When Greg Smith resigned from his position as an executive director in the London office of Goldman Sachs on Wednesday, most people didn’t know who he was. He was a midlevel investment banker at one of the largest investment banks in the world, with more than 30,000 employees. Apparently, in the I-banking world, “executive directors” […]

The gallery is small but not the crowd for the “Private View” of exhibition Dandy in the Underworld: Portraits of Adam Ant. He really was beautiful. Chrissie Hynde is here! Walking around as if she were a mere mortal. And there are rows of mohawks, as the punks have come out too. Companion tells me […]

First in a series of Worship Reviews I usually win on the horses. I have an instinct. But I should have known better than to follow the “hot tip” I received at church that morning. My horse came in third. Turf Paradise Race Track on a warm Arizona afternoon is the place to be. But […]

The little shop sat in the shadow of the legendary Kodak tower on State Street. A raw part of the city, drained by suburban retreat and battered by countless soul-chilling storms endemic to cities on the Great Lakes. Immigrants came there a half century before from Ireland, Germany and Italy to establish themselves as craftsmen […]

Contrary’s Rebecca Lehmann wins first-book prize

by Contrary Magazine May 14, 2011

Rebecca Lehmann’s first book of poetry, Between The Crackups, has won the Salt Cr ash aw Prize, and will be published by Salt Publishing this fall. The book includes “The Factory,” which was first published in Contrary and subsequently was included in the Best New Poets 2010 anthology. Rebecca is also a regular author here, on […]

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Langston Hughes in Paradise

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein May 12, 2011

In the later part of his life, the poet Langston Hughes made several trips to Africa, presenting and leading writing workshops all the way from Nigeria to Uganda. Some say he emerged as an official celebrity in Africa when, in Senegal, he delivered a pivotal speech entitled “Black Writers in a Troubled World,” declaring that […]

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Circe, The Video

by Nicelle Davis May 11, 2011

This is a collaboration of the book Circe. One of the poems in Circe appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of Contrary: “Dear Odysseus.” Credits: Cheryl Gross, animator/illustrator, Nicelle Davis, writer/poet, Karl Preusser, sound/ music, and Alexis Vergalla, cover art, publisher Lowbrow Press.

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Jaycee Dugard has a memoir, and it’s all her

by David Alm May 11, 2011

It’s a life I can hardly fathom: being held captive from the age of 11 to 29 in a walled-off compound behind a modest house in the Bay Area. Giving birth to the children of your captor, a man almost 30 years your senior. Teaching yourself to read with old paperbacks, read over and over […]

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Media, Sensationalism and Media Sensationalism

by Jeff McMahon May 10, 2011

Lauren Berlant speaking on media sensationalism? I couldn’ t miss that. So I found my way to the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center to have a listen. Only to find out I’d overlooked the comma between media and sensationalism. Lauren Berlant is an English professor at the University of Chicago, but that title can’t contain […]

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Reality hungry or good hungry

by Cynthia Newberry Martin May 8, 2011

So, David Shields’ manifesto Reality Hunger. Structure: 618 short sections grouped into 26 chapters. Subject: our hunger for the real as opposed to the invented. Shields makes some strong points and shares some controversial ideas, most of which, in the real world, would require a cite. But Shields does not believe that reality–words, music–belongs to anyone. […]

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Osama, Obama, Al Qaeda, America: First they felt no empathy

by Jeff McMahon May 6, 2011

Juliana Baggott wrote a smart and calm defense of the Osama bin Laden death celebration for NPR last week. Americans should be free to release their fear, she contends: their cheering shows they are paying attention, are emotionally invested, and are participating in an act of unity. She didn’t convince me, but she helped me […]

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If a tree falls in the forest …

by Annie Murphy May 6, 2011

I wrote something potentially (academically) dangerous earlier: “If a professor speaks and if nobody listens, did the professor speak?” I didn’t intend this as a condemnation of professors; quite the opposite, I hoped pull in the common adage, “If a tree falls in a forest …” to illustrate the disconnection between the so-called ivory tower […]

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Oh. My. Osama. Oh. My. God(dafi).

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein May 6, 2011

Is it unpatriotic to say that Osama bin Laden had nice eyes? In the twenty-four rippling hours following reports of bin Laden’s death and burial at sea, I’m left scrolling through his public photo album online, staring at images of bin Laden as a young soldier in Afghanistan, a young revolutionary with hints of Che-spirit, […]

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Reaction to a reaction to a reaction

by Annie Murphy May 2, 2011

Although I generally do not like to hear pop stars’ opinions on politics, or politicians’ opinions about pop culture—the operative principle being, “if you don’t have anything informed to say, don’t say anything at all”—I’m going to stretch (and/or violate, depending on your perspective of my perspective) that norm. That is, as a student of […]

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Commencement: now what?

by Rebecca Lehmann May 1, 2011

On Friday night I officially finished my PhD in English at Florida State University. I’ m entering into one of the worst acade mic job markets in recent history, with a slim chance of finding a position teaching in a university. Perhaps needless to say, it’s been hard to maintain hope that the degree I […]

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