Review: The Cartographer’s Ink

by Lee Gulyas March 10, 2015

The Cartographer’s Ink Okla Elliott NYQ Books 2014 Gilles Deleuze wrote: “Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” This is the quote that came to me as I read Okla Elliott’s “The Cartographer’s Ink.” We begin with an invitation […]

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From blindness to beauty, Layla Love’s photographic journey

by David Alm November 29, 2014
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In 2008, the photographer Layla Love was told she’d be blind within one year. The cause: pharmaceutical medications she’d been taking since she was a child to combat the deleterious effects of Dystonia, a rare neurological disease whose symptoms are nearly identical to Parkinson’s disease. Love was devastated. Since she first picked up a camera […]

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Marjane Satrapi Talks Writing & Freedom

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein November 2, 2014

“The world can go to hell if you have at least one person to lean on.”  — Marjane Satrapi This past Friday, writer and filmmaker Marjane Satrapi spoke about her life to a room full of high school students at the First Methodist Church in downtown Chicago. As part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Marjane […]

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A simple proposal for making New York affordable again

by David Alm October 24, 2014
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Last spring, my girlfriend of six years and I split up. She moved out of our below-market two-bedroom apartment in Park Slope and I had to decide if I was going to keep it, which would require getting a roommate – not an appealing prospect at age 38 – or find my own place. So […]

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English majors fare just fine on the job market, but in what jobs?

by David Alm October 14, 2014
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A few days ago, a friend of mine with a tenure-track English professorship at a large southern university posted an article on Facebook that argued, basically, that humanities majors fare no worse in the job market than other majors. The data came from a study conducted by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, and covered […]

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How a new Autocorrect program could hijack your soul

by David Alm September 10, 2014
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Dennis Paoli, the coordinator of the Reading & Writing Center at Hunter College in New York City, has a short but very effective definition of writing: Writing is thinking and vice versa. In other words, to write clearly you also need to think clearly, and clear thinking is often achieved through writing. I’ve participated in numerous workshops over the […]

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Those pesky “whining adjuncts”

by David Alm August 27, 2014

Two days ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a letter to the editor by one Catherine Stukel, who teaches at a community college in Cicero, Illinois. The point of Stukel’s letter was simple: She thinks that adjuncts whine too much about low wages, insecure employment, and not being able to find full-time jobs. In her […]

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Is the university over?

by David Alm August 16, 2014
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Minerva — hardly a word you’d associate with higher education. It sounds more like a brand-name medication designed to treat anxiety — Minimize your nerves with Minerva! Or maybe a South American root that generations of indigenous populations have used to cure everything. But no. If a 39-year-old entrepreneur named Ben Nelson has his way, the word Minerva will not only […]

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Aerogram! The Summer Issue Is Out!

by Contrary Magazine August 5, 2014
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Please do yourself a favor and read “Aerograms” by Jim Krosschell:   I come into the teachers’ room from a class, and the sky-blue aerogram is peeking out of my letter box. I take it to my desk and sit down in my chair. We wait a moment, letter and I, objects of wonder and furtive curiosity […]

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Review: Curse of an Addict — Zanzibar

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein July 23, 2014
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Curse of An Addict—Zanzibar Director: Lovinsa Kavuma UK/Uganda, 2014 It’s been a month since I was first introduced to Seif and I can’t get him out of mind. Seif was a heroin addict who lived in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and I ‘met’ him through a harrowing short documentary about his life called Curse of an […]

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Writing and running hurt, and that’s good

by David Alm June 26, 2014
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There are two things most people I know hate to do: Writing and running. While very different activities — one cerebral, the other physical — the primary reason people hate them is the same: They’re hard. And not just hard, but very hard. And they hurt. Also, they’re boring. Wait. What? I get that they’re hard, but how can something that […]

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Judy Blume helped me, too

by David Alm June 18, 2014
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A confession: As a child, while all of my friends were obsessed with the fantasy novels of Piers Anthony and science fiction, I was devouring whatever I could find by Judy Blume. I was an otherwise boyish kid — I rode bikes, played in the dirt, collected comic books. But even then, I preferred realism over fantasy, and […]

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Brought to a Boil: An Essay on Experimental Poetry

by John Olson April 23, 2014
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“All poetry is experimental poetry.” ~ Wallace Stevens Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will […]

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What it Means to be Contrary

by Contrary Magazine April 22, 2014
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“Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will invest in new perceptions. I will combine and […]

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Jesus for Jews — A Love Story

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 15, 2014
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I got my first period when I was thirteen years old — on the morning of my Bat Mitzvah. I was feeling chosen.  There was no time to spare. My older sister Nina taught me how to insert a tampon, and off I went to get my hair braided at a salon located in a […]

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