Yankees in Fairyland: A Review of Take Me Out, by Richard Greenberg

Take Me Out - Richard Greenberg

Richard Greenberg’s play Take Me Out is as much about the role of the athlete, particularly the baseball “star,” as it is about what makes a team function—and what threatens the unity of a team. The play confronts the disturbing truth that baseball has never been an equal opportunity employer. African-Americans were shut out from the big leagues for decades. Gay Americans … [Read more...]

That Deadly Lord Douglas: Oscar Wilde and De Profundis

Oscar Wilde - De Profundis

It is hard to read the letter published as De Profundis, with its account of Wilde’s disastrous life with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, without laughing.From his cell in Reading Gaol, Wilde recounts the tally of the couple’s lavish, carefree days of freedom. Everything was so expensive: the meals, the gifts, the gambling debts incurred by Bosie and covered by Wilde, (there … [Read more...]

Book Review – The Last First Day: A Novel

The Last First Day: A Novel by Carrie Brown

The Last First Day: A Novel by Carrie Brown / Pantheon / 304 pages / 978-0307908032Carrie Brown’s prose sucks you into a kind of lull. Images of rooms without bodies, twilights in small towns, or people caught in states of pause and repose are palpable in quiet fluidity. You feel transported to a safe place, as though fear has been exiled, excluded, forgotten. The city is … [Read more...]

Attempt to Hear All the Voices: On the Nature of Essay

journal

An essay is an entity in itself that moves, explores, sometimes discovers and enlightens, explains, clarifies, and attempts to relate in some way to the world outside of it. An essay moves on its own and is sometimes moving its readers to do the same, or at least to think about its movement in a critical way. In her essay “Montaigne,” Virginia Woolf writes, “Movement and change … [Read more...]

A Consideration of Borges’ Poetics

Jorge Luis Borges - This Craft of Verse

I read Jorge Luis Borges' This Craft of Verse in one sitting. It is a collection of six essays originally given as lectures at Harvard University in 1967-1968. The tone is easy and conversational. Borges speaks about the reader's interaction with a poem, metaphor, the epic, translation and translatability, the relation between language and thought, and his own “poetic creed” as … [Read more...]

Fully Aboard the Flesh Wagon: Tin House Writers Workshop, Summer 2014

Tin House Writer's Workshop / Randy Osborne

About a week before his fortieth birthday, virgin poet Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881) recorded in his journal that he ​​had “received a woman’s favors” at last.​ ​​His world was not rocked. ​“​Frankly, compared to what the imagination assumes or expects, they are a small matter,” ​​Amiel​ sniffed.But the deeply religious Amiel did not give up on lust – or on … [Read more...]

The Seventieth Year

Rembrandt - The Apostle Paul

Asia Air Flight 8501In a high rise hotel in Surabaya, a quiet week waiting like so much of life, my wife makes miniatures of snacks in clay for jewelry ideas and I download Nordic Noir.A trip to the gym to stay the decline, then I dream more vividly than I live and solve problems there I couldn’t understand awake, and feel stupid against it all.Can a thunder clap … [Read more...]

The Consequences of Violence

Afghanistan Sky / U.S. Army

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. —Oscar WildeI’ve found it true in personal experience that being a target of life-threatening violence strips away everything that isn’t a core value or an innermost desire. Near the eastern Afghan village of Shkin in 2004, I huddled in a mud brick house with … [Read more...]

“Said God, Scratching His Naked Belly in a Kitchen”: Charles Bukowski to Robert Bly

Bukowski letter to Robert Bly. Joshua Preston

Unlike any other time in U.S. history, the 1950s and ‘60s saw the emergence of multiple literary movements stoked by a flourishing small-press culture. Popular magazines of the time included the New York-based Fuck You founded by Ed Sanders and Floating Bear founded by Diane di Prima and Leroi Jones. This “Mimeo Revolution” (though not every publication used a mimeograph) … [Read more...]

Nature As Muse: The World of Fine Writing

Mt. Baker seen from Mt. Watson. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bthompson/5011625855/ Ben Thompson

The world is never “too much with us,” said Wordsworth, but not the wild glories, which he treasured, too. Natural gifts reflecting the gifts of the gods, or of Darwin’s insights and those of the plate tectonics wizards. Everything moves.All of this and running water and birds on the wing and paths beckoning us to follow are the inspirations for great writers who, over all … [Read more...]

Wordsworth and the Beats: The Longevity of Influence

Wordworth & Kerouac

Although William Wordsworth once stated that he was “not a critic” and, in fact, “set little value upon the art” (Leitch 556), in his “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” he nevertheless proposed and discussed several controversial ideas that would become key components to his literary philosophy, securing the “Preface” as a significant and influential addition to the cannon of … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Tragedy—How What Goethe Played with is Still Entirely Relevant

Faust (detail) - public domain

One may say that the benefit of tragedy is that one gets to witness man self-destruct without having to self-destruct on one’s own. Lessons learned without having to go through the actual act of the crime. Tragedies were incredibly prevalent during the time of the Greeks, and some tragic stories, like that of Faust have pervaded through centuries. Goethe’s Faust, in particular, … [Read more...]

Yannis Livadas: A double interview

Yannis Livadas

These interviews were conducted for Quorum Magazine, which is based in Croatia. This is their first appearance in English.Interview No. 1Tomica Bajsic interviewed the poet Yannis Livadas for Quorum Magazine, n. 3/4, 2012.Q: During years you have traveled extensively, reading a lot, doing all sorts of jobs. Do you consider traveling and close-range experience a … [Read more...]

