Books

Catastrophe

Jerome Rothenberg was born in America in 1931. That year, 1931, also marks the beginning of the poet’s parallel, imaginative, investment in the Central European world of his parents, a world that had ceased to exist by the time Rothenberg had moved from babe to boy.

“Life is Short, Reading is Long”

In the early 1960’s Milan Kundera, a recent émigré from Czechoslovakia living as an exiled intellectual in Paris, discovers first hand the inescapable tidal force literature exerts over national consciousness and personal identity.

“Not Yet”: On the novels of Kenneth Fearing

In these times, we are constantly assaulted with news so monotonously predictable that it cannot possibly be true. The war goes on. Corruption rules. The economy teeters.

In Conversation

Peter Selgin with Lisa Kunik

Lisa Kunik (Rail): Peter, you criticize writing in which the ego takes over, trying to impress the reader with literary gymnastics—a common pitfall of aspiring writers. With so much published fiction out there that does just that, why do you advise against it?

Nonfiction: Writing as Warfare

Mainstream culture—of both the right and the so-called left—has largely succeeded in ironing the wrinkles out of the written word.

Memoir: Hunting Easter’s Eggs

In Easter Everywhere, a spiritual memoir, Darcey Steinke examines the contrasts between the earthly and religious. One can imagine why she might be so inclined. Her mother is a beauty queen; her father, a minister.

Nonfiction: Lynching Darkness

A David Lynch “celebrity memoir” would be a blasphemous contradiction in terms. How could a filmmaker build a career on disturbingly irreducible abstractions and succeed—in Hollywood, no less—then turn around and buy into such a decadent genre?

Disruptive Behavior: Elaine Equi’s Ripple Effect

Elaine Equi releases the enormous potential energy of irreverence in Ripple Effect, her brilliant collection of new and previously published poems, as she assumes a poetic voice that simultaneously embraces and mocks poetic appropriation.

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APR 2007

All Issues