“I see you striding through the down / and dust, blood spattered on your ankles, / your thin dress folding around your knees. / You’ve got an orange in each pocket, / and you walk by death with your head / held high, into the house and its shadow.” Iris Cushing reviews Maureen Thorson’s book of poetry Applies to Oranges.
Remember the kind of earth-map that’s made from a flattened orange peel? The skin transforms from sphere to plane, from organic waste to microcosm. Maureen Thorson’s Applies to Oranges embodies the do-it-yourself economy of such a map. In this collection of fifty-nine untitled prose poems, nothing is wasted; indeed, it is the remains, what’s left over after the fruits of joy have been consumed or lost, that gives the work its vision.
Cuban novelist José Manuel Prieto and Mark Weiss, poet, translator, and editor of the bilingual anthology The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry, recently conducted an email interview on the reasons for undertaking this, or any, anthology and the issues involved in its making.
José Manuel Prieto In your introduction you say that this is the first anthology to gather Cuba’s recent poetry in one volume. The result is noteworthy, its greatest virtue perhaps that it gives the reader a picture of Cuban poetry untainted by exoticism. You represent Cuban poetry’s complexity and maturity, and avoid making a false distinction between poets who remained on the island and those who have left. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you decide to put together an anthology of Cuban poets? Was it out of an internal need, or was it in response to an assigned task? What did you know about Cuban poetry before you began to work on The Whole Island?
Mark Weiss I knew something of Cuban history (and I’d worked many years ago on an unpublished translation of Lydia Cabrera’s El Monte), but very little about Cuban poetry or the culture at large before I started, though I had been deeply involved in translating José Kozer for some years (Stet, the fruit of that involvement, appeared in 2006.) José is widely considered the most important living Cuban poet, and he seems to know every poet (and everything they’ve written) on the island or in the diaspora, so Cuban poets came up frequently in our conversations. I had to learn the field pretty much from scratch.
Park Jung-bum’s debut feature The Journals of Musan won the Best New Narrative Director Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Watch Liza Béar’s video interview with the filmmaker.
Writer-director Park Jung-bum’s powerful first feature The Journals of Musan, in which he also plays the leading role, deservedly won the Best New Narrative Director Award at Tribeca Film Festival 2011 for its insightful portrait of a North Korean defector in Seoul, so. Korea, grappling with the contradictions of consumer capitalism as he tries to survive, both physically and psychically, on the fringes of society. The Journals of Musan was previously screened at festivals in Pusan, Marrakech, Rotterdam and Krakow, where it also won awards. Liza Béar interviewed Park Jung-bum on April 26th during a public screening of his film at the Clearview Cinemas.
Though you might be tempted to spend every hour possible outside this week, there are still Art and Culture, and sadly, they often occur indoors. This week, put your shirt and shoes back on for Sam Lipsyte, Yo La Tengo, Francine Prose, Lorna Simpson, and more events that will set you on fire, especially The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine. Ready?
Ugly Ducking Presse visits The Kitchen for a pleasant evening of companionship and camaraderie. The agenda includes: “A text for speaking by playwright and performer Kristen Kosmas, a sound-space intervention by No Collective; a slide-show and reading by artist Erica Baum (joined by poet Kim Rosenfield), and Yevgeniy Fiks with a queer guide to Moscow’s communist monuments.” 7 pm.
Cathleen Schine and Adam Gopnik discuss the role place has played in their work at the Museum of the City of New York. 6:30 pm; $6 museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 non-members, $6 when you mention BOMB Magazine.
BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Peter Moysaenko, features fiction by Jason Jordan and art by Amy Casey.
We leave the back door open even though we ain’t supposed to. It gets hot as hell in here with the machines runnin’ all day and night. What we’re doin’ is makin’ brake hoses for hogs, so I’m runnin’ one machine while Terry’s to my left, only a few inches away, runnin’ another. He does his thing, passes the part to me, I do my thing, and pass the part to Sam, who’s behind me at the next machine. From where I am, I can see the back door perfectly. It’s only about 30 feet away.
“I’ve come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.” Justin McNeil reviews Jonathan Lethem’s non-fiction book, They Live, an examination of the movie of the same name.
