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Bayard Rustin’s Life in Struggle

Bayard Rustin, best known for organizing the 1963 March on Washington, was not only one of the most intelligent political strategists and tacticians in 20th century American history, but he was also the most interesting. John D’Emilio’s Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin is the most recent attempt to understand Rustin’s remarkable career as a social activist.

Keeping Verse Alive

An exhaustion lately creeps over American readers of contemporary lyric poetry. Jerked for decades between stylistic poles of experimental and workshop/confessional verse, we persevere, keeping a sharp ear tuned for the real sound of our language, for the beat.

Gorky, Inside and Out

Hayden Herrera’s Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work is the latest in a long line of biographies of the artist. This biography’s weaknesses are necessary for its strengths: it is lengthy, the narrative is often dry, and it suffers from a lack of formal analysis of the art.

When We Lived on Dreams

In a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1952, a young student of American history in the graduate program at Columbia University had an encounter with a painting that changed the direction of his life. As he describes the event, Irving Sandler tells us in his memoir that he suddenly "got" what painting is about looking at Franz Kline’s 1950 painting "Chief." More accurately, perhaps, Franz Kline’s painting got him: "It was the first work of art I really saw, …Or, put another way, ‘Chief’ began my life-in-art, the life that has really counted for me."

Off The Shelves

Martin Amis, Yellow Dog (Miramax Books, 2003) Kaylie Jones, Speak Now (Akashic Books, 2003) Victoria Sanford, Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) Bruce Schneier, Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World (Copernicus Books, 2003) Lutz Kleveman, The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia (Grove Atlantic, 2003) Mike Marqusee, Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan’s Art (New Press, 2003) Hannah Higgins, Fluxus Experience, (University of California Press, 2003)

The Rail Recommends…

Theodore Hamm (Editor): I’m digging Living to Tell the Tale, translated by Edith Grossman (Knopf), particularly for the magic of Marquez’s melancholy Marxism. The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq (Seven Stories/ Akashic) is an excellent takedown by the Alternet crew. Matthew Sharpe’s new novel The Sleeping Father (Soft Skull) makes me feel the pain of growing up in Connecticut, even though I was raised elsewhere.

In Conversation

Arnaldo Correa with Nicholas Shumaker

Since the bearded ones claimed Havana, Arnaldo Correa has been penning stories of the mysteries of the Revolution and Fidel Castro’s diplomatic battles with the United States. Born in the Escambray mountains east of Havana in 1933, Correa spent his university years in Alabama and traveled throughout the U.S. After finishing his studies, he worked in Angola and Mozambique on economic development projects. All the while, he continued to write. His short stories have been lauded by Castro, and read throughout Latin America

The Writer’s Craft… of Making a Living

Patricia Geary never meant to be a science fiction writer. But when her editor at Bantam Books got into a personal dispute with the head of the department, she suddenly became one.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 03-JAN 04

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