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Alexander Nazaryan

Alex Nazaryan is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn.

History: Death Be Not Proud

Sometimes, a single event can define an entire era, drawing on disparate strands of history to tie them together in a single unforgettable knot.

Nonfiction: Speak, Cobblestones

Manhattan’s old Pennsylvania Station seemed like a relic from imperial Rome. Its replacement, a brutal cylinder, epitomizes the heinous fallout of urban development and renovation. Fortunately, Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten New York preserves the city’s low-rise, cobblestoned past.

Essays: The Perfect Postmodernist

There is pretty much nothing in common between the porn starlet Stephanie Swift, who earned the Best Actress (Video) distinction at the 1998 Adult Video News Awards, and the Maine Lobster Festival, to which seafood enthusiasts make an annual pilgrimage.

Poetry: Language and Love

Love for Vladimir Nabokov was hardly a matter of the heart. He once suggested that a writer should work with “the imagination of a scientist,” and even his finest prose—probably Lolita and Speak, Memory—is more distinguished for a lapidary concern with the nuance of language than the humanistic and religious grappling of the great Russian novelists who proceeded him.

Poetry : Our Poet of the Plains

What if Dante had hailed from Minneapolis, not Florence? What if Li Po penned his verses by the Mississippi instead of the Yang-Tze? Their output would have, perhaps, looked something like that of James Wright, whose Selected Poems appeared this year. Edited by his widow, Anne Wright, and close friend Robert Bly, it offers a comprehensive but concise view of his poetry in contrast to the hefty Above the River: Collected Poems (1992).

New York Stories: Acquainted With the Night

“All the animals come out at night,” Robert DeNiro’s famous malcontent, Travis Bickle, declares in Taxi Driver. His New York is equal parts danger and grime, a thoroughly decrepit Times Square serving as the epicenter of vice.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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