Sven Birkerts has been editor of AGNI since July 2002. His most recent books are Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age (Graywolf Press, 2015), The Other Walk (Graywolf Press, 2011), Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again (Graywolf Press, 2008), and Reading Life: Books for the Ages (Graywolf Press, 2007). His other books include An Artificial Wilderness: Essays on 20th Century Literature (William Morrow), The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry (William Morrow), American Energies: Essays on Fiction (William Morrow), The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (Faber & Faber), Readings (Graywolf Press, 1999), and My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time (Viking, 2002). He has edited Tolstoy’s Dictaphone: Writers and the Muse (Graywolf) as well as Writing Well (with Donald Hall), and The Evolving Canon (Allyn & Bacon).
He has received grants from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. He was winner of the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle in 1985 and the Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award from PEN for the best book of essays in 1990. Birkerts has reviewed regularly for The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Mirabella, Parnassus, The Yale Review, and other publications. He has taught writing at Harvard University, Emerson College, and Amherst and has most recently been Briggs-Copeland lecturer in nonfiction at Harvard. He was the director of the Bennington Writing Seminars from 2007-2017 and has been a member of the core faculty since its founding in 1994. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.
Sven Birkerts on “The End” by Mark Strand
I don’t know why this should be, but I find that many important things—I think of them as personal messages—come to me obliquely.