July 2011

A life in stories

by Cynthia Newberry Martin July 28, 2011

Ellen Gilchrist’s first book was not published until she was in her forties. In “A Reading Group Guide” at the back of Nora Jane: A Life in Stories, she is asked about this: “I didn’t begin to write seriously and professionally until I was in my forties because I was busy being alive.” Now she [...]

Read the full article →

Writers take refuge on Sampsonia Way

by Kelly Pivarnik July 26, 2011
House Poem by Huang Xiang

Pittsburgh is a city primarily known for its bridges, sports teams and sandwiches made with french fries. However, within the Mexican War streets of the Northside neighborhood, one can expect to find something a tad out of the norm for the Steel City — a narrow alley called Sampsonia Way. What Sampsonia Way lacks in [...]

Read the full article →

Screw your spirit of inquiry, make us lots of money.

by David Alm July 20, 2011

Executives at Deutsche Bank in Germany thought they had a brilliant idea: give two German universities about $17 million over four years, starting in 2007, to fund a program that would really give something back. But not to society, exactly. Back to Deutsche Bank. The Quantitative Products Laboratory was housed at Humboldt University and the [...]

Read the full article →

Glamorous repression: a review of an unpublished review

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein July 19, 2011

As long as I didn’t yell fire in a crowded theatre, I could pretty much say anything I wanted. That’s the democracy lesson I got when I was in middle school in the Midwest of the United States. Our teacher also assigned somewhat eerie post-colonial exercises like making up our own islands and then conspiring [...]

Read the full article →

OMG, Illinois legislates illiteracy

by David Alm July 19, 2011

Illinois has dropped writing skills from its standardized testing for high school juniors and will focus only on reading and arithmetic. Officials claim that this will save the state $2.4 million. Writing tests for younger pupils were dropped last year. So now they can type (using their thumbs) “u r 2 dum 2 x-pres urself, [...]

Read the full article →

The cost of doing po-business

by Rebecca Lehmann July 18, 2011

Anyone in the United States who has tried to publish a first book of poetry has run into the bind of the contest reading system. One of the only ways to publish a first book (and increasingly, a second or even third book) is to enter it into one of a rapidly proliferating number of [...]

Read the full article →

He chooses the funeral over the poetry reading

by Marilyn Kallet July 16, 2011
Benjamin Peret

Tomorrow’s the book launch for my new book of translations, “The Big Game” (Le grand jeu), by the surrealist Benjamin Péret. It’s the first time this volume will appear in its entirety in English; the pub is Black Widow Press. This is a big deal for me–I have been rehearsing, arranging for surrealist happenings and [...]

Read the full article →

On a run, looking for answers about an inexplicable crime

by David Alm July 15, 2011

By now you’ve likely heard about the ghastly murder of an 8-year-old boy in Brooklyn earlier this week. Walking home from day camp, Leiby Kletzky got lost and simply asked the wrong stranger for help. He was suffocated, dismembered, and distributed to various places near the neighborhood in which he lived. It was a horrible [...]

Read the full article →

A more lavish Lolita: Reading and writing as a synesthete

by Laura Elizabeth Woollett July 14, 2011
Laura Elizabeth Woollett

I was first drawn to the novel Lolita, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, not f or its literary merit, nor even for its salacious reputation. Quite simply, I had read somewhere that its author was, like me, a grapheme-color synesthete: someone who perceives letters and numbers as being inherently colored. I had possessed [...]

Read the full article →

Ebb and Flow: Part Two. The End. No More. Finis.

by Rafael Torch July 13, 2011

I sit on my hotel bed and say some kind of prayer, an eight word utterance I’ve imagined seemingly out of nowhere in the last few days in order to keep at bay the worst I can imagine. I say it when my body seems to fail me with a grand fatigue and deep depression [...]

Read the full article →

A Book I Can’t Stop Thinking About

by Tasha Cotter July 13, 2011

Rusty Morrison’s second collection of poems, the true keeps calm biding its story, is one of the most exciting collections of poems I’ve recently come across. On entering the collection one feels submerged in an immense, ineffable loss. The poet takes the loss on like a master, utilizing the structure of the telegram to send [...]

Read the full article →

Job destroyers

by Rebecca Lehmann July 10, 2011

Right now, our representatives and senators and president are engaged in talks over the debt ceiling, the national budget, and how to end the pernicious recession that has lingered over a sizeable chunk of this writer’ s adult life. People are out of work, and the economy is in the toilet. Is this the way [...]

Read the full article →

Ebb and Flow: Part One

by Rafael Torch July 10, 2011

In the great applauseless, 3 a.m., early gray of suburban Maryland, there’s just the steady drone of the streetlights outside my hotel window. I’m only an hour ahead in time zone but I feel miles and hours away from home and Emily, who has stayed behind because she can’t fly because the baby will be [...]

Read the full article →

Godard on Allen/Allen on Godard

by David Alm July 8, 2011

This isn’t timely, nor is it apropos of something else. It’s just a fascinating conversation between two of cinema’s greatest artists, Jean-Luc Godard and Woody Allen. I happened upon it after a friend shared a 1970s or 80s commercial for Schick aftershave directed by Godard (yes, really — tres chic, tres Schick), which led me to [...]

Read the full article →

I’m No Preacher

by Rafael Torch July 5, 2011

I’m no preacher nor am I a teetotaler, but I know that the fourth step of Alcoholics Anonymous states that after “we’ve admitted to being powerless over alcohol”, and after we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, and had made a decision to turn our lives over to It, however we knew [...]

Read the full article →