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Posts Tagged ‘2013’

Henri Cole’s “Self-Portrait with Rifle”

July 2, 2013 | by

Abraham Hondius, The Deer Hunt, ca. 1650–95.

Abraham Hondius, The Deer Hunt (detail), ca. 1650–95.

Henri Cole contributed two poems to our Summer issue, “Self-Portrait with Rifle” and “Free Dirt.” They pair well; both wrestle with the baseness humanity is capable of, and particularly with the surprise we feel when we find such baseness in ourselves. “Self-Portrait with Rifle” illustrates this shock with a jarring scene: a man holding a gun, indignant at his victims—innocent deer—for yielding their lives to his misplaced violence.

 

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Happy 2013, From Mark Twain

January 2, 2013 | by

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.”

—Mark Twain, letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, January 1863

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Lucky Thirteen

January 2, 2013 | by

My apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is of the standard prewar varietal, with the faint chicken-soup-in-the-stairwell smell familiar to any New Yorker and an elevator that goes up to fourteen. And by fourteen, I mean, of course, thirteen. In this respect it is standard too; the elevator, made by Otis (I paused to double-check as I was writing this), indulges our collective superstition and forces those on the top floor to live a peculiar quotidian fiction.

In taller buildings, of course, everyone above twelve is technically living a lie, albeit of the white sort. This is a bit of magical thinking that never fails to delight me on even the darkest day. Read More »

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Happy New Year! And Other News

January 2, 2013 | by

  • Take it as shame or motivation: he read 365 books in 2012.
  • More attainable: the year in marginalia.
  • Words people hated in 2012.
  • Still recovering from a rough year? Ten books to get you into 2013.
  • Did you know William Faulkner wrote a children’s book?
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