As Ernesto Cardenal asserts in Incantations, poetry has a wider latitude for power in a culture where it is understood to be "the first speech." It proposes joyfully that what's read this afternoon at the Bowery Poetry Club shares a magical link to this book's poems by illiterate women in Chiapas.
Robert Walser's prose exudes fluorescence, if words on the page can be described as color. His protagonists have such brightly sharpened tastes and manners, and such blindingly astute observational skills that to read their ways of seeing is as enlightening, and at times as painful, as staring into
When the shortlist for this year's National Book Award in poetry was announced, the odds-on favorite, Frederick Seidel's Poems: 1959-2009, was nowhere to be found. Bill Knott raised the alarm on his blog, "Critically acclaimed as the book of the year, and…it's not even on the NBA shortlist—what's
Earlier this decade, prompted by a lawsuit his father was facing, photographer Mitch Epstein returned to his western Massachusetts hometown. Holyoke had become an unfamiliar landscape in the years since he had left as a young man, so he decided to document the changed circumstances of his parents'
Jason Quinn Malott's debut, The Evolution of Shadows, is a devastating, often dizzying novel of returns and turnarounds. Years after war photographer Gray Banick vanishes in Bosnia, his American, English, and Bosnian friends convene in Sarajevo to solve the mystery of his disappearance, a venture
Music has been made by means of technology for nearly as long, if not exactly as long, as music has been made. Except for the voice (as well as the effects of clapping, slapping, and snapping), the sounds we agree to designate as musical rely on the use of tools, whether those tools be sticks,
Did Patricia Highsmith and Susan Sontag ever meet? According to Joan Schenkar's lively biography of the suspense writer, it seems the closest encounter the two ever had was in 1976, during Highsmith's second visit to Berlin, where she heard Allen Ginsberg read his poetry and Sontag present a thirty-page
For all their meticulous attention to the immigrant experience, Ha Jin's books leave little to the imagination. The narrators and characters in A Good Fall, his new story collection featuring a cast of Chinese immigrants, express their feelings and the reasons for them bluntly. "I'd had two girlfriends
How is it that a poet can do almost nothing new in a succession of books and yet still sound utterly awake to the fresh possibilities of language? This is the question that John Ashbery's work has posed for at least the last fifteen years. The criticisms one can make of Planisphere, his twenty-fifth
Anyone who haunts the bins of old photographs at flea markets and junk shops knows both the fascination and the dizzying tedium of wading through images from the vanished world. But Luc Sante, in his collection of some 2,500 "real-photo postcards," has cultivated a sweet spot in photographic history,