Book Markers 10.15.15

Local Book Notes

A Critic Most Eminent

The compiler of this column doesn’t expect anyone to remember a tossed-off challenge in the Oct. 1 paper in which, vis-a-vis a bookstore appearance, he suggested there isn’t an architecture critic more eminent than Paul Goldberger, but should a reader come up with one, put it in the U.S. Mail, and a prize could await.

Turns out Douglas E. Davidson noticed, one imagines with at least one eyebrow raised, and not only responded but politely fed crow to the column’s compiler in the form of the name Ada Louise Huxtable, recipient of the first Pulitzer Prize for criticism, architecture critic for The New York Times (ahead of Mr. Goldberger) as well as The Wall Street Journal, and, in Mr. Davidson’s words, “a main force behind the founding of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.” He pointed out that Mr. Goldberger himself once called her “the central planet around which every other critic revolved.”

And yes, Mr. Davidson got his East Hampton Star cap.

Spoken Word at ‘Speak’

Even if you prefer quiet time hearthside with the collected works of the Brits’ late great librarian-poet, the bald and bespectacled Philip Larkin, please consider this appropriate pairing: between the college’s Writers Speak series and a man largely responsible for the popularity of “spoken word” performances, making, as he helped to do, poetry cool again back in the early 1990s by way of the poetry slam.

Bob Holman presided over the competitions at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the East Village, where he was co-director. (The form arguably dates to the mid-1980s and the Green Mill jazz club in Chicago, but who’s counting.) Now, meaning Wednesday at 7 p.m., he’ll read, field questions, chew the fat, quaff drinks at a reception, what have you, in the Radio Lounge upstairs in Chancellors Hall at the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

Mr. Holman’s head-spinning résumé involves a multipart series called “The United States of Poetry” on PBS, hosting “Language Matters,” a recent PBS special, two Emmy Awards, publisher of numerous collections of poems and author of a few of his own, proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, and co-editor of “Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe,” which won a 1994 American Book Award. To say nothing of the New York media’s glib honorifics: “Poetry Czar,” “Ringmaster of the Spoken Word,” and so forth.