October 23, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

With the World Series in the air and Princeton resident Mort Zachter’s biography of legendary New York Knicks coach Red Holzman on my bedside table, I’ve been thinking a lot about baseball and basketball this week.

The Open Sesame to Zachter’s book, however, was Holzman’s wife Selma, “a girl from Brooklyn without any pretenses,” who was also “loving, kind, thoughtful, generous, genuine, funny, and interesting,” could “see through phonies, and didn’t suffer fools.” While Holzman “tended to be guarded in what he said publicly, Selma spoke her mind.” Zachter rounds out the chapter starring the coach’s wife of 55 years (“The Best Thing I Ever Did In My Life”) with some anecdotes too lengthy to be quoted here, unless you count the one about how whenever she “learned one of her husband’s Knicks players had a cold, she prepared homemade chicken soup for him.”

Admittedly, my chicken-soup soft spot for Holzman’s wife is due to my fondness for her namesake from Queens, who shared the same qualities along with an ability to make the culinary equivalent of a three-point shot from mid-court every time she cooked a meal. Our friend Selma, our son’s godmother, died ten years ago September, a year after Selma Holzman. more

By Nancy Plum

Things must have been lively in the Louisville, Kentucky, home in which Princeton University sophomore Elijah Shina grew up. He may well have been the kind of child that found rhythm in every empty box or can in the house and saw a potential drum on every surface he touched. These are the children who grow up to be great percussionists, and Shina has brought his great sense of inner rhythm to Princeton University and to the University Orchestra’s opening concerts this past weekend. A co-winner of the Princeton University Orchestra 2019 Concerto Competition, Shina showed virtuosic agility on a myriad of percussion instruments in a 20th-century concerto demonstrating a wide range of orchestral colors and effects.

Concertos for percussion were unusual in 20th-century American music. Chicago-born Joseph Schwantner, intrigued by the infinite array of timbres and sonorities available in an orchestral percussion section, composed the 1995 Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra on commission from the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York for the New York Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary. The resulting work, performed by the University Orchestra this past Friday and Saturday nights, was a musical collaboration between soloist and ensemble demanding the highest level of skills and techniques from an entire section of percussionists, not just the soloist. more

“MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN”: Performances are underway for “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Directed by playwright David Catlin, Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production runs through November 3 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Mary Shelley (Cordelia Dewdney, left) gazes reflectively at Frankenstein’s Creature (Keith D. Gallagher). (Photo by Liz Lauren)

By Donald H. Sanborn III.

McCarter Theatre is presenting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in time for Halloween. Lookingglass Theatre Company brings its brooding spectacle to Princeton following its premiere in Chicago earlier this year. David Catlin, whose Lookingglass Alice was presented by McCarter in 2007, is the playwright and director.

The title of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein hints at one of the elements that make this version unique: the author becomes a character. Brief glimpses into Shelley’s stormy life are juxtaposed against scenes from her famous novel.

As with McCarter’s production of Gloria: A Life, seats have been placed on the stage, so that the show is presented in the round. Daniel Ostling’s set is covered by an off-white sheet, which is suspended by a brick cubicle. During the opening scene we see the actors through this sheet, which somewhat separates them from us despite the intimacy inherent in the seating arrangement. more

CELEBRATING A CLASSIC: Cellist Pablo Ferrandez is the guest soloist when the Princeton Symphony Orchestra performs Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor on October 26 and 27 at Richardson Auditorium.

On Saturday, October 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) celebrates 100 years of Sir Edward Elgar’s beloved Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 with a performance featuring soloist Pablo Ferrández. Ferrández performed this summer at the Hollywood Bowl to critical acclaim with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Also on the program of late romantic works are Jean Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90. Music Director Rossen Milanov conducts. Both concerts are at Richardson Auditorium. more

“BRIDGE OVER THE TOHICKON”: This painting by Bill Jersey is featured in “Local Flavor,” a joint exhibit with artist SiriOm Singh on view October 24 through November 10 at Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is Saturday, October 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.

