4 3 2 1: Overture
‘According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket’
A Pinch of Salt
‘When we’re close to weaning / ourselves history gives us its reasons / to return’
A Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word for Dam a Wooden Taste Is the Word For
‘My friends, what I mean is, this life is shallow like a plate. It goes no further.’
After Ann Lauterbach
‘The piano eyes me / from its corner – / colluding with the past’
Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence
‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’
An Island Presence
‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’
Assuming the Habits of the Day and Night
‘my every day is a being in of being / a mixity of worlds’
Between Great Fires
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
Caravan of Freedom
When Fidel Castro died, his funeral procession was called a ‘Caravan of Freedom’, and extended 900km, from Santiago to Havana.
Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
‘The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.’
‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’
Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies
Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.
Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’
Emma Cline | Five Things Right Now
The author of The Girls and one of our 2017 Best of Young American Novelist shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
‘Six feet of man, muscled up perfect, game to the heart.’ New fiction from Jeffery Renard Allen.
Flash at Home
‘Flash Gordon, home from the terrible emptiness of space, has to make up stories for fear of worldwide despair.’
Fourth Person Singular
‘The wet in the air is like signal anxiety: life is about to / change.’
hardcore thigh burn | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries is full of rad poetry, translations and criticism.
I Am Lying
‘Findings show that the bigger the brain, the more frequent the deceit.’ Miranda Doyle on why we lie.
‘It was only November but holiday decorations were already starting to creep into the store displays.’
‘I am not now who or what I was when I wrote this. I change as you read. I am changing now.’ New fiction from Robert Coover.
Mark Doten | Five Things Right Now
‘Is there any doubt that Proust would have been obsessed with the Internet?’
Microtravel: Home and Away
‘The place I thought I knew best had become unknown territory, by the perhaps not-so-simple process of taking a few steps.’
Notes on a Suicide
‘The problem was that, for the most part, it did not matter how widely broadcast your discontent was: no one cared.’
‘Where emotions are suppressed and actions monitored, acting only becomes ubiquitous, and so convincing that we even trick ourselves.’
Out of the Cradle
‘What had formerly been a sedative, a tranquilizing soporific, had morphed into a facilitator of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, even inspiration.’
Portrayal: A Double Portrait
‘You can’t control your face / The Empire has over-reached / Expressions // Have become flags’
Brian Dillon on the Prozac craze of the 90s, and his experience taking the infamous antidepressant.
Rana Dasgupta | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘This is a literature of checkpoints and fences, and the improvised gaps through which desperate people pass.’