The Spectacle Blog

The Week in Art and Letters: Dana Gioia, Mona Lisa’s Bones, Hemingway’s Son, and Tom

By on 7.25.12 | 12:55PM

Dana Gioia's fourth book of poems is out--his first in eleven years. Gioia was head of the National Endowment of the Arts under President George W. Bush, and one of those rare poets who, à la Wallace Stevens, was an executive for a number of years before turning to writing full-time. If you haven't read anything but Wendell Berry for the past five years, do yourself a favor and pick up Gioia's book.

Italian archaeologists believe they have unearthed the bones of the model Leonardo da Vinci used to paint Mona Lisa.  

July 21st was Ernest Hemingway's birthday. He was born in 1899. The Christian Science Monitor has ten of his most famous sayings here, but my favorite is from his son (courtesy of Matt Milliner): "When it’s all added up, papa, it will be: he wrote a few good stories...and destroyed 5 persons."

In the more-than-we-want-to-know category, novelist John Irving tells us: "Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I spent more time imagining sex than actually having it. There was a period in that time where I was frightened of half of my sexual fantasies. I was attracted to my friend’s mothers, and I did have an occasional crush on a boy in the wrestling team. [But] I liked girls in my life, and it proceeded in a normal, unchallenged course."

And for you New Yorkers, be sure to check out Tom Wolfe at the 92nd Street Y this season. Wolfe will be reading from his forthcoming novel, Back to Blood. Buy your tickets here.

Other items of interest:

The world capital of the tango is apparently Finland.

How New Orleans became decadent.

Plato, the first literary dandy.

Poems inspired by Titian.

Public choice versus public good and the forgotten Wilhelm Roepke.

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