Film & Arts

Icons of Devastation

Celan’s work has prompted an often reverential critical response. But his poetry is always difficult and sometimes agonizing; reading it provides no easy pleasures.

'Irrational Man'

You won't see a movie more carefully premeditated than Allen's latest, which is too much like a machine, its characters more like well-oiled gears than human beings.


The footage once used to exploit the Winehouse miseries have been carefully sequenced by director Asif Karpadia so that they bring her humanity home to the viewer.

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.

Poem | Aunt Grace Wears Beautiful Clothes

Asleep, she has no idea she is old. // She’s running uphill, no lightfoot, but quite fast / past the houses and driveways of family friends / toward the higher...

The Wisdom of the Beguines

Swan’s book does a good job of explaining both the beguines’ spiritual practices in the context of their own times and how their continuing legacy affects us today.

Harper Lee Leaves the Club

Even if her new novel gives us pleasure, shouldn't we be able to remember Harper Lee as a member of one of the most unusual groupings in literary history?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.

An Unlikely Union

Paul Moses's history of Irish-Italian relations in 19th century New York delves into the causes for "race war" between the immigrant groups and how they overcame it.

'James Merrill: Life and Art'

Langdon Hammer's biography of poet and writer James Merrill is "wholly definitive" in scope, and threaded throughout with Merrill’s brilliant, always enlivening wit.

Runyon's Way

If you ask me, being a writer is a little like falling in love. No matter how uncomplicated it seems at the start, it is always complicated. The trick is to persist.

'San Andreas' & 'Love and Mercy'

Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson is the perfect hero in an epic account of an earthquake that ravages California; Bill Pohlad studies Brian Wilson’s musical perfectionism.
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Book Reviews

False Friends

November 30, 2015 | 4 comments

Letter from Rome

November 25, 2015 | 1 comment

Is Bernie Sanders a New Deal Liberal?

November 24, 2015 | 2 comments

Keeping the Books

November 23, 2015 | 5 comments


November 23, 2015 | 2 comments

Catching Up & Passing On

November 23, 2015 | 2 comments

Let's Not Defeat Ourselves

November 23, 2015 | 0 comments

After Paris

November 17, 2015 | 7 comments