A new collection of criticism and reportage considers Trump, Bellow, and the pleasures of close reading.
The solitude of the voice.
Benjamin as hollow window dressing
If you’ve ever taken a course about modern and contemporary art history, chances are you know that Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd wrote the lively essay “Specific Objects” in 1965. But you may not know that Judd wrote throughout his thirty-five-year career.
With The Seasons in Quincy, filmmakers Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe, and Christopher Roth produce portraits of art critic and novelist John Berger.
“Crude action is required here. Take off that limb, see what’s left.”
One of my favorite books of short fiction from the last few years is Sam Lipsyte’s The Fun Parts. I often assign stories from it in my workshops and have been waiting for an opportunity to teach the whole collection.
“Fiction can be this art object that doesn’t show us anything new about reality, but draws out everything fake.”
“It seems to me that style becomes a kind of crucible—an acid bath in which the self is broken down, producing something unique, something new.”
Deep language, the “silver” figures of literature, and reader as pit canary.
Late one night in the summer of 2002 or 2003, I was in Berlin, having just returned after six months in Paris. Friends told me of a woman I just had to meet, a bartender at Barbie Deinhoff’s.
Translation as visitation. Translating silence, or the inability to translate silence. A word that does not want to be translated. Translation as story. Attempting to translate grief. Translation as unanswered letter to the dead.
In Quartet, multiple conversations become one. Claudia La Rocco, Rashaun Mitchell, Silas Riener & Davison Scandrett muse on the nature of performance during the process of creating Way In.
Ben Ryder Howe speaks about the amazing mind of Charles Newman and how he managed to reconstruct the American avant-gardist’s last novel.
Handzo, a former editor of BOMBlog and a protégé of the recently passed Sarah Charlesworth, remembers his mentor.
Phillip Lopate has had a good year, publishing To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction and Portrait Inside My Head. He spoke with Sharlin about humor, honesty, and his identity as a native New Yorker.
Here is an attractively printed 500-plus-page anthology of “North American Postmodern Pastoral Poetry,” culled from work first published since 1995 and divided into four largely arbitrary piles.