GUESTCRITIC

Toward Polyphonic Criticism

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A multivalent arena, rich and strange—something polyphonic, as Mikhail Bakhtin described Dostoevsky’s work—what art criticism could be.

ABOUT POLYPHONY: All in One

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The most beautiful dream is that moment in Purgatorio when first Virgil rejoins the four shades of ancient poets “on the enamelled green,” and after a while they invite Dante in, “so that I was sixth amid so much wisdom”—the gist being there’s room for more.

THE ENAMORED MAGE
Magic, Alchemy, and Esoteric Thought in Works by Robert Duncan and Jess*

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I knew Robert Duncan and Jess in the last 10 years of Duncan’s life, from 1978 to 1988. I just realized yesterday that I am now the age that Duncan was when I first met him (60). But then, I was 25.

LISA YUSKAVAGE on Nina Simone and Giovanni Bellini

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Painter Lisa Yuskavage was a guest in my spring 2014 class “Object Lessons” at BHQFU, the experimental free art school in the East Village. Each guest chose a book, film, or work of art for the class to study prior to a group conversation. Y

Black Wedding

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Metal is an overwhelmingly white and heteromasculinist subculture. Yet as such, it offers something useful to a prurient queer feminist interest. Let me be clear: there are a lot of different people who make metal and different people who listen to it.

“PUTTING YOURSELF IN A PLACE WHERE GRACE CAN FLOW TO YOU”
Nancy Goldring on Robert Lax

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“One of the great original voices of our times … a pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence, writing lovingly, finding it simply, in his own way,” Jack Kerouac said of American poet Robert Lax (1915 – 2000). Lax lived on the Greek island of Patmos much of his life, writing small crystalline poems that recall the formal severity and emotional richness of his friends Thomas Merton and Ad Reinhardt.

Dolly Parton’s Songs

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After a stint as director of Reese Palley Gallery and editor of Art in America in early ’70s New York City, Dave Hickey moved to Nashville to write songs and music criticism.

THE LAND WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE
Paul Bowles, Mohammed Mrabet, and 17-year-old Me

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These quotes are taken from letters written to a teenager who had met and bonded briefly with these storied figures; an encounter of life-changing dimensions for her, but not a rare or even uncommon experience for them.

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