‘I do not do this work for the government, or the Taliban, or even the men who I collect from the battlefield and return to their loved ones. All these years I have done this for God.’
Astrid Alben In Conversation: Podcast
Astrid Alben discusses her work, the interdisciplinary journal Pars, and developing a poetic alter ego.
The Best Books of Any Year: Three Variations on Post-Truth
‘2016 is almost over but the impact of this year’s political events will reverberate around the globe for decades.’
‘how can all the pressures of surveillance / fail to describe me?’
‘The poor hated the poor, natives hated outsiders, settled migrants hated new incomers, the North hated the South, non-Londoners hated London.’
When Denmark Criminalised Kindness
‘We now know that it is a criminal offence to help refugees in distress.’
Reception and Openings
‘Because children suspect that objects conceal their powers and intentions, animators make an alarm clock run, screaming, in circles.’
‘Your dad told me to tell you / how good you look to him right now.’ Rae Armantrout revisits Shakespeare’s sonnet 3.
‘Music needs silence / more than silence needs music.’ New poetry by Rae Armantrout.
Protest is an exhibition of historical and contemporary works by sixteen artists concerned with the sociopolitical issues of their day.
The Secret Afterlife of Boats
‘The sea is broken,’ they say. An empty net at night: a drooping lattice of shiny nothingness, a cold and worthless tinsel mesh.
Free will and Brexit
‘Whether or not you think 23 June was a great day for Britain and Europe, it was a very bad one for freedom.’
Violence in Blue
‘One-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police.’
‘People love to say it to you like it counts: Oh, Lucia, she will live on in your memory.’
Best Book of 1991: Mao II by Don DeLillo
‘The ultimate goal of each act of art, each work of terror, is to demolish the old, incumbent reality, and create a new one.’
He Had His Reasons
Colin Barrett on the Hawe family murder-suicide, and what the Irish media’s coverage tells us about the nation’s prejudices.
‘The dog was some sort of overbred weedling with a ribcage fine-boned as a chicken’s, a wizened rat’s face and a goony, perpetually bloodshot stare that made Dev Hendrick want to punt the thing over the garden gate.’
The Raingod’s Green, Dark as Passion
‘If cities are sexed, as Jan Morris believes, then Cork is a male place. Personified further, I would cast him as low-sized, disputatious and stoutly built, a hard-to-knock-over type.’
Green, Mud, Gold
‘She shuts her eyes and pictures ears growing out through her ears, her spine turning to wood, pictures herself as a girl-woman scarecrow, arms opened wide, and nailed to two posts in the centre of a great green, mud and gold expanse, crucified.’
Five Things Right Now: Ann Beattie
Ann Beattie shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
‘This was the collective trauma of a community discovering, very abruptly, they’d have to uproot their lives.’ Tim Beckett on the ruins of Uranium City.
Drama Lessons for Young Girls
‘So the young girls, / cast as naughty young girls from the Acropolis, / left – / just with some things missing.’
‘I have gone to the forest to lie among the moss and sleep under a canopy of trees. I have gone to the forest to root among the soil and listen to the birds.’
Best Book of 2000: The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent
Will Boast on why Lionel Trilling’s The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent is the best book of 2000.
On Sonnet 50
‘I love Shakespeare’s slow insistence, which mirrors the action within the poem: there is nothing but grief to reach.’ Paula Bohince on Shakespeare’s sonnet 50.
‘Nathan: there’s something in the basement. In the locked rooms I was telling you about.’
Best Book of 1971: Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann
‘The novel submits to an internalized discipline: it is an observation machine’
‘It has been several weeks since I slept for more than an hour, and lately I’ve been feeling on the verge of cracking up.’
Our Last Guest
‘Maybe anyone becomes unbearable after enough time in the honeymoon suite.’ Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s story of eternity á deux.
Best Book of 1943: Love In A Fallen City by Eileen Chang
‘Eileen Chang writes perfectly for the romantic in an unromantic and unrelenting world.’
His Middle Name Was Not Jesus
‘He didn’t know their language but understood it in their boiling voices, the heat on their faces, how they singed each other with their eyes.’