A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
The author of “The Snow Leopard” and “Shadow Country,” both National Book Award winners, invites us to his house in Sagaponack, on Long Island, serving tea in Blue Willow cups. He then tells us a story of a 40-day trip taken in 1959, from New York harbor to the mouth of the Amazon. The focus of the story is an on-going fight between a Baptist missionary, “shrill with good cheer in the Lord,” and “the morose Hasid, a Lebanese merchant who shrugged constantly, resignedly, in awareness of the whole world’s weight on his soft shouders.” With abandon, Peter Matthiessen recreates the attitudes and accents of his characters, passing his delight in human nature to his audience.
To listen to the story, click here.