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Letters from Robots

When I say Diana Salier’s poetry is really meant for Twitter, I don’t mean it as an insult. There’s like over a hundred million people on Twitter, and if poetry is the practice of yelling at the top of your lungs about what it means to be human (I say it is), why not yell it to a hundred million people instead of 20 at a reading in a bar or at best, a hundred, if you’re lucky and you get someone to publish your book?

In Conversation

ARACELIS GIRMAY with Melinda Cardozo

Kingdom Animalia, the second book of poetry by Aracelis Girmay, begins where Teeth (Curbstone Books, 2007) left off. Its gentle movements between all scales of devastation and absorbing, tenable visions of hope as a relation—linguistic, bodily, historical—also, perhaps improbably, takes Darwin’s Origin of Species as a point of departure.

In Conversation

JONATHAN GALASSI with Adam Fitzgerald

Since the late 1980s Jonathan Galassi has been editor-in-chief, President, and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one of the premier publishing houses based in New York City. But Galassi’s life in letters is even more storied and accomplished.

Just Try Quitting Hollywood

What’s eating Ardennes Thrush? An award-winning actress, she’s worked relentlessly to get where she is in Hollywood—and then she quits. Right when the world becomes her oyster, Ardennes clams up. She spends her time ruminating in a hotel room while her husband, a famous director, is out on location struggling to keep his most recent project on track.

Life is Crappy, But What Are You Going to Do, Right?

A fundamental argument of a particular type of fiction is that life is crappy. Scott Wrobel’s story collection Cul de Sac is a first-rate defense of this perennial thesis.

Chaos, Control

In this monograph’s opening essay, Claudia Schmuckli, director of the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery which organized the exhibition, ably situates Feher’s work in the context of Minimalist strategies—seriality, symmetry, and geometric forms—while letting the artist speak for himself about his process: “I accumulate items, some quite intentionally, and some rather haphazardly.

Space Oddity

The Infinite Tides opens with mathematical genius Keith Corcoran arriving aboard the International Space Station, where “the swing of the hatch felt…like a sudden outrushing of the tide.” In fulfilling his lifelong ambition of becoming an astronaut, Corcoran’s amazement at his own achievement is palpable.

Minding the Gap

Julie Choffel and Michelle Naka Pierce, both recipients of this year’s Poets Out Loud award, imbue their work with binaries of meaning, multi-perspective angles, a dissonance of language, and an inherent human longing that is akin to people talking separately at the same time­­­­—each of us missing the texture.

Here Comes A Regular

Nabokov once said that to call a story true was an insult to both truth and art. He was discussing the genesis of literature beginning with the boy who cried wolf, i.e. the difference between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall tale, and that between the two is the art of literature.

Plaisir, Pain

Lovers, Daniel Arsand’s newly-translated novella, is a fever dream of romance. Set in the decades before the French Revolution, this story of two boys in love is emotional but not psychological—we know what the characters feel, but not why they feel it.

Steel Driving Man

The Competition Bicycle, a recently reissued book of bicycle photography and racing history by Jan Heine and Jean-Pierre Pradéres, suggests that past experiments in bicycle design are part innovation and part novelty, and that a search for linear progression is almost beside the point.

Games of France

Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature provides an immersive and enjoyable account of what is either a literary paradise (if you like that sort of thing) or a complicated hell (if you don’t). The Oulipo, whose name is an acronym for the French ouvroir de littérature potentielle, was founded in 1960 by writer Raymond Queneau and engineer François Le Lionnais, who together perfectly embodied the aims of the group

It's All in Your Head

Brian Evenson’s Windeye begins with the collection’s eponymous story, a tale that moves from the innocence of childhood imagination to the stark realities of a very adult mental illness.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2012

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