake memoir," as he refers ironically to it, features one-hundred short vignettes that tell a life story. One Hundred Autobiographies is packed with insights and epiphanies that may prove as indispensable to aspiring writers as Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.
Set against the backdrop of Manhattan, Lehman summons John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Edward Said, and Lionel Trilling among his mentors. Dostoyevsky shows up, as does Graham Greene. Keith Richards and Patti Hansen put in an appearance, Edith Piaf sings, Clint Eastwood saves the neighborhood, and the Rat Pack comes along for the ride. These and other avatars of popular culture help Lehman to make sense of his own mortality and life story.
One Hundred Autobiographies reveals a stunning portrait of a mind against the ropes, facing its own extinction, surviving and enduring.
David Lehman has served as quizmaster of "Next Line, Please" since The American Scholar launched the feature in May 2014. His books include Poems in the Manner of... and Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World. Lehman is the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry and series editor of The Best American Poetry. He teaches in the graduate writing program of the New School in New York City.
Next Line, Please
Prompts to Inspire Poets and Writers
In this book, David Lehman, the longtime series editor of the Best American Poetry, offers a masterclass in writing in form and collaborative composition. An inspired compilation of his weekly column on the American Scholar website, Next Line, Please makes the case for poetry open to all. Next Line, Please gathers in one place the popular...