Channeling Georg Trakl
MARJORIE PERLOFF Fighting Forms by Franz Marc Christian Hawkey Ventrakl Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010. 149pp. Mystery, lyric intensity, strangeness, animism: no poet embodied these qualities more than did the early twentieth-century Austrian poet Georg Trakl. Poor, drug-addicted from an early age, and possibly involved in an incestuous union with his sister Margarete, Trakl enlisted in the...
"We are the tension-collecting animals"
Ray Bradbury, one of the stars of Lisa Jane Persky’s “Skin Deep,” interviewed by the CBC in 1969. (See also the Paris Review’s interview with Bradbury, from the late 70s.)
Lisa Jane Persky Collage © Lisa Jane Persky Ray Bradbury The Illustrated Man William Morrow, 1997 (1951). 288 pp. Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide Harper Perennial, October 2010. 192 pp. Katherine Von Drachenburg The Tattoo Chronicles Harper Design, October 2010. 240 pp. Let me say it right up front: I’ve got a tattoo....
Enter the Elephant
A further stir of the pot. D.G. Myers responds to Mark McGurl’s “The MFA Octopus.” Update: Seth Abramson supplies some hard data.
Sign of the Times
A brief glimpse of the Hollywood sign c. 1930s (with amusingly anachronistic music) to accompany today’s review.
Signs and Wonders
Joy Horowitz Leo Braudy The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon Yale University Press, March 2011. 215 pp. Kevin Starr Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge Bloomsbury Press, July 2010. 215 pp. If you’ve ever tried to get up close and personal with the Hollywood sign, as I did the other day, then you’ve participated in a slightly...
It's Good to Be King
CHRISTOPHER RICE Amygdala © Aaron Bornstein Stephen King Full Dark, No Stars Scribner, November 2010. 384 pp. In the cranky “Afterword” to Full Dark, No Stars, his latest collection of short works (the paperback arrives next week), Stephen King asserts that the four preceding tales are his best attempts to record “what people might actually do, and how they might behave, under certain dire...
The MFA Octopus: Four Questions About Creative...
MARK MCGURL Frank Conroy © Bruce Davidson 1. Why do people hate creative writing programs so much? Well they don’t really, not everyone, or there wouldn’t be so many of them—hundreds. From modest beginnings in Iowa in the 1930’s, MFA programs have spread out across the land, coast to coast, sinking roots in the soil like an improbably invasive species of corn. Now, leaping the oceans,...
Bugged Driving Up and Down
Via Doom and Gloom from the Tomb.
JOCELYN HEANEY Image: Eve Arnold, 1955 From Eve Arnold, Marilyn Monroe (2005) Marilyn Monroe Fragments Edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment Farrar, Straus, Giroux, October 2010. 256 pp. On a summer day in 1955, Marilyn Monroe sits on the edge of a merry-go-round in Amagansett, New York, intently reading the final pages of Ulysses. The tan hardcover creates a somber contrast to...
One Inch above the Ground
MICHAEL TOLKIN Louis Auchincloss A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 203 pp. He dies a few times every week now, and you can read about him in the paid Death Notices in the New York Times. He’s in his late eighties or nineties, born on the East Coast, educated at a famous prep school, then either Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, usually...
Every Force Evolves A Form
Three weeks into our preview site’s existence, we’re still scratching the surface of what we have planned, and of the wealth we’ve amassed from our contributors. Delighted as we are by both the essays we’ve run and the warm response they’ve received, we remain still more excited by the possibilities that are opening up. Pieces like David Shields’ “Life is Short; Art is Shorter” and Richard...
A Malaise Deeper than Shopping
ROB LATHAM Installation Study - War Games by Richard Hamilton J.G. Ballard Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton: An Autobiography Harper Collins, 2008. 288 pp. Kingdom Come Harper Perennial, 2007. 304 pp. The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard W.W. Norton, 2009. 1216 pp. British author J.G. Ballard died on April 19, 2009 of an inoperable cancer that had spread from his prostate to...
Hanging on Sunset Strip
Heart of Stone
GREIL MARCUS Keith Richards © Henry Diltz Courtesy of the photographer. Prints may be purchased through Morrison Hotel Gallery. Keith Richards with James Fox Life Little, Brown, October 2010. 576 pp. The autobiography of Keith Richards—founding guitarist of the Rolling Stones, through the late 1960s and the 1970s at once a notorious and celebrated heroin addict and one of the most dynamic and...
At the LA Times Festival of Books last weekend, we overheard plenty of talk about Jonathan Franzen’s recent New Yorker article. Much of it was pretty damning, suggesting Franzen may have suffered a breakdown in perspective while attempting to braid travel narrative, reflection on David Foster Wallace’s suicide, a thumbnail history of the novel along with a number of other things into...
MATTHEW SPECKTOR says we’re sick of JONATHAN FRANZEN. JOSHUA HARDINA says we’re just afraid of what he’s telling us. Painting by Lisa Jane Persky From photographs by Jakub Mosur and Stuart Ramson Jonathan Franzen Freedom Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2010. 576 pp. MR. SUBLIMATION Matthew Specktor By now we are tired of thinking about Freedom. The book blew...
Saving Folks, Solving Mysteries
MARGARET STOHL Farm Family © William H. Johnson 1940 Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon Zora and Me Candlewick, 2010. 192 pp. “What the grown men to do around these parts if little girls gone be the ones saving folks?” So ask grown men like Mr. Slayton the first time the “mighty deserving” fourth grader Zora acts as a “deputy” to the local Marshal, Joe Clarke, in the mysterious case of Old Lady...