The Other John Updike Archive


All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once! -Camille Paglia

To work inside is to deal with the internal conditions of the work — the melodies, the rhythms, the textures, the lyrics, the images: all the normal day-to-day things one imagines an artist does.

To work outside is to deal with the world surrounding the work — the thoughts, assumptions, expectations, legends, histories, economic structures, critical responses, legal issues and so on and on. You might think of these things as the frame of the work.

A frame is a way of creating a little world round something.


Is there anything in a work that is not frame, actually?- From A Year With Swollen Appendices: Brian Enos Diary

Updikes first wife was Mary Pennington from  a Chicago family. He frequently calls his  fictional wife Joan in stories. He was having a relationship with an actual woman named Joan. This postcard is postmarked Chicago in 1912 and is addressed to Mrs. Archibald Updike of Pennington New Jersey but features the University of Pennsylvania. Go Figure!

She is stirred to recall that sirens refrain. Her song now eclipsed by the tinkling of ice. The windows a mirror as fog shrouds the pane.  I drown out the sound as the floor rocks and rolls. The sheets on my bed, a surrendering flag. I am finally sure of what I must do. And I see her again in the amber lit glass.- Paul Moran

“I was backstage at the Orpheum in Boston, standing on one side of the stage door across from Bryan Ferry during Roxy Music’s Manifesto Tour.

WBCN DJ Mark Parento was attempting to get Bryan to recall a past intersection, but Ferry was politely distracted as the music swelled for his grand entrance. I coveted Ferry’s leather suit jacket. After the show I discovered a carton of Dunhill cigarettes and some poetry books left behind by the singer in his haste to escape ardent fans.  The Dunhills were lovingly inscribed:  “To Bryan Ferry” by Boston Phoenix writer Robert Polito. Not quite the same as the iconic leather jacket. Still, I felt I was infusing myself with Ferry’s “serpentine sleekness” with every cigarette.”  Paul Moran