“Local Flavor,” an exhibition of landscape paintings by local artists Bill Jersey and SiriOm Singh, will be featured October 24 through November 10 at Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is Saturday, October 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.

After a 40-year career as an award-winning filmmaker, Bill Jersey moved from Berkeley, Calif., to Lambertville, and from his profession as filmmaker to his passion — oil painting. His local landscapes have won many awards, and are part of numerous collections. more

“ON A SHORT LEASH”: Artist Charles David Viera presents the latest installment of his lifetime of works in “Charles David Viera: New Works 2015-2019.” The exhibition opens November 2 and runs through November 30 at the New Hope Arts Center A-Space in New Hope, Pa.

The works of New Jersey-based artist Charles David Viera will be featured in “Charles David Viera: New Works 2015-2019,” on view at the New Hope Arts Center A-Space November 2-30. An opening reception is Saturday, November 2, from 4-7 p.m.

“I feel fortunate to have made a career as an artist and art instructor. The paintings in ‘New Works 2015-2019’ are a collection of images that represent the latest chapter of my life,” says Viera. “They are reflections on moments that I have considered or witnessed over the last four years. I am thrilled to be working with the New Hope Arts Center and for the opportunity to contribute to the New Hope/Lambertville art scene, which continues to be a vibrant and important source of creativity in this area.” more

SPEED SKATING: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Fillier races up the ice in a game last winter in her freshman season. Star forward Fillier tallied 57 points on 22 goals and 35 assists in 2018-19 on the way to getting named as the national Rookie of the Year and earning All-American honors. Princeton, currently ranked sixth nationally, opens its 2019-20 season by hosting Syracuse for a two-game set on October 25 and 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s hockey team coming off a landmark campaign last winter that saw it produce a program-record 20-game unbeaten streak, win the Ivy League title, and rise to No. 4 in the national rankings, the Tigers are chomping at the bit to get the 2019-20 season underway.

“The preseason is a little longer than last year,”said Princeton head coach Cara Morey, who guided the Tigers to a 20-8-5 record last season and a spot in the NCAA tournament where they fell 5-2 to Minnesota.

“I think the girls are anxious to get started and get into some meaningful games.” more

JACOB’S LADDER: Princeton University football player Jacob Birmelin heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday at Brown, junior receiver Birmelin produced a career day, making 12 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns as Princeton pulled away to a 65-22 win over the Bears. The Tigers, who improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 Ivy League in extending their winning streak to 15, host Harvard (4-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy) on October 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Serving as the offensive coordinator for the Princeton University football program from 2010-16, James Perry played a key role in turning the Tigers into a scoring juggernaut.

Installing a no-huddle, up-tempo system, Perry helped Princeton win the Ivy league title in 2013, averaging a league record 43.7 points. Three years later, the Tigers won another league crown, scoring 34.6 points a contest.

So with Perry taking the helm of his alma mater Brown this season after two years guiding Bryant program, there figured to be some offensive fireworks when Princeton traveled to Providence, R.I. last Saturday to take on the Bears. more

DANNY BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Danny Hampton chases down the ball in a 2018 game. Last Saturday, senior Hampton got an assist to help Princeton defeat Columbia 2-1. The Tigers, now 8-3-1 overall and 1-1-1 Ivy League, play at Harvard on October 26 before hosting Virginia Tech on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

After scoring on restarts in two straight games for the Princeton University men’s soccer team, Danny Hampton figured in the scoring again last Saturday, serving an assist to Richard Wolf help the Tigers edge Columbia 2-1 as they earned their first Ivy League win this fall.

The tally gave Princeton a lead it would never lose in a 2-1 win over the visiting Lions on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win helped the Tigers improve to 8-3-1 overall and more importantly, 1-1-1 Ivy League, to move into a third-place tie in the conference.

“From here on out, it’s all must-win games for the most part,” said Hampton, a senior midfielder/forward who hails from Marlton, N.J.

