The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 20-JAN 21

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DEC 20-JAN 21 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

31. (27 Cooper Square)

A couple, both writers, and two of their friends move into a cold-water rooming house that has been abandoned for the previous decade. They install heat and hot water in the four-story building. They edit a literary magazine in their kitchen. Their apartment becomes a meeting place for artists, writers and musicians. A jazz saxophonist and his family move in downstairs. The couple have two daughters. The older one later recalls how the free jazz she heard coming from the apartment below became her “lullaby and comfort music.” Because the couple is biracial (she’s white, he’s black) their circle of friends is very integrated, far more so than the culture around them. When the older daughter starts high school she is shocked by her art history class where, apart from pre-Columbian and Egyptian periods, all the art discussed has been made by white people. Growing up as she did, it had never occurred to her that “artists were only meant to be white.”

(Hettie Jones, Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp, Kellie Jones)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 20-JAN 21

All Issues