Baumgartner: Ordinary, extra-ordinary

October 1, 2010
PALACIOS, BOLIVIA — Beneath the breast bone, between the lungs, lies the heart. It is a fist-sized organ, the color of uncooked steak. It was extraordinary, as a child, to hear it beat: a stethoscope pressed between the shoulder blades, two fingers against the wrist. But how unextraordinary it became later, when I learned that »

Baumgartner: Friendship, after the storm

April 26, 2010
I spent the summer in Saint Malo, my friend spent his in Lyon, and we met at the beginning of August in the south of France. But it was hot there, and the beaches were crowded, and he said, “Why not go to Paris?” So we went. We walked along the Seine and drank espresso »

Baumgartner: Our words, our thoughts, collected

April 16, 2010
When the poet Marie Borroff GRD ’56 was an undergraduate, she studied verse with Norman Maclean, the author of “A River Runs through It.” Sitting in his office, she watched as the ash from his cigarette dangled then fell on the page. He would sweep the ashes from the page with his hand, all she »

Baumgartner: A literary love

April 13, 2010
Last week, for the first time in several years, I went to church. It was not my parish, or even my denomination, but it was Easter, and the churchgoers were so numerous that the pews resembled sardine tins. The women wore their hats, decked with flowers, in the style of Churchill Downs. They leaned toward »
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Baumgartner: Don’t hesitate to ask

March 22, 2010
  It went something like this: we met, we dated, we broke up. I said why don’t we be friends? That summer, he visited me in New Hampshire and spent the night on the extra bed in my room, like any other friend. But in the morning, when the alarm went off, he slid under »
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Baumgartner: A gossiper’s defense

February 22, 2010
On my 13th birthday, my mother told me that men talk about sex in locker rooms. Then she handed me a piece of cake. I ate, thinking of naked men, their bare feet against the tiled floors, their hair wet from the shower, as they snapped towels at one another and talked about breasts. I »
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Baumgartner: Seriously high standards

February 8, 2010
Editor’s Note: Post-Modern Love is a new column about relationships and sex at Yale. It will appear each Monday, with A.L. Baumgartner ’10 writing one week and Elisa Gonzalez ’11 writing the next. If I had composed the first epistle to the Corinthians, it would have said that love is not kind but mercenary. Or, »