“Typically for the Ivy League, you have to be upwards of a 5-1-1 record, that’s the typical range for the Ivy champions. Right now, there are already two games we’ve dropped points in. We have to win out from here and hope Yale drops one as well. We’re looking to control our own destiny and focus on Harvard right now.” more

TARTAN PRIDE: Members of the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team celebrate after scoring a goal against Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday night. Seventh-seeded Stuart upset the third-seeded Redbirds 4-0 to make the final for the first time since 2008. Two days later, the Tartans went on to fall 1-0 to top-seeded and four-time defending country champion Lawrenceville in the final. This week, Stuart will pursue another title as it competes in the state Prep B tourney. The third-seeded Tartans topped Newark Academy 3-0 in an opening round contest last Monday to improve to 11-3-1 and will play at second-seeded Princeton Day School in the semis on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Missy Bruvik wasn’t sure that she had the pieces in place to mold the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team into a championship contender as the squad hit the field for preseason this August.

Missing players due to injury, travel, and other commitments, Stuart had only 11 or 12 people show up for some training sessions.

But once the school year started, things started to look up for the Tartans as the roster filled out. more

SHOWING HER A-GAME: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Adrianna Palmer, left, goes after the ball against an Allentown player last Thursday night in the Mercer County Tournament semis. Sophomore midfielder Palmer tallied a goal and an assist to help the seventh-seeded Tartans stun the third-seeded Redbirds 4-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the seventh-seeded Stuart Country Day School field hockey team controlling possession but locked in a 0-0 tie with third-seeded Allentown in the first half of the Mercer County Tournament semis last Thursday, Adrianna Palmer decided it was time to break the stalemate.

“We were on their goal, we were down there for most of the time,” said Stuart sophomore midfielder Palmer.

“We had to get it in so I pushed it right into the center and made sure that someone would be there to help me out.”

Tartan freshman Lily Harlan provided the helping hand, directing the Palmer hit into the back of the cage to give Stuart a 1-0 lead. more

MAKING A POINT: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Noah Lapoint clears the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior defender Lapoint helped key the back line as fourth-seeded PHS blanked 12th-seeded Hun 1-0 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. On Monday, the Tigers couldn’t hold the fort as they fell 5-2 to top-seeded Notre Dame in the MCT semis. The Tigers, now 12-6, will host Hopewell Valley on October 25 and then start play in the state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High boys’ soccer team hosted Hun School in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Saturday, it followed the formula that has led to so much postseason success for the program.

Fourth-seeded PHS got a first half goal from Nick Petruso to take the lead over 12th-seeded Hun and made that goal hold up in a 1-0 victory as a stingy Tiger defense stymied the Raiders.

“One of the things we have tried to do throughout the season is to get an early goal and then I think our defense can carry us through the rest of the game,” said PHS senior defender Noah Lapoint.

“You can see when we are playing, we let them come to us and we know when to press. We know what we are doing back there and I think that is one of our strengths.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton High field hockey player Kate Liggio, right, battles a Lawrenceville player for the ball last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semis. Senior Liggio scored the lone goal for PHS in the contest as it fell 4-1 to the Big Red, who went on to win their fourth straight country crown. The Tigers, who dropped to 13-3-1 with the loss, will start action in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional where they are seeded second and slated to host a quarterfinal contest on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After having fallen to Lawrenceville 4-2 in a regular season contest on September 14, the Princeton High field hockey team was fired up to get a rematch against the Big Red in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday evening.

“Losing to them the first time provided some inspiration for tonight,” said PHS head coach Heather Serverson. “We always want to beat Lawrenceville.”

Displaying some inspired defensive play in the first half in the game played at Lawrence High in windy, chilly conditions, PHS held the fort as Lawrenceville dominated possession but led only 1-0 at intermission.

“It is always a pressured situation defensively when you are playing Lawrenceville,” said Serverson. “Our goal was to just try to keep our cool, play as a unit, and make sure that everyone is marked up.” more

GRINDING IT OUT: Princeton High football player Stephen Avis runs past an opponent in recent action. Last Friday, senior running back and tri-captain Avis rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries in a losing cause as PHS fell 47-0 to West Windsor-Plainsboro. The Tigers, now 0-6, host Hopewell Valley on October 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After playing on the offensive line for the Princeton High football team last year, Stephen Avis moved to running back this fall and has found a home in his new spot.

