Magazine | March 9, 2009, Issue

Poetry

STARRY NIGHT

At the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

On Loan from MoMA

29 September 2000

He fought the demons with a tube of paint,

          With knife and brush to joust—cut, thrust, and parry.

          Each stroke was life or death: to drive and harry

Unceasing the dark foe, for once to faint

Would yield to black despair, the old complaint.

          Rejected artist, preacher, missionary

          Was more rejection than one man could carry.

In a better church, he might have been a saint.

So still the starlight pierces as it swirls

          Above the silent hills and sleeping town

          Behind the cypress writhing in the wind.

Again the heart its fierce defiance hurls,

          In swaths of yellow, blue, and green and brown

          Carves out one hour of peace before the end.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Lo, a Smart Grid!

‘We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together,” President Obama promised in his inaugural address. “We will ...
Politics & Policy

Why We Hate Us

You think you know Hollywood? Sure, you’ve seen your share of movies. You read Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly and sneak a peak at Showbiz Tonight from time to time ...
Politics & Policy

The Tacky Index

Every decent American, when he or she is standing at a cash register, having just handed over the Visa card to pay for the pile of groceries or whatever, says ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Governor Girly-Man

California conservatives greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ascension to the governor’s office in the famous “total recall” election of 2003 with wary optimism. If anyone could make “post-partisanship” work in ever-bluer California, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Such a Catholic

In 1972 Flannery O’Connor was posthumously honored with the National Book Award for her Complete Stories. As her publisher, Robert Giroux, was readying himself to receive this highest of American ...
Politics & Policy

Watts Up

Fittingly for a book about nuclear energy, William Tucker’s latest work is a bit like uranium: It contains a vast amount of material, packed tightly into a small space, which, ...
Politics & Policy

A Wolfe Tome

Alan Wolfe of Boston College is a prolific and generally well-regarded author. In the last five years he’s published four books on contemporary politics and public policy: The Transformation of ...
The Straggler

Chance of a Ghost

Conservatives, it says here, are happier than liberals. I am looking at this much-discussed study from New York University on “The Palliative Function of Conservative Ideology.” So far as I ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Living Inspiration Thank you for Jay Nordlinger’s article on Capt. Ivan Castro (“Captain Extraordinary,” February 9). Captain Castro is a tremendously inspiring man. I had the honor of meeting him while ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ One thousand pages of stimulus legislation, a few hours to read it: It’s change you’ll just have to take his word for. ‐ The Democrats have made a number of ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

STARRY NIGHT At the High Museum of Art, Atlanta On Loan from MoMA 29 September 2000 He fought the demons with a tube of paint,           With knife and brush to joust—cut, thrust, and parry.           Each stroke ...
Happy Warrior

Governor Gravid

The Times of London put it this way: “Arnie Schwarzenegger Joins the Ranks of Girlie Men.”     Quite. As is well known, the Terminator has been unable to terminate anything — ...

Most Popular

Culture

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More