Toward the Indestructible: Sergio Chejfec

  Lovers of prose in these image-dominated times have no greater ally than W.G. Sebald. His four books demonstrate that long works of prose—whether they’re called a “long essay,” a…

Vegan Foie Gras (A How-to)

The book is dying. The publishing industry is in decline. Or so we’re told by countless newspaper and magazine articles. Yet a glance at the bestseller lists makes one wonder:…

Give Me the Key

Now in his 80th year, Geoffrey Hill has followed the Yeats template for the septuagenarian poet: though he could easily rest his reputation on his work of thirty or even…

The Angel and the Ass

Our word sonnet comes from the Italian sonetto — little song — but what we generally mean by the term is a fourteen-line poem governed by fixed patterns of rhyme…

With William Dean Howells to Florence

For the modern traveler, the road often leads to Florence. From a cruise ship moored in Livorno, it’s possible to inspect the Duomo, buy some souvenirs on the Ponte Vecchio,…

Skin-Deep: Raymond Roussel’s New Impressions of Africa

Let me begin with a story from my own experience, one that came to mind when I read Raymond Roussel’s New Impressions of Africa. A group of young poets, mostly…

Guns at the Staff Meeting

Set in 2002, James Warner’s debut novel All Her Father’s Guns is foremost a satire of today’s post-capitalist society, particularly two of its central (seemingly discreet) institutions: academia and corporations….

Meeting the Body in the Body of Language: Notes on Character in Carver, Stein, and Holland

To Introduce “My friend Mel McGinnis was talking. Mel McGinnis is a cardiologist, and sometimes that gives him the right.” —Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”…

All That Remains: On the Fiction of John Hawkes

In a recent interview, Ben Marcus resisted being called an “experimental writer,” asking rather impatiently, “Does anyone self-identify as experimental? Anyone?” Apparently Marcus is not much aware of his predecessor,…

In Pursuit of the Debutant

What to make of Stephen Sturgeon after reading his first book of poetry, Trees of the Twentieth Century? Sturgeon, the debutant? Sturgeon, the first major poet of his generation? Sturgeon, producer…

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