Last Friday night, senior Avis rumbled for 111 yards on 23 carries to provide a bright spot for PHS as it fell 47-0 at West Windsor-Plainsboro and dropped to 0-6.

Coming into the contest, Avis believed that the Tigers could move the ball on the ground against WW-P.

“We watched film all week and we felt like we could run the ball and get our run offense going,” said Avis. more

ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal goes after the ball in a game last season. Last Saturday, junior star Beal scored a goal and had an assist to help second-seeded PDS edge seventh-seeded Princeton High 2-1 in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Panthers, who improved to 13-2-1 with the win, were slated to face third-seeded Pennington in the MCT semis on October 22 with the victor advancing to the title game on October 24 at The College of New Jersey. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal and her teammates on the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team were girding for a battle as they hosted crosstown rival Princeton High in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Saturday.

“We watched a lot of game film and we saw how aggressive they were in the match before,” said PDS junior star midfielder Beal, referring to a spirited regular season clash between the rivals in early September which saw the Panthers prevail 3-1. “Going into this game, we knew what to expect. We had to out-finesse them.”

In the MCT rematch, seventh-seeded PHS outplayed second-seeded PDS in the early going, jumping off to a 1-0 lead on a brilliant volley from long distance by Kirin Kunukkasseril with 33:36 left in the half.  more

JACK OF ALL TRADES: Hun School boys’ soccer player Jack Tarzy boots the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore midfielder/forward Tarzy and 12th-seeded Hun battled hard in falling 1-0 to fourth-seeded Princeton High in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Raiders, now 5-6-2, will be starting play in the state Prep A tournament this week where they are seeded fourth and will host fifth-seeded Blair in a first round contest on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

On paper, it didn’t look like the Hun School boys’ soccer team was destined to stick around very long in the Mercer County Tournament.

The MCT bracket had the 12th-seeded Raiders playing at fifth-seeded Hopewell Valley in a first round contest last Thursday.

But building on a recent hot streak, Hun pulled out a dramatic win over HoVal on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 0-0 draw through regulation and two overtimes. more

October 16, 2019

Visitors make their way through Howell Farm’s 23rd annual Corn Maze in Hopewell Township on Sunday afternoon. The four-acre maze celebrates nursery rhymes this year, with a three-way board game to solve with puzzle pieces found in the maze. It is open on weekends through October. Participants share their favorite fall activities in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

Daniel Ellsberg, a renowned whistleblower since he released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times almost 50 years ago; and Jim Wallis, Sojourners magazine founder and editor, will be the headline speakers at a November 10 Princeton peace event, including a Multifaith Service at the Princeton University Chapel in the morning and an afternoon Conference for Peace at the Nassau Presbyterian Church on Nassau Street.

The 40th Anniversary Conference and Multifaith Service, sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and co-sponsored by 37 area religious and civic groups, will also feature Ray Acheson, the U.S. representative of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; Shiho Burke, who lived in Hiroshima until she was 13 and whose parents were present during the Hiroshima atomic bombing; Jenny Town, a research analyst at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., and the managing editor and producer of 38 North, a web journal focusing on North Korea; and Frank von Hippel, Princeton University professor emeritus, MacArthur Prize recipient, and former assistant director of the White House Science Advisor’s Office.

Wallis, whose magazine has a combined print and electronic readership of over five million, is a New York Times best-selling author of 13 books, including, most recently, Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus. He will preach at the morning Multifaith Service, with faith leaders from a range of world religions co-leading the liturgy. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University announced last Friday that its endowment earned 6.2 percent for the 2019 fiscal year ending June 30, a drop from last year’s 14.2 percent and a drop from the top spot to fifth among Ivy League earners.

