I feel the need to unclutter - my home is like an old-fashioned used bookstore. Back issues of the New Yorker dating back for years lie in piles stacked against two walls. Books and newspaper clippings, back issues of literary journals, all of the many publications in which my byline has appeared.
The other day, I discovered a stack of old Partisan Reviews. The old leftist journal, which played such a major role in American literature, ceased publication in 2003. I was too young to have subscribed to the journal in its glory days - founding editor Philip Rahv was long dead when I began receiving the quarterly, although co-founder William Phillips soldiered on until his death in 2002. Filling the gap, I somewhere have an anthology of classic Partisan Review work. The journal published Robert Lowell, Mary McCarthy, Delmore Schwartz, John Berryman and many others.
A few years ago, I culled my books, which I slightly regret at times when I search for a book I thought I possessed but don't find it.
There's a lot that can go, I'm sure - that biography of St. Thomas More, Nick Saban's platitudes for success, old issues of the New Criterion, the autobiography of former Princeton basketball coach Pete Carroll.
Seeing the New Yorkers and assorted literary journals, from the Southern Review to the Paris Review, to the New England Review, makes me wonder who will take all of this stuff? The millions of words, the residue of ideas, are like artifacts of a lost civilization. It would break my heart to throw them away.
Maybe this fall, I'll fill the trunk of my car with books and take them to the library for its book sale. Surely someone would like Allen Tate's Collected Essays, of which I have two copies, or that long obsolete world atlas.