No poem in the preceding decade captured the spirit of the times more than Frederick Seidel’s “December.” The product of a Faustian pact, it fixed itself in a fiendish dialectic, a self-canceling logic that likewise trapped the reader like a dying fly — in the politics of the War on Terror, in the axiomatic hell of the Bush presidency. At the beginning of the new decade, we began to see the fuller, clearer expression of an anger stemming from the early 2000s, specifically from the fallout of Hurricane Katrina. Works like Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split and Thomas Sayers Ellis’ Skin Inc.: Identity Repair Poems, in different ways, began to reshape the possibilities of American poetry. Now, halfway through the 2010s, we find ourself in a much more variegated American scene. And that change is both welcome and necessary. Below, you’ll find an admittedly idiosyncratic cross section of American poetry from 2010 to today, one that should open an aperture onto the prospects of a cautiously flourishing… Read More
Hell’s Kitchen. Hell Gate. Richard Hell. The signs (and wonders) are everywhere. Abandon all hope: New York City is a living Hell of renegade capital, exploited labor, racial hatred, institutional misogyny, and bodega cats. You must say goodbye.
Or is it a neoliberal paradise, imperfect yet lovable, where capital and culture and rats roam free?
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Today marks the 97th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — a novel that has come to epitomize the journey of the angsty artist on the threshold of becoming. If you never grow tired of reading about isolated figures turning their backs on family dysfunction, religious oppression, and social burdens in the wake of individual consciousness, head past the break. Here are ten other books that explore the interiority of creative passion, unbridled youth, and artistic evolution.
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Today marks the release of one of the most long-awaited novels in recent memory: Donna Tartt’s third novel, the glorious, sprawling, Dickens-esque romp The Goldfinch. The book is backboned by its eponymous painting, and much concerned with art of all kinds, so to celebrate its release, and to suggest a little artistic inspiration for those who’ve already read it (or will have in about three days), we’ve put together a list of 50 books for artists: to inspire, to entertain, to shake up the system. Some of these books are about visual art, some are visual art in themselves, some just strike us as the kind of thing that might keep an artist up at… Read More
New York is a paradise for book lovers. You’ve got the rich literary history stemming back to the founding of our country, big-time magazines named after our city like The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, over a hundred really important writers living here, and tons of literary journals and blogs popping up from Crown Heights to Harlem.
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In the course of creating our list of New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers, we reached out to a few of said figures to ask them a couple questions, including the query of the hour: “How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?” We got a lot of responses — some quippy, some heartfelt, some sad, some glad (it’s true), and more than one with a theory on Roth’s true plans, which any of you in mourning will be glad to attach yourselves to. See what writers like Junot Díaz, Gay Talese, A.M. Homes and Gary Shteyngart had to say about the great man’s retirement after the jump — and if you’re so inclined, share your own, less famous feelings in the comments.
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Exploring lesbian identity, Catherine Opie delves into her archive of unprinted black-and-white images of girlfriends to uncover portraits that complement her recent color photographs of butch-dykes, both famous and unknown. Shot from the heart, Opie’s powerful images include Madonna and Angelina Jolie’s ex-girlfriend Jenny Shimizu in black leather boots on a white bed; sultry singer k.d. lang with a guitar strung over her shoulder on a country road; author Eileen Myles sitting atop a stool in a plaid shirt; The L Word‘s Katherine Moennig blowing smoke rings; and Le Tigre’s JD Samson sporting a stache. On view at New York’s Barbara Gladstone Gallery through April 24, Opie’s portraits are both insightful and intriguing.
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Eileen Myles exists somewhere outside of neat binaries. We know her as a legendary queer poet and novelist, a respected professor, and a one-time presidential candidate. In this book, she shows us yet another side of herself — that of art critic and travel journalist. Myles’ latest work combines broad, universal experiences with a pinpointed mapping of gay and lesbian art-intelligentsia; a large portion of these essays offers up personal and continually relevant analysis of her friends, including Allen Ginsberg, Sadie Benning, James Schuyler, and Jill Johnston. Myles also witnesses the brilliant art spectacle of Björk in concert and interviews Daniel Day… Read More