Brown University’s endowment was the Ivies’ top earner at 12.4 percent, with Dartmouth second at 7.5 percent, University of Pennsylvania third, and Harvard fourth, both at about 6.5 percent, according to Barron’s magazine. All the Ivy League schools posted lower returns in 2019 than in 2018.

The Princeton University endowment value now stands at $26.1B, an increase of about $200M from the previous year. With its annual return over the past decade at 11.6 percent, Princeton is among the top percentile of 500 institutions listed by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

The Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO), which manages the endowment, will certify the results at its October 17 directors meeting.

PRINCO President Andrew Golden has in the past emphasized PRINCO’s focus on long-term results and the relative unimportance of a single year’s earnings. In his annual Report on Investments in the 2017-18 Report of the Treasurer, Golden noted, “A single year is so short that luck is almost always the single largest driver of relative results. We strive to keep all eyes on the long term. A single year’s performance … does not give much information about past efforts or the likelihood of future success.” more

By Anne Levin

Among the controversial issues of the recent revamp of Princeton’s parking system was permit parking. An especially relevant topic for residents of the tree streets, Jugtown, and employees in the central business district, it is the focus of an open forum being held tonight (October 16) at 7 p.m. at Witherspoon Hall, by the task force that has been working to develop a comprehensive permit parking plan for neighborhoods within walking distance of the downtown.

Made up of residents and business owners, the task force has been meeting since early this past summer. The group is planning to present recommendations to Princeton Council early next year. Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, who leads the group, is hoping that residents, business owners, and their employees will attend the forum to ask questions and offer suggestions. A survey inviting comment has been on the town’s website in recent weeks.

“Folks are definitely concerned about how this is going to impact them,” Fraga said last week. “That’s understandable. The task force has been hearing from many individuals who represent the various neighborhoods, as well as employers.”

Those who work in town are a key segment the task force is addressing. “We do want to acknowledge that employees in the central business district play a significant role in our community,” said Fraga. “They have limited income. Many live outside of Princeton. We want to be able to accommodate them, which is why we developed two different surveys on the website — one for businesses, and the other for residents. It’s important for us to understand what their needs are.” more

NESTLED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Homes of varying styles, sizes, and eras are on the Historical Society of Princeton’s 18th annual House Tour Saturday, November 2. This house on Maclean Street in the Witherspoon-Jackson Historic District was renovated and expanded, making innovative use of materials from buildings that no longer stand.

By Anne Levin

The six homes opening their doors to the public for this year’s Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) House Tour on November 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. cover a range of sizes, periods, and styles.

Visitors can step into a mansion designed by architect Raleigh Gildersleeve, built by Moses Taylor Pyne for his mother around 1900. They can tour a modern house that serves as the laboratory for interior designer Katie Eastridge. Among other stops, the tour features the elegant manor house at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, designed by Rolf Bauhan around 1930 as a home for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Dignan.

A less ornate, but no less interesting home on the tour is at 17 Maclean Street in Princeton’s Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, which joined the town’s roster of historic districts in 2016. Princeton architect Steven S. Cohen designed a renovation and addition for the home’s owners in 2015, getting in just under the wire. Historic districts carry restrictions  on additons and renovations. “This was just prior to the historic district designation,” Cohen said. “We started just before that went into effect.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Joint Effort Safe Streets Program, led by community organizer John Bailey, has embarked on the planning for an African American heritage mural project, with completion anticipated by next summer.

Joint Effort Safe Streets, Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) community organizations, black churches, neighborhood businesses, past and present elected officials, and other concerned citizens will all be collaborating on this project, according to Bailey, with former Councilman Lance Liverman and current Councilman Dwaine Williamson expected to take leadership roles in the planning and organizing process.

“This project will solicit community input and participation to develop a concept; secure feedback, authorization, and support from the appropriate municipal bodies (Historic Preservation, Recreation Department, Zoning/Planning and Council); identify a local black community-connected artist or group of artists to do the project; and identify funds for the project and/or develop a fundraising campaign to finance the project,” said Bailey. more

By Anne Levin

How many ways can a story be told? According to a series of programs taking place at Princeton Public Library and McCarter Theatre Center this fall, the list is long.

