Review: On Vijay Seshadri's "3 Sections"

Consciousness has caught up with the impossible soul on “the other shore,” the shore that permits, and legitimizes, the imagination, the vehicle of consciousness. Seshadri’s metaphor is doubly apt (if not multiply complex): improbable as it may seem, the imaginary number (i or √−1) regularly surfaces in science and engineering; it is present in the formalisms underlying modern technologies…

What We Can’t See: On Photographer Richard Mosse

In a darkened room of Chelsea’s Jack Shainman gallery last month, I watched Richard Mosse’s new short film “The Enclave,” as the disembodied eye of a Steadicam roved a mountain landscape—pink, impossibly pink—with inhuman sweeps. On a mountain slope the color of cotton candy, the camera edged down a gravel road…

Review: On Jonathan Littell’s "The Fata Morgana Books"From the Print

Quietly composed for France’s Fata Morgana Press in the aftermath of The Kindly Ones—a monumental study on human baseness and Nazism—Mr. Littell’s new book at first appears to bear little resemblance to its precursor. Where The Kindly Ones is an exuberant historical novel, a 992-page behemoth of rape, incest, and murder, The Fata Morgana Books is a spare, 184-page collection of four short novellas, comparatively light, until the end, on physical violence, and stripped of the ornamental graces of period, geographical location, name, gender…

The Sound of TED: A Case for Distaste

A decent strategy with TED might be to reclaim our teenage capacities and treat these videos as hopelessly passé—ignore them to death. Critiquing them, even as I have done, will do what criticism has done for television: creating an added enjoyment as you go on consuming the crap you despise…

The Name of the Critic: On “Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life”

Too often, modern academics approach Benjamin as a Rorschach test, gazing at the text and thereby gauging their own predilections toward Marxism, poststructuralism, sociology, Jewish mysticism, urban theory, or modern-day Dadaism. No thinker in modern history is so overdetermined by the pet theories and partial readings of others…

Micro-review: On Simone Kearney's "Middlemarch"

Berl’s Poetry Shop located in Dumbo has emerged from nowhere it seems to become one of the most exciting venues for poetry in New York City. No easy feat considering the long-standing wealth of options. Owned and operated by poets Jared White and Farrah Field, Berl’s features an exhaustive inventory of poetry titles and chapbooks from small presses and independent publishers…

Four Short Essays From "The Hard Problem"

One time I was in therapy for being sad, and while I was there I learned about The Power of Positive Thought. I know this sounds like magic and/or fake and/or antithetical to the open-eyed truth telling to which we’ve all dedicated ourselves as writers, but if you would like to not kill yourself after years and years of sitting at a desk with little or nothing to show for it, it’s a really great option…

Shots in the Dark: Interrogating Gun Violence in Fiction

It’s as though Proulx and Finn mean to demonstrate to us in showing the violence as they do that the passion vindicated in a murder with a gun will never outlive the hot moment it lurks in. Both deaths are murder-suicides where neither the victim nor shooter survives; they’re double-barreled sound and fury, absorbing themselves like an unhealthy star…

Yeezy Rising

Part of this meme’s power stems from a long American engagement with images that put outspoken black men back in their place…