Catherine Wagner’s third collection My New Job (Fence Books 2009) is a highly structured work of experimental poetry in which we follow Wagner through both physical and poetic exercises.
Night fell cold and clear down Ninth Avenue, people in overcoats ambling arm-in-arm or otherwise whisking past with leather folios in hand, the waxing moon above a dome of citylight. Past heavy glass and distressed metal doors opened the Chelsea Market, its air heavy with smells of bread and coffee and meat. Along the corridor emporium, seated before durable cafe tables, men and women drank from heavy cups and plucked at pastry as if in a dream of some impossibly well-stocked European village.
The friendship between Paul LeClerc, the president of the New York Public Library, and the writer and academic Andre’ Aciman, goes back a decade to when, after reading Aciman’s celebrated memoir, Out of Egypt, LeClerc was so struck by the lyricism and gravitas of Aciman’s writing that he invited him to meet for coffee.
“You aren’t supposed to strive in Wyoming,” says city reporter Melanie in a selection from Alyson Hagy’s newest title, a series of short stories set amidst the raw and heavy American West.
As host of LA radio station KCRW’s Bookworm, Michael Silverblatt interviews the most well known writers of our time—but it is his empathetic reading of the writers’ work that has made the radio program, now in its 20th year, the premier literary forum in America
Ugly Duckling Presse describes its Dossier Series as “idea-based books, pamphlets, and other objects” that “don’t share a single genre or form—long poem, lyric essay, criticism, artist book, polemical text—but rather an investigative impulse.” The most recent title of this series is Ten Walks/ Two Talks by Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch. Inspired in part by Basho’s meditative travel diaries, Cotner and Fitch observe today’s New York City with the freshness of travelers’ eyes.
Sangam House is a writers’ residency program just outside of Pondicherry in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Up to seven writers at a time—from South Asia and the rest of the world—are invited to live together while they grind out their latest work—stories, poetry, scripts, and all those arrangements of words that don’t fit neatly into any of these categories.
Justin Taylor’s collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever is jagged-edged, darkly wrought debut made of broken beer bottles and sidereal light. Stories in the collection range from densely packed flash narratives to longer pieces that draw out their impact in a lengthier, but no less potent, manner. Perhaps the most articulate aspect of the collection is its unforgiving portrayal of its characters. The young men and women in Taylor’s stories gain their vividness and our sympathy via the same qualities that make them distasteful outsiders.
Catie Rosemurgy’s second poetry collection, The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press 2009), is a heady, yet playful romp through the American psyche. Through her main character, Miss Peach, Rosemurgy questions gender roles in the tradition of PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. Her setting for many of the poems is a somewhat fictitious place Gold River, a sort of Anytown, USA. Reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Anne Sexton, Rosemurgy’s precise, restrained language prods into the darkness behind the seemingly mundane nature of her characters and places. By Susie DeFord | Posted in Literature, subTEXT | Tagged
There are two aspects that make a festival particular to India as a country: the presence of several Bollywood celebrities and the post-colonial conversations about the works themselves. Floods of Indians gaze adoringly at their favorite actor or actress, and I came to realize that India was a country very much star-struck, autograph-driven.
How to consider the space captured in a photograph, and what can we consider truth within an image? In a photograph my image exists outside of my physical body but does my body still live in a photograph? When applied to the photography of dead bodies, specifically crime scene photography, these questions take an interesting turn.
It’s hard to classify Joanna Fuhrman’s poetry. David Shapiro calls it “infra-surrealism” and the press release for her fourth collection Pageant (Alice James Books 2009) defines it as “pop-surrealist lyrical poetry,” but it’s more than that. Unlike a lot of surrealist poetry, Fuhrman’s work actually makes sense.
Yesterday at our lunchtime Sangam House powwow we were talking about how expatriates are often the most enthusiastic advocates for their homeland. We swapped stories about encounters with exuberant, displaced nationals in Turkish restaurants in Berlin and Italian pizzerias in Sao Paulo. Suddenly, Theo popped into my head.
Can feminism expand? Can it begin to dispel stereotypes from within and without the movement? The answer, according to Emma Bee Bernstein and Nona Willis Aronowitz’s GirlDrive, is a resounding yes!
In 2007, Aronowitz and Bernstein, friends since they were teenagers, decided to explore what feminism means to the current generation of women. As daughters of well-known feminists (Ellis Willis and Susan Bee, respectively) they grew up with feminism being a household word. Aronowitz and Bernstein desired to step out of their environment into the wider collective.
