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Omnivore

Trump is damaging American democracy

From Vox, 20 of America’'s top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy — they’re scared; and four political scientists are tracking whether Trump is damaging American democracy: So far, the story of Trump’s presidency is dysfunction, not authoritarianism. Trump, the hypocritical imperial president, is on pace to double Obama’s number of executive orders (and more). Daniel Drezner on Donald Trump and the (hopefully) temporary evisceration of political norms. Trump’s attacks on the


Paper Trail

Richard Wilbur—who won two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Book Award and served as the second US Poet Laureate—has died at age ninety-six. In 1957, the poet and critic Randall Jarrell wrote that Wilbur’s poem “A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra” was “one of the most marvelously beautiful, one of the most nearly perfect

Syllabi

Women in Rock (Criticism)

Quinn Moreland Rock criticism has long been kind to a certain species of (male) character: wannabe experts who are prone to ranting and/or raving and proudly displaying their knowledge of niche subjects. It’s hard

Daily Review

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Faulkner had Yoknapatawpha County and Jesmyn Ward has Bois Sauvage—neither real, both true. Faulkner reimagined Lafayette County, in the northern half of Mississippi, while Ward has used Bois Sauvage in three novels to stand in for the small towns of the Mississippi Gulf

Interviews

Andrew Durbin

Over the past few years, I’ve heard Andrew Durbin read a handful of times from material that would comprise his debut novel, MacArthur Park, Blushing, he’d rush through the reading, his anxious timbre at odds with the confidently intelligent voice of his prose, Named for Donna Summer’s 1978 hit song, the novel is a series of snapshots, a scrapbook of scenes following a voyeuristic narrator, Nick (who, like Durbin, is a writer—a poet, obsessed with death, distracted by sex—and a lover of contemporary art) as he travels to dance clubs in Brooklyn, an artists’ residency upstate, the Tom of Finland Foundation, the Madonna Inn, the Pines in Fire Island, and the Heath in London, all the while trying to explain this book, the book he’s trying to write, to everyone he meets.

Conversation

A Broken Story: Jenny Erpenbeck's Refugee Novel

John Domini

Overseas, Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest novel has carried her to fresh levels of acclaim. She’s won not only the Thomas Mann Prize, in her native Germany, but also Italy’s Strega Europeo, something of a Booker for the Continent. Now the book is out in this country, under the title Go, Went, Gone, and though Erpenbeck’s four previous have won critical esteem—the New York Review of Books deemed her last novel “ferocious as well as virtuosic”—here,

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