Posts From Author: jd mcclatchy

In Case of Emergency…

It was a well-travelled audience that left City Winery on Monday night after the House of SpeakEasy’s latest literary cabaret, In Case of Emergency. From Sierra Leone to Delhi via 1930s New York and a near-miss with the Mob went writer-performer-stars Daniel Bergner, Maggie Shipstead, Leonard Lopate, J.D. McClatchy and Amor Towles. It was Seriously Entertaining stuff. Daniel Bergner kicked off with a great tale of magic and medicine in Sierra Leone. Taking up the story of Michael Josiah, who appears in his 2003 book In the Land of Magic Soldiers, Bergner spoke about his “two lives, two minds”. Josiah was always determined to become a doctor, and studied (western) medicine so enthusiastically that he would continue to do so by candlelight long into the night. But when disrupted, as he often was, by the irruption of fighting in Sierra Leone’s civil war, he would join up with the Kamajors, a group of warriors purported to possess magical powers, the potential to cure cancer, and the ability to dodge bullets. Bergner described several occasions when he was invited to watch the Kamajors’ miracles in person. Slathered in a sacred liquid, the soldiers would become apparently impervious to injury. Indeed, Josiah encouraged him […]
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Curtain Call: In Case of Emergency

A state of emergency is declared. You fly tonight. What do you take with you? Clothes? Thermos? Hatchet? Naaah: books, of course. Fortunately you know of a safehouse nearby. A safehouse by the name of SpeakEasy. That’s right, comrades, there’s a Seriously Entertaining way out of this crisis. Between our six guests next week, we have everything you need to survive In Case of Emergency. Don’t have your ticket yet? Fear not, there’s still a few left here. Your checklist: 1. Amor Towles. Author of the marvellous Manhattan merry-go-round Rules of Civility, which we reviewed a few weeks back, and its ebook follow-up Eve in Hollywood. Here’s Towles talking about the great American photographer Walker Evans and the genesis of his debut novel: 2. Evie Wyld‘s new book, All the Birds, Singing, was just published in the US. When it came out in the UK last year, the Guardian said that it “should enhance her reputation as one of our most gifted novelists”. We took a look at her debut, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, earlier this week. In this clip, Wyld reads the opening to All the Birds, Singing: 3. J.D. McClatchy‘s new collection Plundered Hearts just came out to ecstatic reviews — the […]
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Plundered Hearts: The Poetry of J.D. McClatchy

Honouring J.D. McClatchy in 1991, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters stated, “It may be that no more eloquent poet will emerge in his American generation.” Since then, his reputation has grown as exponentially as his output. A poet, essayist, librettist — and Professor of English at Yale — McClatchy is certainly one of the hardest-working poets in America. Knopf has kindly published a new collection of his work, Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems, providing readers with a perfect introduction to his world. One of the new poems, “Prelude, Delay, and Epitaph”, is as good a way in as any: A finger is cut from a rubber glove And cinched as a tourniquet around my toe. The gouging ingrown nail is to be removed. The shots supposed to have pricked and burned The nerves diabetes has numbed never notice. The toe, as I watch, slowly turns a bluish Gray, the color of flesh on a slab, the size Of a fetus floating on the toilet’s Styx, But lumpen, the blunt hull of a tug slowly Nosing the huge, clumsy vessel into port. McClatchy continues; this is just the “prelude”. But there is much even in this […]
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