The Moth Mainstage, a popular storytelling event coming to McCarter November 22, was a key inspiration for the series that began early this month and continues with several programs that explore storytelling. Next on the agenda is The Story Lounge, taking place Tuesday, October 22 (and again November 12) at McCarter. These evenings of curated stories by community members are being held in anticipation of the Moth Mainstage event, the culmination of the series.

“We had already planned to do something about storytelling, but then with the Moth coming to McCarter, it was perfect,” said the library’s public programming director Janie Hermann. The Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Hour, which is hosted by 500 National Public Radio (NPR) stations, has more than one million weekly listeners.

The Moth was founded in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who, after moving to New York City from Georgia, wanted to recreate the summer nights he and a circle of friends spent sharing stories on his back porch, where moths were attracted to the light. The first New York Moth event was held in Green’s living room, soon moving to larger venues in the city and beyond. NPR has presented the show since 2009. more

On Monday, October 7, Community Options, Inc. hosted its annual iMatter Golf Classic in support of people with disabilities. For the second consecutive year, the golf tournament was held at the TPC Jasna Polana.

Over 90 golfers participated in the tournament, which began with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m. After 18 holes, the golfers returned for a reception and dinner where they had the opportunity to meet with executives and board members from Community Options. The evening included awards, a silent auction, and a live auction presented by iMatter Fall Golf Classic Chair Philip Lian, who also serves as chairman for Community Options Enterprises. In total, Community Options raised over $100,000 to support people with disabilities.

“It was wonderful to see our guests having a great time golfing, and even more wonderful to see their enthusiasm for supporting people with disabilities,” said Brian Dion, chief development officer for Community Options. “The event was a huge success and we are looking forward to next year’s outing, which will take place once again at Jasna Polana on June 1. We are thankful for our event chairman, Phil Lian and his continued support that makes events like this possible.”

By Stuart Mitchner

Her eye as a writer is both darting and then fixed. Nothing escapes her.
—Colm Tóibín on Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)

Several times a day I look out the living room window to see the activity around the bird feeders. It’s become a ritual, even when the only sign of bird life is the slight swaying of the Edwardian feeder. This morning I was seeing the finches and woodpeckers darting to and from that ornate object through someone else’s eyes, having just finished Katherine Mansfield’s “Prelude,” a long story drawn from her childhood in New Zealand. At Labyrinth Books later the same day I bought The Garden Party and Other Stories (Ecco 2016) where Colm Tóibín’s preface, with its reference to Mansfield’s “eye as a writer,” underscores what happened at the window.

In a letter from May 1921, a year and a half before she died of TB and related illnesses, Mansfield observes that the writers “we read as we read Shakespeare are part of our daily lives,” that it doesn’t seem at all strange to be thinking about Othello at breakfast or to be wondering about poetry in the bath: “It’s all part of a whole. Just as that vineyard below me is the vineyard of the song of Solomon — and that beautiful sound as the men hoe between the vines is almost part of my body — goes on in me. I shall never be the same as I was before I heard it, just as I’ll never be the same as I was before I read the death of Cleopatra. One has willingly given oneself to all these things — one is the result of them all.”

I didn’t need the marginal exclamation points in my mother’s copies of Mansfield’s journals and letters to know how passionately she’d have identified with that passage. Besides Ann’s copycat habit of using “shall” in her own letters, and the sense of writerly companionship she found in her New Zealand soulmate, she’d “been there.” Not only did she feel what Mansfield felt when she said the sound of men hoeing in a vineyard was almost part of her body, she’d have expressed it in the same terms and probably taken it to rhapsodic extremes. I knew from experience. I’d grown up in the same house with someone who took Chekhov to bed with her every night, along with her namesake Anna Karenina, and the expurgated American paperback edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And if she wasn’t reading, she was typing madly away in her tiny study next to my father’s much larger one, inspired by Mansfield’s example, the journal her bedside bible. more