Rafe Bartholomew tells the story of his father — Geoffrey Bartholomew — who felt that his addiction to alcohol and his bartending job at famed McSorley’s in New York City had prevented him from achieving the dream of becoming a writer. Bartholomew quit the booze, but not the bar and wrote a self-published manuscript of poetry: The McSorley Poems: Voices from New York City’s Oldest Pub. In this poignant story of ambition, regrets, fathers, and sons, Rafe recounts how Bartholomew found his voice by mining the humanity of the “Unsorted Regulars, Misfits, Liars, Heroes & Psychos” who frequented the bar.
In this installment of Mouthful — a monthly column at Hazlitt about the author’s relationship with food, ten years into recovery from anorexia and bulimia — Sarah Gerard examines failure. She recounts failing a stranger, a failed project, and her failed marriage and considers how these experiences have affected her outlook on life and her ongoing recovery.
In searching for a Korean radish called mu in a bid to make her grandmother’s soup, Vivien Lee meditates on family and food — what it means to be Korean in the West — where the burning desire for individuality is at odds with the communal approach to life, food, and family in the East.
Katherine Laidlaw recalls an abusive relationship in which her boyfriend threatened her with a boxcutter. In examining why she stayed as long as she did, she observes how the emotional scars affect her thinking and perception in what should be a new, exciting relationship — to the point where “Everything now — a flicker of tone, a sideways glance, a distant voice on the end of the phone — is a sign, a flag, a warning.”
How fertility doctors impregnating their own clients is more common than you might think and on how the law around tracking sperm donors and donations is impotent against the problem.
An essay on the many true and beautiful meanings you’ve never heard of behind “takbir” — the expression of Muslim faith, “Allahu Akbar” — literally, “God is great.”
Anna Furman interviews Sarah Manguso about the process of writing her new book, 300 Arguments, her writing influences, failure and thwarted ambition, and how she’s sleeping post-inauguration.
“Moms Mabley? She was a very good friend of mine. We used to go to the Theresa Hotel, Frank’s Restaurant, and Johnny Walker’s—that was the one black gay bar, uptown. Billie Holiday used to come there, and Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan. Everything was accepted. You were just another freak, barking along.”
An essay on ambition to end all essays on ambition.