This summer Friends of Libraries U.S.A. honored Dorothy Parker and William Carlos Williams by dedicating Parker’s Long Branch birthplace and the Rutherford home where Williams spent most of his life. No doubt the ceremonies delighted fans of Williams, the influential poet (and pediatrician) who died in 1963, and Parker, the sharp-witted critic, screenwriter, and poet who died in 1967. But why, we wonder, hasn’t the group memorialized other native Garden State wordsmiths?
Considering that it honors only places associated with dead writers, we’d recommend landmark status for the homes of Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg (Paterson); Red Badge of Courage author Stephen Crane (Newark and Asbury Park); and the literary critic Edmund Wilson (Red Bank).
Maybe someday the group will recognize the parade of living New Jersey natives, such as poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Philip Roth, and Pulitzer–winning poet C. K. Williams, all born in Newark; Pulitzer winner John McPhee (Princeton); former poet laureate Robert Pinsky (Long Branch); and author Gay Talese (Ocean City).
Article from October, 2005 Issue.