Tomorrow night Cooper Union in Manhattan will host a celebration of Daniel Mendelsohn's terrific new versions of Cavafy. Daniel will speak about Cavafy's development as a poet and Olympia Dukakis, Maria Tucci and I will read from the poems. Glamorous company!
It's strange to think that were Cavafy writing now, a good many of his poems might not be welcome at Amazon, where the company has instituted a weird new policy of identifying books they classify as "adult material" and leaving these titles out of their sales rankings and thus off their bestseller lists. But what they're really doing is targeting gay and lesbian content. It's an ugly act of discrimination, and results in weird selections: a book of Playboy's best centerfolds has a sales ranking, for instance, while Mark Wunderlich's book of poems VOLUNTARY SERVITUDE does not. Neither does Paul's LAWNBOY, or Andre Aciman's beautiful novel CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, or my own HEAVEN'S COAST, or even books on healthy living for HIV-positive men. It's outrageous. The best solution, of course, is to take your business elsewhere; everyone benefits from having strong, local and independent booksellers in our communities. But also let Amazon know what you think. There's a rapidly expanding petition drive over at the excellent activist website run by Care2.