The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose incendiary blog rants were recently published in the US, was seized by police in Beijing last Sunday. Anyone wondering why he’s being held by the government should go directly to this video of a 2009 talk he gave in Shanghai; it captures one of the many occasions that Weiwei has insistently spoken out against modern China’s corruption and totalitarianism. “Because we’re talking about designing China, I think we need to start from the questions of basic fairness, human rights, and freedom,” he says through his translator. “These are concepts which China, for all its economic development and success, has still not come to a basic understanding of.”

Joshua Cohen, photo by Ilan Jacobsohn for the New York Observer.

Yesterday Borders executives tried to persuade publishers that the company was on track for growth again after filing for bankruptcy; the plan was deemed “unrealistic.”

How much did it cost the New York Times to build its pay-wall?

National Poetry Month in in full swing, with events and activities across America, and—of course—an iPhone app and a poets’ tweet-a-thon.

Andrew Hultkrans reports on a reading for the Review of Contemporary Fiction’s “Failure Issue,” edited by novelist Joshua Cohen, and featuring authors such as Triple Canopy’s Sam Frank, n+1’s Keith Gessen, and poet Eileen Myles, recently held at MoMA’s PS 1: “The gold standard of literary failure is lack of response. . . . This event, while diverting, failed only at that.”

Twenty years after originally asking, UK songwriter Kate Bush has finally received permission to use lyrics taken from James Joyce’s Ulysses on her forthcoming album. The Guardian has neatly assembled all the talking points in the latest edition of its droll “Pass Notes” series.

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