New Skool Slam
In a shift from the past series of neighborhood-based reportage, students from the spring session of The Brooklyn Rail/Urban Word NYC New Skool Journalism Workshop covered the city’s annual Teen Poetry Slam championships. Over several months the teens explored their own subject matter and their voices as reporters without limiting themselves to what might be considered the parameters of traditional journalism. Special thanks to Poets & Writers—for without its support, this ongoing collaboration between Urban Word and The Brooklyn Rail would not be possible.
—Knox Robinson and Meghan McDermott, editors
from City of BlowsBy Tim Blake Nelson
FEB 2023 | Fiction
Those familiar with Tim Blake Nelson's work in Coen brothers films, the Watchmen series, or last year's Old Henry, will immediately understand that this novel's depictions of Hollywood machinations are of a higher caliber than those in any other literary work that's attempted to depict that world. City of Blows abounds in the economy and fluidity that accompanies true authorityseen in this description of a producer: “One of the biggest pricks in LA. But he gets his movies made. Directors rarely work for him twice.” What's less expected is Nelson’s investigation of the relationship between insecurity and toxicity, seen in Weinstein-esque predators but also applicable to masculinity at large. The psychological motivations and character examinations develop City of Blows from a roman à clef to a work far more universal.
Motor City Underground: Leni Sinclair Photographs 19631978By Nolan Kelly
SEPT 2021 | Art Books
Unlike so many other exhibition monographswhich are often treated as something between a program guide and show souvenirMotor City Underground presents detailed reproductions of Sinclairs photographs, often blown up to full-page, alongside a wide variety of testimony. The range of dates and sources across which these statements are culled suggests years of research combing through a decades worth of underground missivesthe type of ephemera that does not often make it into digital archives.
72. (Various walls around the city)By Raphael Rubinstein
OCT 2021 | The Miraculous
One day in 1986, more than a dozen years after Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Cardiss Collins have been elected to Congress, a group of artists, activists and art historians who keep their identities secret by donning gorilla masks surreptitiously plaster the walls of the city with a poster noting, in thick sans serif type: Only 4 Commercial Galleries in N.Y. Show Black Women. Only 1 Shows More Than 1.
My Beautiful CityBy Thomas Heise
MARCH 2021 | Field Notes
In the spring of 2020, as the plague was sweeping the city, I found myself several times a day staring at an Instagram page dedicated to the furniture and household goods New Yorkers were tossing to the curb. Amongst the flotsam and jetsam were steamer trunks, benches of reclaimed lumber, numerous upright pianos, boxes upon boxes of books, a fainting couch with flower upholstery, glass vanities, bar stools, two Noguchi coffee tables, stand-up globes (I counted at least three) that hatched open at the meridian so you could store liquor inside, seemingly every fiddle leaf fig tree in the five boroughs, and other bric-a-brac and impedimenta and whatever else could be quickly discarded in a desperate effort to get out of New York as fast as possible.