Lit Seen: John Updike and John Leonard, Writers at Rest

New York's literary community remembers two dominant, departed presences

Instead he moved on, suffering no shortage of ideas or interests—Updike's passion as novelist and critic for the new and undiscovered was perhaps the attribute he shared most with Leonard. A browse in our Voice archives turns up, almost at random, Leonard's "Leapfrog: A Brekekekex Ko-ax Ko-ax St. Patrick's Day to You," a casual on reptiles and the Irish on the occasion of March 27, 1984. "Who speaks for the iguana?" he asked then, and answered: "Me, Tennessee Williams, and Charles Darwin, whose window on the world was Galápagos." Leonard's window was letters, of course—Updike's, too. Both lived, more or less, by the first line of Updike's fine 2001 poem "A Rescue," which begins: "Today I wrote some words that will see print."

David Remnick honors The New Yorker's centerfielder.
Peter Foley
David Remnick honors The New Yorker's centerfielder.

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