When I was an elementary and junior-high school student in Arizona in the 1970s, the school lunch calendar was always a harbinger of fun meals to come: made-from-scratch Salisbury steak, baked chicken, spaghetti with meatballs, or tamale pie ladled out by smiling lunch ladies in hairnets and washed
Robin D.G. Kelley's new biography performs the essential and gratifying task of transforming a deliberately enigmatic eccentric—"I like to stand out, man. I'm not one of the crowd"—into a warm, familiar, flesh-and-blood presence. Kelley emphasizes that the chapeau-sporting genius who wrote "Nutty"
"A Noiseless Flash" is how journalist John Hersey titled the first chapter of Hiroshima, his much-praised 1946 account of the detonation of the atomic bomb. Though witnesses some twenty miles away claimed that the explosion was as loud as thunder, none of the survivors interviewed by Hersey recalled
Jean-Philippe Toussaint's wonderfully stylized new novel, "Running Away," begins with a question: "Would it ever end with Marie?" That's only fitting for a book that leaves so much unanswered — we never learn the narrator's name or occupation or, indeed, why his relationship with Marie, his Parisian
What is art education and what should it do? The essays that Steven Henry Madoff has assembled in Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century) explore this often-controversial question and attempt to determine how to educate people to become professional artists. Madoff is the Senior Critic at Yale
Drawing on the tradition of fanciful collage practiced by such poets as John Ashbery, David Shapiro, and Joe Brainard, Brandon Downing wields his own scissors to cut a distinctive patch within this New York School specialty. Other influences—Charles Henri Ford and Tom Phillips—may also be in
As Ernesto Cardenal asserts in Incantations, poetry has a wider latitude for power in a culture where it is understood to be "the first speech." It proposes joyfully that what's read this afternoon at the Bowery Poetry Club shares a magical link to this book's poems by illiterate women in Chiapas.
Cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco is the world's foremost creator of "comics journalism"—a contemporary field he basically invented. His previous books, including Palestine—for which Sacco interviewed hundreds of people on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict—record, sometimes in minute
Brian Hart's debut novel, Then Came the Evening, begins with a calamitous misunderstanding. Bandy Dorner, hungover and in trouble with two police officers, is told that his cabin burned down the night before. Bandy assumes his wife, Iona, was inside, and in a confused fury he shoots one of the cops,