Almost Everyone Was Mistaken: On Secrets, Light, and the Lyric Imagination

By Kristina Marie Darling

In his essay collection Ozone Journal, Peter Balakian defines “shadow” as a “force that follows something with fidelity” only to “cast a dark light” on that person, object, view, or perspective. For Balakian, this fraught proximity — a closeness that blocks the line of vision — is one of the most essential characteristics of a work of art. After all, it is what we sense, but do not yet see, that beckons us farther into a half-lit room. The careful architecture of a poem — a space that is gradually illuminated for the reader — depends upon all that is hidden as a necessary condition, much more so than the visible beauty or significance of a particular image. Continue reading

Consumerism Is Culture: a Visit to Korea’s Lotte Department Store

By Stefano Young

Stefano Young didn’t know the difference between Korea, China, and Japan until he was 23 — but then he met a Korean woman, learned to say “사랑해요,” and has studied Korean language and culture ever since. In this occasional series, the Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog presents his essays on his ever-deepening experiences with Korean life, culture, and family. Links to previous installments appear at the bottom of the post. Continue reading

Total Junk Rubbing Up Against Glorious, Gorgeous Lyricism: Talking to Daniel Kane

By Andy Fitch

This present conversation (transcribed by Phoebe Kaufman) focuses on Daniel Kane’s Do You Have a Band?”: Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City. More than once, I have picked up a Daniel Kane book and realized he somehow had anticipated just what I (and many poets, scholars, artists I know) would most want to read about. “Do You Have a Band?” certainly falls into that category, as did All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s (University of California Press, 2003), and We Saw the Light: Conversations Between the New American Cinema and Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2010). Kane is Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Sussex. My admiration for his own interview work made this particular talk a particular pleasure. Continue reading

Gazelle in Gaza

By Joanna Chen

Last week, Facebook reminded me that I have been friends with a certain poet for three years. Facebook likes to do things like this, because it reinforces the illusion that we are not alone in this universe, but there are no photos of the two of us together on the short video that popped up in my feed — just one photo of me, and one of the poet, in a room with what looks like a high, wooden ceiling, wearing a cap with the words “New York” written across it. I can’t tell where this photo was taken, but I know where my photo was taken — in an alleyway of Jaffa, by photographer Heidi Levine. The poet I am friends with is looking down; I am looking straight into the camera, and I remember feeling terribly self-conscious at the time the photo was taken. Continue reading

Meet the LARB China Channel Team, Part 5 — A Q&A with Academic Editor Eileen Cheng-yin Chow

This is the fifth in our BLARB series made up of interviews with some of the people who will be playing key roles in the soon-to-launch LARB China Channel. This week’s Q&A is with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, who has, like some other interviewees, worked as both a writer and a translator—in her case, in one very high profile case, also as a co-translator, of the bestselling Yu Hua novel Brothers. She also has two institutional homes, which I’ll ask her about, one at Duke and another in Taipei. JW  Continue reading