Portrait Inside My Head

Phillip Lopate


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Notting Hill Editions
21 February 2015
ISBN: 9781907903960
254 pages

From the publisher

Reader, you have in your hands a motley collection of essays, personal and critical. The advantage of the heterogeneous essay collection by a single author is that it shows you how a particular mind moves through the world. If you are attracted to an essayist's mentality and way of speaking, ideally you can surrender happily to his or her take on various subject matters, the more diverse the better. Let us see how our author will tackle this particular memory, neurotic tic, political or social problem, book, movie, play, comic strip, rock band, without requiring an over-arching theme. If there is a consistent theme in this particular collection, it is the discovery of limitations, and learning to live with them. The recognition of one's limits, painful as it may be, can have salutary side-effects.In my case, it absolves me of the need to be both a hero and a coward, an explorer and a stay-at-home, a saint and a villain, a loyal husband and a Don Juan, a political activist and a skeptic, a spiritual mystic and a rationalist atheist, a performing athlete and a sports fan, a great if excruciatingly self-demanding literary stylist and a prolific if merely good-enough writer.