All posts by LARB Blog

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The Politics of Optimism

By Kate Jenkins

On the night of the election, I’m embarrassed now to admit, I wore the white uniform so many women donned in honor of the suffragettes: white t-shirt, white jeans, white sneakers, topped off with a vintage fur and red lipstick, because I was expecting a party, after all. I arrived at a women’s event space at around 9:45, just a commercial break or two before the future came into focus, and left at about 10. I wanted to be alone. I biked home fast, standing up out of the seat the whole way, tears streaming behind me in the wind. Continue reading

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For The Future of the Truth: An Excerpt from Nothing Ever Dies

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

As a Gook, in the eyes of some, I can testify that being remembered as the other is a dismembering experience, what we can call a disremembering. Disremembering is not simply the failure to remember. Disremembering is the unethical and paradoxical mode of forgetting at the same time as remembering, or, from the perspective of the other who is disremembered, of being simultaneously seen and not seen. Disremembering allows someone to see right through the other, an experience rendered so memorably by Ralph Ellison in the opening pages of Invisible Man. Continue reading

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We Wish You Great Harm

By Dan Sinykin

I listened to Barack Obama’s first inaugural address on a bus, in the desert, in Israel, while jets flew overhead to bomb the Gaza Strip. I was with 35 other American Jews and a half-dozen Israeli soldiers. Next to me sat Amit, who had, not a week earlier, killed Palestinians as part of the ground siege in Gaza. “It’s not like I looked them in the face,” he told me. “We were all shooting.” To avoid nightmares, he hadn’t been sleeping. “When I close my eyes,” he said, “I see things.” Yet he carried himself lightly, had perceptive eyes, a kind face. Continue reading

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Dreaming of Uncommon Languages: An Interview with Poet Jordi Alonso and Illustrator Phoebe Carter

By Lauren Kessler

I met Jordi Alonso at a writers’ conference in New York in the summer of 2013. At the time, he was working on a series of erotic poems inspired by the Greek poet Sappho that would become his first book, Honeyvoiced, published by XOXOX Press. Jordi studied literary translation and poetry at Kenyon College, where he graduated with an AB in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing, in the spring of 2014. He went on to receive his MFA from SUNY Stony Brook, where he was the Turner Fellow in Poetry, and today he is a PhD candidate and a Gus T. Ridgel Fellow at the University of Missouri. Continue reading

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America, America

By Jonathan Kirshner

Appalled by the state of affairs, realizing the greatness and the nearness of the danger . . . and thinking, as men are apt to think in great crises, that when all had been done they still have something left to do, and when all had been said they have not said enough, again called on the captains one by one . . . he reminded them of their country, the freest of the free, and of the unfettered discretion allowed to all in it to live as they pleased.” [Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, 7.69.2] Continue reading

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Where to Start Reading Translated Korean Literature

By Charles Montgomery

Because I write a website on Korean literature in translation, people often email me with questions (often questions I am completely unqualified to answer!), far and away most often asking, “I’m interested in Korean literature. What book should I read?” This that would have been hard enough to answer 20 years ago, when the broad outline of Korean fiction was much simpler, and has become nearly impossible question to answer today. Continue reading

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Me on Remnick on Trump

By Pete Tosiello

Last month, Ad Age named David Remnick its Editor of the Year, in an announcement which simultaneously recognized his veritable organ, the New Yorker, as Magazine of the Year. The 91-year-old weekly was praised for its embrace of social media, podcasts, and a mostly-successful paywall strategy. The distinction was no doubt a bittersweet one for the Editor-in-chief, who during the election cycle found time between his stewardship of the New Yorker Radio Hour and lengthy writing on Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to become one of the media establishment’s most vocal critics of Donald Trump. Continue reading