For people who have read Lethem’s recent novel Chronic City, the sentiment behind his new non-fiction book They Live will be immediately recognizable: Perkus Tooth Lives! Translation: Lethem is at heart an endearing and noble movie geek, and when he writes you can feel his best fictional characters (Perkus Tooth being one) elbowing into his work and egging him on. They Live is one of those rare books that is more honest and naked than most autobiographies, though the subject is not Lethem, but instead the John Carpenter ’80s cult movie.
Part of a series published by Soft Skull, the Deep Focus books look at semi-forgotten cult-movies. They are an even mix of film criticism and cultural wondering: most of us are not really obsessed with the cultural artifacts that peek in on us periodically like parents, however we still go back to them again and again and dreamily think, Why that?
Montana Wojczuck returns with an investigation—nay, exploration—of German wildman Werner Herzog’s latest film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
Even the caves at Lascaux had some guy saying, That buffalo is too literal.
—Michael Seidenberg, Brazen Head Books
Werner Herzog wants us to be aliens. The filmmaker is a man from outer space. His wide-eyed wonder sometimes tries my patience, as showing around an out-of-towner can begin as an opportunity to have a chance encounter with my own city but quickly becomes obnoxious. One can’t go around marveling at every skyscraper. But is it an adaptive skill to take these marvels of engineering for granted, or have our aesthetic senses become too dull to marvel?
As part of a new ongoing column, BOMBlog steps out on the town, or into an intimate party, to explore the inner lives and passions of New York City’s artists, writers, and creative professionals, be it food, fashion, or just pop culture. In the first installment, writer Jennifer Rodriguez attends a dinner party hosted by Vadis Turner and Clay Ezell at the couple’s home in Williamsburg.
“Would you rather watch an episode of Mad Men or vintage X-Files?” This was the question that sparked a debate at a recent dinner party hosted by artist Vadis Turner and her husband, Clay Ezell, a literary agent at ICM.
The food was not yet ready, but guests were snacking in the kitchen on Vadis’s homemade artichoke dip. We were trying not to eat too much, because Frogmore Stew was coming, but it was difficult because the dip was tasty. Our mouths found other purpose, however, when the topic of our favorite television shows came up.
The arguments for Mad Men’s involved plot and stylized take on midcentury America were strong; but the blind love for David Duchovny among the women tilted things, causing no small amount of eye-rolling among the men. Stalemate loomed when rowdy footsteps in the stairwell, accompanied by slightly tipsy laughter, staved off resolution for another day.
Since the late ’60s, Rudolph Wurlitzer has produced five novels and a dozen screenplays that, rather than simply begin and end, just happen. Craig Hubert talks to Wurlitzer about his recent retrospective at Anthology Film Archives and the audio book release of his novel Slow Fade, read by Will Oldham.
The work of Rudolph Wurlitzer is impossible to contain, pin down, or wrap-up. A writer of immense talent, he has produced five dense, challenging novels and a dozen screenplays that, rather than simply begin and end, just happen. Everything in his work is fluid, constantly in motion: destination, identity, purpose are always changing, never stable. Crossing borders, Wurlitzer’s writing for film remains consistent and defiant. It’s hard to think of another writer who made the transition so easily without compromise.
I spoke to Wurlitzer after the opening weekend of a new retrospective at Anthology Film Archives, where he gave a reading (from the forthcoming reissue of Slow Fade) and had the chance to revisit some of his old films. A retrospective can often signal the end, but with most of his work now available to explore, for the first time in a long time, it seems more like a beginning. As Rudy told me, “I’m still on this side of the grass.”
Craig Hubert How was the performance on Friday?
Rudolph Wurlitzer It was very interesting reading with Will Oldham, who’s a very interesting guy. And he had another guy reading with him, Alan Licht, who’s a good composer and very smart guy. So it was fun to break up the whole reading—usually it’s sort of deadly to go and hear an old geezer read from his book, you know? So we figured out a way to do it was have a couple of readers and make it more sort of theatrical and have a narrative involved. My wife Lynn Davis, who’s a photographer, put 100 of her photos and slides in the background, blown up, moving across the screen. So that was great. That resonated with the journey of the book. So that was cool, we sort of survived that. The films, I saw two of my old films. It’s interesting, because films date more than books do, at least for me.