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Rapid Transit

These 10-line poems spin with joy and astonishment. They retain just enough ballast to keep them from lifting off. Adventuresome, they swirl around a very grounded sense of personal myth.

The Bard’s Evangelist

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when the idolatrous cult of Shakespeare was born, grew up, and thrived, it was common to hear over-the-top praise of the Bard.

Holey Logic, Batman

Richard Poplak’s quick-witted survey of U.S. pop culture throughout the core of the Muslim world functions as a meaty, detail-laden addendum to Lipstick Traces, Greil Marcus’s famed pop culture book.

In Conversation

EMILY FLAKE with Allegra Frazier

Emily Flake has been illustrating our comic complacence with our own bad thoughts and behaviors for nearly a decade. Lulu Eightball, her alt-weekly comic, has been compiled into two anthologies (2005 and 2009, Atomic Book Company) and syndicated in as many as 10 different papers.

In Conversation


Ugly Duckling Presse (UDP) is a Brooklyn-based, internationally acclaimed small press, “a community of artists, artisans, and creative enterprises.” The vitality of the organization is manifested in the antic energy of its 14 collective members and their various editorial and literary ventures.

Monster Loneliness

A few years ago, a Karen Russell story satisfied a very particular desire of mine: a thirst for vampire literature. Her short story, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” collected by Salman Rushdie in 2008 Best American Short Stories, offered just the right amount of bats and bloodsucking so as to save me from an itch to read any of the other vampire-laced novels that were then flooding the marketplace.

Musical Thrills

Wesley Stace’s Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer is an intricate, unabashedly literary and clever musical thriller. Stace’s third novel painstakingly examines the strange and turbulent bond between a composer and a critic in early 20th century England.

Makeshift Metropolis

Although New Yorkers often lament the inhospitable conditions that inevitably go along with living in North America’s most populated city, they all seem to secretly share the belief that the way of the life the city offers—24-hour public transportation, walkable morning commutes, and an alluring cityscape of Art Deco buildings, handsome brownstones, and contemporary buildings—is the best way to live.

At Risk

Interesting and insightful, Kamchatka is also engrossing, often funny, and very, very unsettling. The word “Kamatchka” refers to the territory on the Risk game board which is furthest from Argentina, according to 10-year-old Harry, who lives with his parents and his younger brother, the Midget, in Buenos Aires.

A Zero Named One

Edwin Torres has many voices. He speaks English, Spanish, binary, be-bop. He speaks like a frightened child, like a staccato robot, like a fairy godmother. He speaks like a legend, a 20-year veteran of performance, begun back at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.


I guess I’m old school, but when I turn to Thaddeus Rutkowski’s new novel Haywire (having read and reviewed his last two books and known the author for a couple of decades), about the last thing I care about is whether, as the blurbs on the book proclaim, it has “muscular prose” or “music, light, and wonder.”

Newport Mirth

Have you ever felt like a blonde, 30-something woman, living an updated version of House of Mirth in 1990s Newport Beach, wishing fervently for a rich man to come along and rescue you?

Filling in the Blanks

It is hard to imagine the shape Irène Némirovsky’s daughter must have been in when, in 1998, she braced herself to crack a notebook which she thought held her mother’s painful diary entries, but which turned out to be the first two parts of the so-called Suite Française, released in 2004.


Michael Stewart is currently the Rhode Island Council for the Arts Fellow in both Poetry and Fiction, as well as a lecturer at Brown. His list of independent press publications is extensive. His most recent work, The Hieroglyphics, a novella out from Mud Luscious Press is one of editor J.A. Tyler’s strongest publishing choices.

Dynamic Duo

Lars Iyer’s Spurious, based on the popular blog, brings us into the relationship between the narrator, Lars, and his former professor, W.

Of God and Anarchy

I often ask myself why international literature is so much more appealing than North American fiction. Reading Florida-born, Brooklyn-dwelling Justin Taylor’s debut novel The Gospel of Anarchy is a good opportunity to explore this question.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2011

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