For voracious readers the most satisfying battles are always heralded by the challenge of big books. Let’s call them gigabooks, books that can break their own spine or their readers, books where you lightly taste their first sentence, equally ready to experience sugar or poison.
Community is all the rage. Our networking, political views, practical concerns and random inquires all play out in our online communities. Prior to politics, Barack Obama’s much-analyzed resume was that of a community organizer. The word is the latest love-child of the politically correct gods…
“We’re not prepared, but we never have been, and we’re still here,” Patti Smith announced as she and Sam Shepard sat down on the two armchairs on the stage of the 92nd Street Y last night, facing the sold-out crowd. They read, in a sort of call-and-response fashion, excerpts from their newest works peppered with some of Smith’s poetry and a couple of pleasantly unrehearsed musical numbers at the end.
Sangam House is a writers residency program just outside of Pondicherry in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Up to seven writers at a time—from South Asia and the rest of the world—are invited to live together while they grind out their latest work—stories, poetry, scripts, and all those arrangements of words that don’t fit neatly into any of these categories.
Sarah Thornton’s mechanical mind deciphers the gestures hidden within the wild, eccentric, and unregulated art world. Her recent bestseller, Seven Days in the Art World, unlocks the mysteries of this creative sphere that appears to be lit from within.
Maaza Mengiste‘s debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, is a stark account of the Communist revolution in 1970s Ethiopia. The book follows the fall of the Emperor, Haile Selassie, through to the rise of the Derg and the reign of terror imposed upon the people of Ethiopia. Mengiste‘s characters are remarkably vivid and she meticulously creates a book with great scope, but also real emotional connection.
Daniel Nester is the kind of writer who looks at his book as an opportunity to be honest with you, and hopefully make you laugh. Which I did, while reading his latest book, How to Be Inappropriate, just out this past fall.
Matvei Yankelevich’s playful writing makes for an enjoyable read, combining absurd theater, avant-garde poetry, and children’s fable into ??Boris by the Sea??’s slim 62 pages.
Paul Auster is one of America’s more fascinating living authors—his ability to blend narrative with materialized existential crisis is as unique as it is captivating, and his new novel, Invisible, is no exception. Back in 1988 when BOMB interviewed Auster, Joseph Mallia gave a pretty good whirlwind tour of Auster’s great achievements, writing that “Auster has worked in a wide range of genres—a half-dozen volumes of dense, highly crafted lyric poems; numerous books of translation from the French, and the editorship of the Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry; The Art of Hunger, critical essays written when he was in his early twenties; a moving, deeply personal yet intellectually rigorous ‘experiment in autobiography,’ The Invention of Solitude; The New York Trilogy, an acclaimed series of sparse, evocative mysteries; a one-act play, produced in New York (and which he refuses to talk about).” It’s true; Auster is a man of many doctrines, and if I have anything to say about Invisible to sum exactly what I thought of it, I would just say that in true Auster form, Invisible is unlike anything he’s written before, albeit with his own distinctive touch.
What happens to us as we age and eventually die? This question we all ask is at the forefront of Alicia Suskin Ostriker’s new collection The Book of Seventy (University of Pittsburgh Press 2009).
I’m not usually a fan of prose poetry, however Ray Gonzalez’s new book Cool Auditor (BOA Editions Ltd. 2009) has made me a believer. Gonzalez’s form straddles the line between poetry and prose allowing an opening for readers of both genres to enjoy his thick, musical language and fantastic imagery.
Although The Dance of No Hard Feelings is Mark Bibbins’ second book of poetry, nothing about this recently released collection feels sophomoric. Its bulk (just under 100 pages), its effortless political and didactic flourishes, its lapidary formal qualities and charismatic cadences give an impression of rare expertise.
Kristin Naca’s first book Bird Eating Bird was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the National Poetry Series and published October 2009 by HarperCollins. Naca’s language is similar to her title—her poems are delicate, meticulously edited, and at times ravenously devour the reader.
An installment of WNYC’s signature series The NEXT New York Conversation, Pen America’s Breakout: Voices From The Inside began with a brief introduction about Pen’s Prison Writing Program.
The independent used bookstore Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers on Bedford between N.4th and N.5th, celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Houston, Texas doctor and poet Fady Joudah translated Darwish’s If I Were Another and The Butterfly’s Burden, which won a TLS Translation Prize (the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize) for Arabic Literary Translation from the Society of Authors in the UK.