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Letters & Essays: M-O

Letters & Essays of the Day

Perfection

By Sarah Manguso

For years I could barely write a page. I thought I was becoming a virtuoso of smallness while the grief, which is wordless, occupied an ever-greater volume.

My friend lived in the estates on the bad side of town. Let’s go to the forest, she said when I went over to play. There were three trees in the yard, but if you know where to stand, you can get lost in a forest of three trees. She could do it. She had to. Her mother died when we were nine.

Thomas Guinzburg

By Peter Matthiessen

When Tom Guinzburg became president of The Viking Press in 1961, its editors and other staff were, of course, people his father had hired. But Tom rapidly put his own personal stamp on Viking. No books were signed up that he didn’t personally approve, no advances against earnings offered that he didn’t authorize, no publicity plans and marketing arrangements plotted without his knowledge. And he made the often humdrum procedures quite dashing, being dashing himself.