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  • It’s a Book, It’s a Periodical . . .
        No, it’s the new Southampton Review, volume VI, number 2, summer 2012, 232 pages, retailing for 15 bucks and coming to you fresh and glossily printed courtesy of Stony Brook Southampton’s M.F.A. program in creative writing and literature.

  •    I write in praise of the ugly golf shirt.     
       Oh, I’ve got a beauty. It’s not loud, no. It would be better if it were loud. It is, rather, a mottled mix of black and gray specks — inexplicably or inadvertently designed by someone in the employ of Bert Pulitzer to look like the ghostly nothingness of an old antenna television after the programming ends and the final bars of the national anthem fade.

  •    Remember when Grandma used to talk about how they did it in the old days, pulling shut all the drapes and leaving them shut when the sun came up and how that kept the house cool all day? Michael Haverland does. The architect not only uses floor-length drapes — two-sided for insulation — in his own house on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton, he urges them on his clients all the time, he said on a Friday in late July. It’s one example of his belief that simple, practical solutions are best.

  • “Buried on Avenue B”
    Peter de Jonge
    Harper, $25.99

  •    Has a writer ever been more productive in death than Kurt Vonnegut? It’s a mini industry, from posthumous collections of his unpublished short fiction (“Look at the Birdie,” “While Mortals Sleep”) to the hefty Library of America volumes of his life’s work, the most recent of which, “Novels & Stories, 1950-1962,” came out in April. In October, Delacorte will release a book of his letters and Vanguard will publish “We Are What We Pretend to Be: First and Last Works.”

  •    So how’s the East End market for literary readings? Strong? Steady? Saturated? Is the top-flight quality outpacing demand, or driven by it, and not just by the bursting supply of name authors here?

  •     At a recent morning assembly at an elementary school not far west of the Shinnecock Canal, the guest reader, Jay Schneiderman, was introduced as a renaissance man, if not exactly in the following words: former East Hampton Town supervisor, legislator who finally broke the County Road 39 traffic logjam, vanquisher of that tough old pol George Guldi, drummer, and now, author and illustrator.

  •    The opening salvo of jangly guitar licks on “Ex Post Facto,” from Chris Campion’s new EP, is so arresting, practically spellbinding, it raises the question of the extent to which pure sound, at once propulsive, insistent, and melancholy, can be a character in a 4-minute- and-50-second rock ’n’ roll tale.  Instrumentals can of course call to mind all manner of emotions, but what about embodying, say, futility, or striving, or loss? Any one of those could be standing over your shoulder as the disc spins.

  •    Should you pick up the new Southampton Review expecting familiar contributors, you’d be right and wrong. First of all, who’s going to complain about opening a journal to more poems, four of them, by Billy Collins? That star of versification known for a peerless sense of humor is here contemplative — digging up an old toy truck in his backyard and thinking of the past, or pondering the oddity of the writing life.

  • Look Ahead, Writers
        February on eastern Long Island. It can seem like the calendar’s equivalent of 3 a.m., when nothing good happens, not even snow. But using the down time to plan for better days — how about July? — is Julie Sheehan, the director of the M.F.A. program in creative writing and literature at Stony Brook Southampton, who sends word of a boatload of writing workshops bound to set heads nodding in appreciation.