My friend’s son just died. He was only 10 years old. It happened so suddenly that my friend can barely understand her grief or how to cope with it. I want to help her, but I don’t know how. Sadly, I don’t think words can help in this situation. — Kay

 

Maybe some time needs to pass, but I think one day you’ll see that words can console in even the saddest situations. Right now, for your friend especially, the world is simply too cruel — it can’t possibly offer anything redemptive. And she’s right: The world is not just, and she should grieve. She should not be scouring books of poetry for something that will help her cope, and neither should you, not right now. What you can do as a friend is give her space to… More…

Our singular social interaction outside the building came two years ago. I invited him to a reading I was giving at a local Barnes & Noble to celebrate one of my books on censorship. But even at that festive occasion we men of words exchanged but few.

Over the years, I gleaned hardly anything else about Mr. Aronson. I can’t recall ever seeing him with company. He apparently enjoyed hiking. Sometimes in the summer he looked like a big kid in shorts, a T-shirt, tube socks, and hiking boots. And he must have loved jazz. Sax solos routinely burst through his black metal door. I imagined Mr. Aronson methodically removing a Charlie Parker record from the jacket stored in a plastic sleeve, checking both sides for scratches and gently placing the disk on a vintage turntable. But he could have owned a brand new MP3 player for all I knew, as I never set foot in his apartment. In Manhattan, proximity does… More…

 

From the editors: We are saddened by the passing this week of Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis. Quite simply, this publication would not exist if not for the strong and unwavering support of President Papadakis. Contributing writer Paula Marantz Cohen reflects on his legacy.

Constantine Papadakis, president of Drexel University, died at the age of 63 on April 5. “Taki,” as he liked to be called, succumbed to complications connected to a year-long struggle with lung cancer. His death should not have been surprising, yet it was. It seemed unthinkable that this enormous life force had been quenched.

When Taki became president of Drexel 13 years ago, the university was in dire straits. The physical plant was in disrepair, enrollment had plummeted, and salaries were frozen. I recall the first time the faculty met with its new president…. More…