The City

1. I’m reading in Brooklyn on Friday, January 3rd. 5 PM at Boulevard Books & Café in Dyker Heights. If you’re around, come on out. Here’s the Facebook page for the event.


2. Gravesend is now available on Kindle.

3. Orhan Pamuk wrote this great piece on C.P. Cavafy in The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Cavafy’s “The City,” included in full here, is one of my favorite poems – the last few lines serve as the epigraph to Gravesend.

“The City” by C. P. Cavafy

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried as though it were something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods,
will turn gray in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
From C. P. Cavafy’s Collected Poems (Princeton University, 1992).

4. Here’s my soundtrack for the holidays (off one of my favorite records of the year):


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