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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
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Bust portrait of a young man representing the nativist ideal of the Know Nothing party, from Harp Week collection of American political prints, 1766-1876

“I Know Nothing”: Faith, Fear, and Politics in Antebellum America By Emily Sosolik   Let our opponents torture and distort the truth as they may, no specious reasoning, no political sophistry can alter the fact that those who are constantly laboring to fight down Americanism and Protestantism are enemies of their country, and tories or […]

Article
Wendy Artin, Tamara on her Side with Foot in Hand, 2003, watercolor on Fabiano Ingres paper, 12 x 9, © 2003-2014

At sea in these thunder-clouded days we write out of habit and wishing that we might find some magical, Archimedean fulcrum that would right the ship or allow us to gather the pieces and start building anew. At present we cannot be sure how, or if, these pieces fit together.   In any critic’s work, we […]

ZiLL
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Anima dannata, 1619, white marble. Embassy of Spain in Vatican City, Holy See, Rome

Review of H.L. Hix, American Anger: An Evidentiary (Etruscan Press, 2016).   “I’ve got a family to feed, a neighborhood to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, a principle to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, my honor to defend.” — H.L. Hix, American Anger   These lines taken from separate poems in […]

Review
Whig primary, 1848 - An Available Candidate, The One Qualification for a Whig President

Many people in Europe believe without saying, or say without believing, that one of the great advantages of universal suffrage is that it calls men worthy of the people’s confidence to take charge of public affairs. The people do not know how to govern themselves, but, it is said, they always want the State to […]

ZiR
Categories: Drew Whitcup, ZiR | Add a Comment

Residents of Flint, Michigan continue to be subjected to dangerously high lead levels in their drinking water. The long-term effects are likely to be catastrophic, especially when it comes to the brain development of Flint’s young children. Naturally, questions have arisen about what members of the Michigan state government knew, and when they knew it. Local […]

ZiR
Categories: ZiR | 1 Comment
People console one another outside the emergency room entrance to Loma Linda Medical Center after two shootouts in San Bernardino. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

  Details are still emerging about the San Bernardino shootings, but evidence mounts that this was terrorism. Public reaction appears to be much more disturbed and fearful than it was a few days earlier when a lone domestic gunman shot people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office. The extent of the San Bernardino reaction […]

ZiR

In 1949, the French writer, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau wrote a few lines about French politics at that time, lines that might help Americans today view their own political battles with more optimism than usual. In my translation: I know well that in 1949 politics are a big deal and the clashes of different […]

ZiR

In the woods of Michigan in 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville recounts, he found a not entirely unfamiliar solitude, but what was unusual was that, unlike previously, when he had visited the ruins of ancient European civilizations, the solitudes of America led his mind to project forward, losing itself “dans un immense avenir” (in a vast […]

ZiR

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

ZiR

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

May 11, 2018

Using personal essay, literary reference, and journalistic voice, the article plants itself on our existential doorstep while illuminating Barnes' novel one more time. Very strong. Thanks.

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

1 I’m just waking up. News radio. Listening for the weather. The solemn voice of a commentator: . . . what we’re dealing with . . . dedicated, well-armed sociopaths who’ll stop at nothing to impose their will on as much of the world as possible. It’s July 2015. I’m in the USA. Even groggy […]

Essay

May 10, 2018

"When these new memories suddenly came upon me … time had been placed in reverse. As if, for that moment, the river ran upstream." Stolen from Barnes's book for my poem "From the Vale for a Soul Making". Great book to write about.

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