2017 Archives

Willard Spiegelman leaves Dallas a lovely parting gift with 'If You See Something, Say Something'


The following is from the March 1, 2017, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Willard Spiegelman, SMU's Hughes Professor of English, writes commentaries on culture and art for The Wall Street Journal. He teaches and writes about English and American poetry, and is the author of several books.

March 1, 2017

By Rick Brettell
Art Critic

The word is out: Willard Spiegelman, Southern Methodist University's distinguished Hughes Professor of English, is selling his Dallas condo and moving full time to New York and Connecticut. 

Spiegelman —  author, editor, educator, raconteur — has also long been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and been Dallas' most eloquent public voice in the New York media world. It's bad enough that we're losing him in person, but as the WSJ radically cuts back on its arts coverage, we risk missing out on him altogether. 

But his many fans can take great joy that SMU's DeGolyer Library has produced a fulsome and beautifully illustrated book of his visual arts and architecture criticism. If You See Something, Say Something is a celebration of Spiegelman's Dallas years — all 47 of them. The book organizes 45 of his Journal reviews into three geographical categories: Texas, Elsewhere in the United States and The Rest of the World. 

Pride of place goes to his adopted city, Dallas, to which Spiegelman maintains a studied distance  -- "in it, not of it," one might say. Yet Spiegelman's wrestling with what he sees as the best and the worst of his desired Dallas  is wonderfully touching; it's sort of like tough love, the kind we all need. 

The essays  deal with arts institutions, architecture and works of art. Only the first essay, a review of the Meyerson Symphony Center when it opened, deals with Spiegelman's love of music. One could contemplate a second volume of this collection that gathers his equally civil reviews of the opera and concert music. 

Read the full story.