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In Conversation

RUDOLPH HERZOG with Karen Rester

Hitler and Goering are standing atop the radio tower in Berlin. Hitler says, “I’d like to do something for the Berliners to put a smile on their faces.” Goering says, “Why don’t you jump?” In the summer of 1943 Marianne K. was executed in Berlin for telling this joke.

The 2011 NYC Anarchist Book Fair

In the balcony of Judson Memorial Church, a young blonde moderator from SupportNY, dressed all in black, gripped the mic and spoke to a rapt audience in a horseshoe of folding chairs.

On Elegance While Sleeping

 “I understand literary strategies well and they nauseate me,” the Argentine author, Viscount Lascano Tegui wrote. His first book On Elegance While Sleeping, published in 1925, contains hardly any “literary strategies”; instead, it works on a basic convention, the faux diary.

The Craigslist Murders: A Satire

Brenda Cullerton’s The Craigslist Murders: A Satire is a fun metasatire, mocking the books that mock all supposedly shallow, rich urbanites. “Look at how crazy rich people are! Look at all this crap they buy! See how detached they are from reality?!

Lovelorn and Love Worn

Despair, one of Emily Dickinson’s cherished words, is also one that is easily applied to Robert Steiner’s Negative Space. It is a short novel consisting of long paragraphs, but these blocks of text contain a fine music: a man’s summation of the night his wife of 20 years left him for another man.

School of Thought

Randall Brown is the director of the MFA in Writing program at Rosemont College. Hidden on an obscure campus over a century old we find innovation. The program is one of the few in the country to offer instruction on the version of the short story known as flash fiction.

The Weather Ahead

So far 2011 has been host to an unnerving sequence of “black swan events.” We have witnessed revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the Gaddafi regime’s assault on its own people, and a horrific earthquake that rocked Japan and set into motion a gruesome nuclear crisis.

Danny Boyle In His Own Words

Danny Boyle: in His Own Words is the latest in Faber and Faber’s “Directors on Directors” series. The book is broken into chapters, each—in interview format—covering one of Boyle’s nine films.


Much of Wingshooters is told from the flat, stunned voice of a child/woman looking back at a time of life when her America disappoints, over and over and over.

A Micro House of One's Own

The experience of thumbing through Micro Green took me straight back to a recent summer vacation in Copenhagen. Like other tourists, I visited Christiania, the infamous hashed-out hippie haven in Copenhagen that’s dotted with green, micro, organic, sustainable, reclaimed dwellings on its 85 acres in the heart of the city.

Exquisite Corpses

What lay in front of us was a headless body; fully clothed, but headless. Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to pull back the top of the body bag to see what other injuries this poor individual had sustained. Resting between his knees lay his motorbike helmet…‘Where’s his head?’ I asked.

Rapid Transit

Rimbaud famously proposed the “systematic derangement” of the senses to find the unknown. That was his prescription for liberating language. The consequent writings are what make us “modern,” the translator John Ashbery declares in his foreward.

Zen and the Art of Psycho-Oncology

Growing up on Flatlands Avenue as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Mindy Greenstein used to hang out on her Brooklyn stoop on shabbos, hoping to catch one of the collisions that made her traffic light–free intersection famous.

POETRY: The Sublime in the Middle Ages

A new translation of some landmark Anglo-Saxon poems has arrived: Curious Masonry, translated by Christopher Patton. It does not matter if poems are old or new, or whatever the language: All poetry is a real or imagined flare-up of being.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2011

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