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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:230
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543927030

Winter Vigil

by Steve Kogan View author's profile page

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In this collection of what he always called “Sketches,” author Steve Kogan explores his personal history as an educator, writer, Brooklyn native, and American child of of Russian Jewish immigrants. At once a very personal account of life as an outsider in Post War II Brooklyn - where his mentally ill mother and communist father set him apart from his peers as much as his Yankee fandom did - these 12 essays also offer unique insights into literature, fine art, history, and music, all filtered through Kogan’s insightful and descriptive prose. From the Borsht Belt to Sixties San Francisco to a snow swaddled lean-to in deep in the New England snow, from King Lear to John Dos Passos to Bob Dylan, Kogan’s mind roams freely over a world both beautiful and frightening. Begun in the winter of 1968 when the thirty year old Kogan left his life as a Columbia University post grad and moved into a cabin he built in the Vermont Woods, the pieces included in Winter Vigil were written and re-written for the much of the author’s life. Winter Vigil was delivered to his family and friends for publication shortly before Kogan’s death in the summer of 2015. The publishers hope these works will provide insight into a uniquely American story of belonging and not belonging, thinking and feeling.


Contains twelve essays by Steve Kogan and a foreword by his longtime friend Mark Solomon.

About the author

Born in 1938, Steve Kogan grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. He attended Columbia University, where he earned his doctorate in English Literature, and spent his adult life dedicated to teaching and writing. He was an involved and innovative teacher, devoted to his students, adept at turning fearful, inhibited students into competent writers, using free writing strategies developed by the educator Peter Elbow. Kogan’s style was student centered. Colleagues noted “he always sat among them, not in front of them.” Calm, patient, and deliberate, he was “the guiding spirit” of the innovative Writing Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where students could “start anyplace, and through bringing their true selves into their writing could then begin to make their writing shine." It was a process he had discovered for himself. Steve Kogan was a prolific writer and his works have appeared in many periodicals such as Academic Questions and Literary Imagination. The Hieroglyphic King: Wisdom and Idolatry in the Seventeenth Century Masque was published by Associated University Presses in 1986. A collection of essays entitled Against the Grain: Essays and Arguments was published posthumously in 2015, expressing his singular, on the ground and deep understanding of arts, letters and life.

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