Books

In Conversation

KIRI BLAKELEY with Alyssa Pinsker

Kiri Blakeley was a journalist for Forbes Magazine. Her debut memoir, Can’t Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love (Citadel Press, 2011), is a New York true-love story of heartbreak and deceit. Her book recounts the year after she found out that her fiancé and boyfriend of 10 years was cheating on her with men.

Complete Cosmicology

Italo Calvino, as everyone knows, launched writing his career as a realist—or rather, as an Italian working in the immediate aftermath of World War II, a neo-realist. Soon frustrated by the limitations of that aesthetic, the story goes, he took new inspiration from fantasy, fable, and folklore—as he would later from Oulipian experimentalism—and turned himself into a very different sort of writer.

From Whatever Was Left of Their Authentic Selves

A secluded island; a reality TV show. Seven long weeks and 10 contestants determined to do whatever it takes to prevail. Each blink of an eye, the subtlest gesture is recorded on countless cameras; in post-production, the footage is instantaneously cross-referenced to a dizzying array of digitally catalogued parameters and edited or enhanced according to a storyline-in-progress.

Rose Alley

Cinematic history is littered with screenplays that never took off, films halted midstream because of exorbitant production costs, and projects derailed by Machiavellian producers and directors or megalomaniacal actors. Many of these ill-fated films were simply stored away to anonymously languish in a vault—some released years later to satisfy researchers, aficionados, and completists.

Bartleby, At Bat

Most readers are suspicious of wholesale appropriation, of one writer entering into and occupying another writer’s “original” narrative, summarily claiming something akin to squatter’s rights.

Bummer, Defined

The stories of Janice Shapiro’s debut collection, Bummer, are told in a voice so natural and earnest, in sentences that so resemble the searching way we speak, you may just forget you’re reading a book.

Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littín

The chronicle, or crónica, as it is known in Spanish, has a long and rich history in Latin America, from the conquistadores until present. National patriots like Cuban Jose Marti and Colombian Rafael Nariño, labored as much in verse and politics as they did honing their journalistic skills.

Stamps and Beats

I started reading The Letters as Peter Orlovsky, poet and longtime lover of Allen Ginsberg, was dying in a hospice in Vermont on May 30, 2010, and began writing this review after his memorial at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery two months later.

Poetica

Wigleaf literary journal publisher Scott Garson has written a book of flash fiction, American Gymnopedies (Cow Heavy Books). In minute detail, Garson writes of “windblown drizzle,” bringing his unique gifts of perception to the page.

Lethal Warriors

In Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, David Philipps examines the development and consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on soldiers.

Obsessive Compulsive

A man and a beautiful woman are killed when a taxi veers off an autobahn in Vienna. The victims are both Albanian immigrants, and the last thing the driver can remember before crashing is that, from his rearview mirror, it looked like they were about to kiss.

RAPID TRANSIT: A Final Kiss To 2010

“Silk on silk” is how Jimmy Schuyler sounds in Other Flower: Uncollected Poems from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. The “poetry and fragments had been idly waiting” to be found by James Meetze who worked with Simon Pettet to put this collection together. While understandably uneven, the substantial addition to Schuyler’s canon is a joy.

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FEB 2011

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