The Forty Days (and 80 Years) of Musa Dagh

Born in Prague in 1890, Franz Werfel lived a peripatetic life as a writer and traveler. He was employed as a teacher in Leipzig and then a soldier in what…

City of the Body

Preocupied with multiculturalism, grounded in urban existence, and resounding with echoes of highbrow European culture, Teju Cole’s debut novel, Open City, would certainly appear messy and pedantic if written by…

Doctorow by Half

Early in All the Time in the World, his third collection of short stories, E.L. Doctorow raises the surprising suggestion that the book might not be worth reading from cover…

No Reason to Get Suspicious

Let’s get this out of the way first: the writing of Paul Legault’s The Other Poems is not beautiful. I’m not sure you can call anything beautiful that features Jean-Paul…

Very Like a Hummingbird

Some things can be fixed by fire, some not. Dearheart, already we’re air. — Dean Young, “Elemental” In her poem “Essay on What I Think About Most,” Anne Carson considers…

The Silence of Spring

Silence is incredibly difficult to portray in writing. Samuel Beckett was famously obsessed with the challenge, and went to enormous lengths to conceive of it. But perhaps it can be…

Jerusalem and Albion; or, Maze and Barleycorn

“the imperfect is our paradise” — Wallace Stevens “God uses broken people to reach a broken world.” — Gov. Rick Perry 1. If There Could Be a Center If there…

America, Goddam

I am an American male of northern European descent. Not terribly handsome, not particularly fit. Reasonably intelligent, unless I’m fooling myself. It’s certainly possible. I was raised in a predominantly…

No Shatner: On Arise and Go!

Projects mixing two genres always face a doubled risk: the alienation of not one, but two core audiences, and a consequently barren existence deep in the canyon between one domain…

Aaron Shurin’s Citizen

Citizen marks Aaron Shurin’s return to the prose poem after fifteen years. His previous verse collection, Involuntary Lyrics, was a re-warping of the woof (as Robert Duncan would put it)…

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