Harold Bloom on Alvin Feinman

On the publication of Feinman's Collected Poems

Cynthia Cruz on Tina Chow’s Articulate Silence

The beginning of a possible means, a language, to speak about Tina Chow and her life.

Words and Flesh: Carmen Firan on the American Soul

“The dictatorship seemed permanent. To keep our sanity we only had words…”

Ian Ganassi on Bakhtin, Freud, and South Park

Violent, absurd, offensive: South Park captures our era of disinhibition.

Ellene Glenn Moore on Memory & the Presence of the Poet

“Does my presence in my own poems suffocate the reader?”

Chris Timmons on the Enigma of James Brown

A review of James McBride's Kill ’Em and Leave


Conversations: Rion Amilcar Scott and Bro. Yao

Rion Amilcar Scott I’ve attempted many times to render as fiction my first conversation with Hoke Glover III (or Bro. Yao as many know him). Such a scene has always…

Feinman 300 dpi

Harold Bloom on Alvin Feinman’s Self-limiting Transcendence

I first met Alvin Feinman in September 1951, the day before I encountered another remarkable young man who also became a life-long friend, Angus Fletcher. Alvin was twenty-two, a year…

Andy Warhol's portrait of Tina Chow

Tina Chow’s Articulate Silence

Tina Chow’s Kyoto and Saturn bracelets I was exuberant when I first imagined writing this essay. I have been obsessed with Tina Chow for years. When asked why, I was…

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Words and Flesh: Observations on the American Soul

When you land in the United States, you can observe from a distance the world you are supposed to enter. For more than thirty years I lived in the opaque…


Something in My Pocket: Bakhtin, Freud, and South Park

  South Park is obscenely violent, purposely grotesque, it holds nothing sacred, it is racist, sexist, homophobic as well as heterophobic, and abuses people of every political and demographic persuasion,…


It Sang Itself Utterly Away: the Presence of the Poet

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with memory. Maybe I shouldn’t say lately, because I’ve always been obsessed with memory—mostly my own memories. One second I am brushing my teeth and the…

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Land of Masks: the Enigma of James Brown

“Lemme tell you something, Rev. When you kill’em, Rev, you leave. You kill’em and leave. You understand that, son? Kill’em and leave.” —James Brown to a young Al Sharpton  …


Home: 9 LGBTQ Writers Reflect after Orlando

Contributors: Scott Esposito, Rooze Garcia, Gabriel Garcia Ochoa, Melissa Febos, Jill McDonough, H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, Mary Meriam, Annie Won, and Hannah Baker-Siroty. Editor’s Note We at The Critical Flame shared…


Conversations: Laura Ellen Scott and Amber Sparks

Amber Sparks and Laura Ellen Scott are two fiction writers with powerful, parallel voices. The two corresponded throughout May, bridging the distance with a discussion of the performative side of…

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I Had to Cut It Down: An Experiment in Destructive Criticism

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. —Ralph Waldo Emerson The role of the critic is the topic de jour, in part because of the smart and…

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