“We now have endless citizens of the Western world who’ve been reared entirely in urban surroundings, children who think chocolate milk comes from black cows. And the problem for them as potential writers and readers is not simply that cities are loud or dirty or dangerous. The root problem is that cities are the least permanent things in our civilization. Any pebble on the outskirts of town stands a far better chance of lasting than New York City does.”
This conversation between Reynolds Price and Frederick Busch, part of a collaboration between 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center and The Paris Review, was recorded live at 92Y on November 19, 1990. We are able to share this recording thanks to a generous gift in memory of Christopher Lightfoot Walker, longtime friend of the Poetry Center and The Paris Review.Price's full interview ran in The Paris Review as the Art of Fiction No. 127 in the winter of 1991.
Christopher Lightfoot Walker (1954—2012) served as poster director, prints director, and advisory editor of The Paris Review. He also volunteered at the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center, making transcriptions, which were models of their kind, of audio recordings of live literary events. Chris was born in New York City, attended the Buckley School, then went west to Fountain Valley School and back east to Hampshire College. He was engaged in a number of entrepreneurial efforts (some in collaboration with his father, Angus Lightfoot Walker, longtime chairman of the City Investing Company) when, at the age of thirty-one, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He wore his adversity lightly, retaining, in addition to his considerable wits, his sense of humor and sense of fun. Against the odds he remained a person on whom no delightful thing was ever lost. Chris was always grateful for the refuge he was able to find in the work provided by the Y.