Saturday, November 6

The Lopate library, part II

I'm writing from Kansas this morning, where I'm on a farm visiting travel writer Rolf Potts, who's also a Bennington classmate. A few of us from the June 2011 class came out to Salina to celebrate his 40th birthday. We're hanging out in his modular home, drinking coffee with cinnamon. The wind is roaring across the plains.

Above, the author closing a deal. Below, Phillip's workspace. Good god. Files of current assignments, including some pieces for Harper's. Phillip wrote to me in an email: "I love it! You're turning me into a Collyer Brothers type." Carroll Gardens from a window.
 Below, more books. These are all by dead Americans. Phillip's wife was a book designer who sometimes posed her handsome husband for covers. On Jim Cirn's The Big Squeeze, he's a gangster. In the Polaroid, that's him as a bloody corpse--another dead American. "Now I can say I've fulfilled my true dreams in life: to be an actor and a model."
 And now from his sweeter side, and more prominently displayed, is a collection of essays, memoirs, and poems from his daughter. Lookout world, Lily's coming up
 This is the bookcase in the hall filled with English literature. Books he's written are on the top shelf, and passages are marked so he can grab one when he's heading out to do a reading. "It's not purely vanity. It's also practical." DVDs find a home in the only place that seems to fit, in the corner between the library and the bathroom.


  1. Thanks for this peek into someone else's world! :D
    Sorry to focus on the wrong thing here, but coffee with cinnamon? Please elaborate? (As you can see from my blog I find fika very important. Swedish tradition and all.)

  2. Hi, Maria-Therese! Thanks for the comment. Rolf said this morning that his English teacher in high school used to add cinnamon to the grounds while making a pot. I'll ask if he/she was Swedish. A lot of Swedes live in this part of Kansas...

  3. OK, I think I misunderstood your question...Thought for some reason you meant that cinnamon in coffee was Swedish. The teacher was actually Norwegian. Thoughts???

  4. Hi :)
    I meant I was surprised by the coffee + cinnamon thing and wanted to know more. I've had cinnamon on top of cappuccino but started to think... how would you blend it into the coffee?

    Swedish coffee: dark and black :)
    Swedish fika: delicious.