The Generic Life

On POETS IN THEIR YOUTH, a newly republished memoir by Eileen Simpson, John Berryman’s wife.

The Personal and the Believable

Fanny Howe and Shabazz Palaces are strange bedfellows, but this summer their shared orientation helped renew my belief in the world.

Going Viral

Alena Graedon’s THE WORD EXCHANGE and Ben Marcus’ THE FLAME ALPHABET explore the traumatic capacities of language by imagining it is a virus.

Reading Tolkien’s Beowulf and Reliving My Own

Each translator must decide what sacrifices are most acceptable to make, because those sacrifices will define the translation.

David, What Shall I Do?

Amid Midwestern megachurches and half-built subdivisions, my obsession with Bowie was gritted into a secret pearl.

Police Unreality

The police uphold the law in the same sense that a poltergeist upholds a cabinet as it drifts menacingly through the air. Cops don’t uphold the law, they haunt it.

Agents on the Beach

Immerse yourself in work and life, daily writing and editing and analyzing life until the world opens up again and offers details and ideas for the world you’re writing.

Dyer’s Straits

Present throughout Geoff Dyer’s ANOTHER GREAT DAY AT SEA is a desire to be subsumed totally in one subject or task, anything that will obliterate the ego and its demand for a paralyzing abundance of choices.

The Long Game: On the Repression of Ai Weiwei and Jafar Panahi

With their artistic freedom limited, filmmaker Jafar Panahi and artist Ai Weiwei have both taken to testing the boundaries of their censorship.

Dispatches from the Labor Market

While shoveling scoops of Zen Cheddar into brown paper bags, my boss decried Orville Redenbacher and the other scions of big popcorn. It was easy to empathize with the precarious position of my employer.