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Guest Critic

A Tree With Roots

When Phong Bui asked me to edit the Critics Page of the Brooklyn Rail I felt I could not refuse, since it’s the only art magazine I read anymore. Ezra Pound said culture is news that stays news, and for me the Brooklyn Rail is the news.

Rene Ricard
(1946 – 2014)

Growing up in Lowell, Mass., I often took the train to Boston to visit Gordon Cairnie’s Grolier Poetry Bookshop in Harvard Square, hoping to encounter an authentic poet.

Massachusetts Avenue

Walking along the beach road at sunset with the, to me, heart-breaking foliage—beach plums, bayberry, ineffably pink dog roses that fall apart if you try to pick them, etc...


So this is reality too, come in / and now you’re here, all swept / up for you the floor shiny / and our wonderful pal, the / antelope clatters its little hooves / on the floor to eat from your / hand, all the pictures / you love on the walls and / your favorite books read

Introducing Eric Walker

Raised in the redwood forests of Northern California, Eric Walker turned up in San Francisco at the age of 15, his poetic identity very much intact. He believed he was the reincarnation of Arthur Rimbaud—hard to deny when confronted with the astonishing flow of words and images, not to mention his stunning physical beauty.

In Conversation

WILL EPSTEIN with Marshall Yarbrough

Will Epstein’s music doesn’t fit neatly inside any genre. Performing solo as High Water, as a trio with Bladerunner, and alongside frequent collaborators Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, Epstein draws on a diverse array of influences, from John Coltrane and John Zorn on the one hand to contemporary hip-hop production and Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music on the other.

from Hoodo Metaphysics

like “El” Ron Hubbard / steal a big yacht or 2nd hand / battleship sail round the world / non-stop w/ crew of besotted / brainwashed cult-slave sailors

In Conversation

Shiv Mirabito on Shivastan Publishing

Since its start in 1997 Shivastan Publishing has produced over 50 chapbooks and broadsides, on hand-made Nepalese papers on a press in Kathmandu, including most recently the ravishing collaboration between Chris Martin and Peter Lamborn Wilson, Opium Dens I Have Known.

In Conversation

HENRY THREADGILL AND JASON MORAN with George Grella and Raymond Foye

Jazz, at its best and most essential, is a way of making music that is embodied in the musicians, in what they are imagining and playing in the moment. A fundamentally oral tradition, and one of the most sophisticated of its kind, jazz is far less ably served by written and recorded documents than almost any other kind of creative human activity. Jazz is the players; know jazz by following them, seeing them, hearing them.

“It’s a glorious thing if you don’t expect an explanation.”
Jordan Belson on his Art

When I lived in San Francisco (1977 – 79) the person I most wanted to meet (after Bob Kaufman) was Jordan Belson. But he had already become quite a famous recluse and all attempts were rebuffed.


fantastic tangle of minatory tubes / subject to pressures of mind— / tensions and distensions of a world release / radical interrupts in chaos itself

In Conversation

PHILIP TAAFFE with Charles Stein

Since the 1980s Phillip Taaffe has been forging a distinct visual language of density and delight, mining the history of forms to create layered, optically charged paintings.

The Liberation of the Knots

Not merely an Amandla for Mandela / welcoming him into the house / of the heart, but in these mandalas / Philip Taaffe has created from / his immersion in love for India—


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 14-JAN 15

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