Essay: A Critical Memoir is an experiment of the old school and of revived delight in the pleasures of close reading. What if all the poems are true? What if the allegories of a man or woman’s life are in every way, and always, the actual shape of that life? To read is to find oneself again and again at the center of a pageant. To write is to call the pageant home. Essay is a memoir of Dante and Beatrice in New York circa 1968 and of an anti-war movement in something very much like Paradise.