Calling on Paul Bowles: Tangier, Morocco, August 1979

Paul Bowles. Photo by Birgit Stephenson

Calling on Paul Bowles Tangier, Morocco, August 1979”There it is,” someone says, and in the darkness, in the distance, you can see Tangier sprawled across several hills, a white city illuminated by electric lights and veiled by a thin fog.After docking, disembarking and a wearisome wait to clear Moroccan customs, we take a taxi to our hotel, hurtling through the … [Read more...]

A Review of Joseph Ridgwell’s Cuba: In Search of Hemingway

cuba

Turning the first page on the handsewn binding of Joseph Ridgwell’s Cuba: In Search of Hemingway feels like something special. Like discovering the splintered edges of a treasure chest through sand. Or something you might unexpectedly luck on at the bottom of a box of Cuban cigars, holding it up and being wondrously captivated by it. But that’s all part of the charm. Like other … [Read more...]

Revenge of the Imagist Socialist Poetry

REVENGE OF THE IMAGIST SOCIALIST POETRY

We are the revenge of all oppressed, despised, ignored, exploited, beaten, insulted, neglected, abused, molested humans in the world as being fighters for their rights with our poems and essays.We are the revenge of the Poetry Art and we are fighting for poetry ethics against the decadent poets/poetesses who exploit Poetry for their own social rant seeking and for hunting … [Read more...]

Book Review – Alex Preston’s In Love and War.

Alex Preston - In Love and War

In Love and War is the third novel from Alex Preston, following 2010's This Bleeding City – which won The Edinburgh International Book Festival Readers’ First Book Award, and was chosen as one of Waterstones’ New Voices of 2010 – and its follow-up, The Revelations, which was released in 2012 to much critical acclaim.The novel follows Esmond Lowndes on a journey from an … [Read more...]

Is Andy Kaufman Still Alive? The Evidence

Andy Kaufman Still Alive?

My name is Jack Bristow -- AKA, the guy who was interviewed by the Huffington Post about Andy Kaufman being alive and well in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though the interview took place 2013, May 15, I am still tweeted and e-mailed all kinds of questions to this day. The biggest question I receive, however, is if I still believe Andy Kaufman is among the living. I’ll answer that … [Read more...]

Book Review – Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe (trans. Laird Hunt)

Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe

Vacant Lot by Oliver Rohe, translated by Laird Hunt. Counterpath Press, 2011.“Then I was king and now I’m no more than a ghost,” says the narrator in Oliver Rohe’s novel Vacant Lot. Now “I pass haggardly through trenches at the periphery of agitation and take refuge in a penumbra that is menaced from all sides.” Translated from the French by novelist Laird Hunt, at its … [Read more...]

Was Roosevelt Reciting Poetry?: The Need for a New Prosody

Was Roosevelt Reciting Poetry?

In the last ten years, Charles Simic, Mark Strand, James Tate, Stephen Dunn, Franz Wright and Naomi Shihab Nye have published books of prose poetry. Before them, Rilke, Baudelaire, Poe, Whitman, Octavio Paz, Henri Michaux, Gertrude Stein and Sherwood Anderson established the form, forcing for the first time the question of genre. T.S. Eliot tried to put a stop to this mish-mash … [Read more...]

Loneliness, Robert Frost and Elliot Rodger

nightsky

An Old Man's Winter Night by Robert FrostAll out-of-doors looked darkly in at him Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars, That gathers on the pane in empty rooms. What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand. What kept him from remembering what it was That brought him to that creaking room was age. He stood with … [Read more...]

(Book Review) Henry Miller: Ahead of the Game by Kenton Crowther

Henry Miller: Ahead of the Game by Kenton Crowther

Kenton Crowther's 3100-word essay, Henry Miller: Ahead of the Game has just become available in digital form. In it, Crowther shines a little light on Miller as a writer and as a man, exploring his life, sensibilities, and ongoing relevance.It's not an in-depth look at Miller, but certainly an entertaining and thoughtful one.First, Crowther takes a look at Miller's … [Read more...]

Aural Dialectics: On Allen Ginsberg’s Musical Rendition of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Allen Ginsberg / William Blake  Songs of Innocence and Experience

William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789) is a collection of illuminated poems separated into two groupings, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, that engage with their respective, eponymous forces and ostensibly present them as a dichotomy, or perhaps rather as a linear transition, with innocence giving way to experience. But to consider the poem a … [Read more...]

“The Invention of the Past”: An essay on the novel Ancient Light by John Banville

Ancient Light - John Banville

When fifteen-year-old Alexander Cleave first catches sight of Mrs. Gray – the mother of his best friend – what he sees is a reflection of a reflection. As he waits in the hallway of her house, he sees her naked, “not nude”, in the full-length mirror fixed to the outside of her bedroom door. It is only a reflection of her image caught in the mirrors of the three-paneled dressing … [Read more...]

Liberty Ltd.: Trespassers Prosecuted – A Review of Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited by Károly Sándor Pallai

Liberty Limited is a collection of poems of great passion and compassion, of wonders and shame, of bodies and souls. It is a voice for and about the voiceless, for and about those who used to have some limited liberty, but who have lost it long ago: victims of human trafficking, child prostitution, war. It is a voice not easy to attend to, it is both profane and metaphysical, … [Read more...]