Art

Bookmarks | Almost-Madness in Love & Loss

How to describe the almost-madness of loss? Macdonald uses hawk-taming, Smith "ordinary" poetry about death, and Chapman "Christian love of existence."

'Once in a Great City'

What fascinates Maraniss about Detroit more than its ruin is how central its story is to the broader course of U.S. history—Motown, the local Mob, the auto industry.

'Utopia, Limited'

Anahid Nersessian argues that Romanticism dramatizes the “desirability of constraint.” Her book on how British Romantics imagined "utopia" powerfully does the same.

Last Word: The 4 p.m. Blues

If today the world and the self are devalued, as Walker Percy has suggested, art—particularly the novel— can awaken the reader to their recovery from '4 p.m. blues.'

The Beginning of the End

Judas takes hold of Christ, pressing himself on him: arm, beard, lips. A soldier in gleaming armor goes for Christ’s neck. A young man flees: John the Evangelist.

Poem | El Greco's Evangelist

Paint. Paint the soft lines / of damp cheeks across a canvas. / Paint the deep eyes, the little / hand and the orb. / Splash some color along the curve / of her...

The Year of Lear

You don’t need to be a thespian to appreciate James Shapiro's "Year of Lear"—a brilliant, meticulously researched history of social tensions that inspired the play.

'Purity' by Jonathan Franzen

While Franzen’s natural mode as writer is one of confident high spirits, in "Purity" his view of people is steeped in pessimism, and his characters are miserable.

Letters of James Agee to Father Flye

Spanning almost James Agee's entire lifetime, these letters between author and his priest cover alcohol, God, poetry, childhood, and a “mouthful of sweet potato.”

The Arab Had a Name

Narrated by the nameless victim's brother, Kamal Daoud's novel asks: Did Camus intend to use the Algerian murder victim in 'The Stranger' as a disposable prop?

Poem | Gunflint Lake: Sunset

A fiery sun / made a path toward us / on the rippled water / and scattered pink shavings / over the rest...

Bookmarks | How Racism Speaks

Claudia Rankine’s 'Citizen' and Jeffery Renard Allen’s 'Song of the Shank' both take up the issue of race in America in jagged and beautiful poetry and prose.
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