Tag Archives: Summer 2020

Dead Astronauts

Jeff VanderMeer MCD ($27) by Michael MacBride I tried, but failed, to write a review of Jeff VanderMeer’s latest novel, Dead Astronauts. The first draft began by describing the work as “a beautiful abstract mosaic.” That was both right and not right. Like an abstract piece of art, the more time you spend with it, […]

Duchamp’s Last Day

Donald Shambroom David Zwirner Books ($12.95) by Jeff Alessandrelli By sheer coincidence I started reading Duchamp’s Last Day shortly after reading Japanese Death Poems, an anthology that contains work “Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death,” as the subtitle says. One specific passage from the anthology’s introduction lingered in my […]

A User’s Manual

Jiří Kolář translated by Ryan Scott Twisted Spoon Press ($24) by M. Kasper “My aim from the outset was to find areas of friction between design and literature.” —Jiří Kolář Jiří Kolář (1914-2002) was one of the great collage artists of the 20th century. Like an-other, Kurt Schwitters, he was also a great creative writer, […]

Memory in the Circuit Breaker:
An Essay on Bernadette Mayer

by Stephanie Anderson On March 30, 2020, I am breastfeeding a baby in a darkening room and looking at my phone. I have a WhatsApp message: Clap for #SGUnited: From your windows, doors and rooftops for the doctors, nurses, carers, emergency services, delivery workers, warehouse workers, cleaners, supermarket staff and everyone else keeping Singapore safe […]

4:30 Movie

Donna Masini W. W. Norton & Company ($15.95) by Bhisham Bherwani A figurative meaning of “escape” is “mental or emotional distraction, especially by way of literature or music, from the realities of life.” A survey of such meanings and related criticism informed a 1975 essay, “Escape and Escapism: Varieties of Literary Experience,” in which Robert […]


Katy Mongeau Black Sun Lit ($15) by Isabel Sobral Campos In Apostasy, Katy Mongeau’s lyric “I” is a miscreant in search of redemption. These two long poems read like narratives suspended over a tense allurement between wish-fulfillment and nightmare: You came to me with your hands all bloody. You said you killed the woman as […]

Nietzsche and the Burbs

Lars Iyer Melville House ($16.99) by Scott F. Parker Nietzsche calls to the fiction writer, the mystique of his name inclining some to invoke it (When Nietzsche Wept, Nietzsche’s Kisses) or its associations (the film The Turin Horse, The Will to Power by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche) in their titles. Into this company, Lars Iyer throws his […]