Second Acts: A Second Look at Second Books of Poetry: Susan Stewart and Jennifer Chang

I feel it is important to focus more intently on early work, if only to appreciate how and in what ways a poet has evolved, something perhaps especially appropriate for Stewart, who has written discerningly about the primacy of praxis and process in the poetic endeavor. Second books make an especially provocative place to delve

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LARB Radio Hour: Errol Morris Explores the Death of Truth in America, Past and Present

As Morris explains, a society that builds powerful, secretive, violent institutions cannot also be an honest democracy with citizens who demand to know the truth — and what better way to deliver this message than an uncanny, six-part, binge-worthy, murder mystery. How did our belief in democratic ideals get warped into what Errol Morris terms

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LARB Radio Hour: Errol Morris Investigates the Death of Truth in America

LARB’s Tom Lutz talks with Errol Morris about his brilliant new film Wormword, which debuts this week on Netflix, and how it relates to this mystery. Where did it all go wrong? Also, John Freeman returns to recommend Solmaz Sharif’s sublime book of verse, Look. As Morris explains, a society that builds powerful, secretive, violent

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Richard Posner: The Federal Court Maverick Turns Detractor

Aspiring to be “relentlessly critical and overflowing with suggestions for reform,” Posner attacks the “traditional legal culture” that, he says, “has to a significant degree outlived its usefulness.” Cataloging the targets of his iconoclastic ire would be exhausting. He ranks as the top weakness of the federal judiciary the fact that politicians nominate and confirm

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Psychedelic Futures

Some advocates enthuse that we could be on the verge of a “post-Prohibition era.” Indeed, with respect to legalization, they claim mind-altering drugs may well be where marijuana was 10 years ago. Treating them with psychedelics poses no threat to the smooth functioning of society, and so, thus far, the government under the Trump administration

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Situating the Enslaved: Eunsong Kim’s “Gospel of Regicide” and the Politics of Allyship

In Moraga and Anzaldúa’s work, that revolutionary form emerges in part through a mixture of poetry and prose to translate a range of experiences, from Spanish to English, from lyric to prose and back again. A couple pages before the line “divest destroy revolt,” Kim writes, “Public Key: / The traitor isn’t misunderstood, ok? What

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The Sense of Life in What Humans Create: Stephen Greenblatt on Adam and Eve

Well, we’re back to puritanism. There’s no carving out one part of you. Both traditions have this open argument quality, but the Christians, because, I guess, of their immersion in Greek philosophy, really did commit themselves to coming up with an intellectually coherent theology. They try to beat it out of you! That might be

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Book Lovers: Literary Necrophilia in the 21st Century

The philosopher Martin Heidegger thought autobiography had nothing to do with “good” writing. It was told by Jacques Derrida in the film, Derrida (2002), a purely anecdotal biography that shows the French philosopher making some breakfast that is not a croissant, and choosing his teaching suits, but little of his work, other than what is

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Free-Range Horror

Townspeople speculate about the presence of one or more sexual predators. The authors of these pieces repeatedly invoke statistics to demonstrate that the rate of stranger abductions did not actually rise during the period in which fear of this act rose exponentially. And yet some rationality remained, even until the end: as the Creature hooked

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Class Acts

The girls are quicker to confide; the boys sometimes reveal themselves more when she attends their sporting events. Williams knew nothing about [the Salvadoran] Lisbeth’s odyssey until I told him what she had recounted. He was gaining control of the room academically and losing control socially. or Lisbeth was taking selfies with her cheek pressed

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Louise Erdrich’s Dystopian Dreams in “Future Home of the Living God”

Why are people trying to escape to California? Bush’s reinstatement of the global gag rule. She’s a Native or part-Native woman adopted by white Minneapolis progressives Sera and Glen. He tells Cedar she should leave, and though she’s initially confused by the warning, it turns out that the government is searching for any pregnant women

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