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A Question of (Soma)tics

“Visit the home of a deceased poet you admire ... Once there, scrape dirt from ground into a pot. Drive into the woods. Meditate beneath a tree with dirt. Upon return, abstain from showering for three days.”

Misery Loves Company With a Sense of Humor

While it is not uncommon to come across an author who attempts to employ humor when covering serious subject matter, many fail to achieve the delicate tonal balance required for success.

Relative Triangles and The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets

In her debut novel, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, Brooklynite Kathleen Alcott braves a meditation upon the dark and often sick underbelly of familial relationships, set resolutely in “twenty-twelve,” and pulls off a convincing portrait of a family in this “new age.” 

In Exile

The 1991 disintegration of Yugoslavia shattered a 73-year-old project aimed at ethnic and national unity. Miljenko Jergović’s newly translated collection of stories, Mama Leone, traverses the before and after of that dissolution, passing through language, family history, and exile to form a fragmentary Bildungsroman.

Unsung Hero

Tom Reiss’s works read like adventure novels, but the details are scrupulously researched and true. The Black Count is Reiss’s third book, and a seven-year obsession. The Upper East Side author, 48, recently told a New School journalism class about his compulsion to resurrect the life story of an unknown soldier, General Alex Dumas, whose swashbuckling escapades inform his son Alexandre Dumas’s novels.

MAPPING THE GRAIN: Silver, Mercury, and Lead Go into a Bar…

Larry Fagin is the quintessential New York School poet. Born in 1937, he serves as a bridge between first, second, and third generation New York School. He combines the cosmopolitan breeziness of O’Hara’s Personism with the trademark humor of Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett.

Southern Exposure

The title of the bilingual anthology of poetry edited by Kent Johnson and Roberto Echavarren, Hotel Lautréamont: Contemporary Poetry from Uruguay, immediately made me want to stay at this hotel. I wanted to experience its selection of poets and poems, to read them both in their native Uruguayan Spanish and their English translations.

In Conversation

ELIZABETH KOKE and AMY SCHOLDER of the Feminist Press with Gabriel Don

In February 2012, three members of the Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were arrested after an unauthorized performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Videos of their cathedral concert spread rapidly around the world. Near Empire State tourist traffic, tucked away in the CUNY Graduate Center, through the portico and façade of an Italian Renaissance palazzo with limestone grandeur and columns, hidden on the fifth floor, is the headquarters of the Feminist Press. A women’s collective committed to printing women writers founded the Feminist Press in 1970.

In Conversation

MICHAEL BRACEWELL with Kathy Battista

The writer of choice for Richard Hamilton, Bridget Riley, Gilbert & George, and Damien Hirst, Michael Bracewell’s art is the written word.  The Space Between, published by Ridinghouse in London, is a reader that features a collection of Bracewell’s essays and art criticism from the past three decades.

In Conversation

PENINA ROTH with Nicolle Elizabeth

The Franklin Park Reading Series, headed by Ms. Penina Roth of the New York Times and many other outlets, is one of the places to be for sure. Roth agreed to e-mail with me about the reading series and to offer advice for those who are looking to start their own series.

Noise’s Nectar

Unofficial Release is a brimming book that captures the key cultural philosophies of self-released music and sound art, emphasizing activities within the cassette network—that was so exciting to partake in back in the 1980s (a k a cassette culture).

The Light Pours Out of Me

The act of writing a science fiction trilogy initiates the assumption of “memorable” characters, a strung-out central story line based on Campbellian structures, and, of course, world building.

Tell It Quick

Unapologetic, relentless, empathetic, hard-working, Holler Presents is headed up by fiction writer Scott McClanahan. And his camp touts some of the more quick-witted yet simultaneously tenderhearted small-press writers in the business.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2012

All Issues