Although the walls of just about every room in my house are covered with artwork and books, my most treasured possessions are in my bedroom: a wooden crucifix hanging directly over the head of my bed (“Made in France” is carved on the back).
In 1977, through her interest in the work of the Nicaraguan-Salvadoran writer Claribel Alegría, the poet Carolyn Forché met Leonel Gómez Vides, a Salvadoran humanitarian activist, and became involved in the fight for Salvadoran freedom from repression.
Sometime in 1945, Salvador Dalí paid a visit to the Barnes Foundation, then located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, and stood transfixed in front of a painting by Henri Matisse called Madras Rouge. Alfred Barnes was immensely proud of this acquisition and was keen to show it to Dalí.
One late summer afternoon, I am sitting on top of a mountain in northern Sweden. The ocean below me is calm and stretches toward an open horizon. There is no other human being in sight and barely a sound can be heard. Only a solitary seagull is gliding on the wind.
When you drive north on Route 1, the prison begins to loom on your right as you approach Rahway. Originally (it opened in 1901) known as Rahway State Prison, because local notables objected to being identified with a prison it became East Jersey State Prison.
Thomas Pynchon’s “The Secret Integration” and The Saturday Evening Post
Thomas Pynchon’s writing can be seen as a series of interlocking puzzles. The texts themselves have been regarded as “dense,” difficult,” and “confusing,” or, to paraphrase Tony Tanner’s description of the narrative of Gravity’s Rainbow, sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re reading about a bombed-out building or a bombed-out mind.
Naïve minds think that the office of kingship lodges in the king himself, in his ermine cloak and his crown, in his bones and veins. As a matter of fact, the office of kingship is an interrelation between people.
The pioneering public relations consultant Edward Bernays’s words are nearly a century old, but today, in an era of rampant misinformation and insidious disinformation campaigns online, they seem startlingly apt. The rulers Bernays was talking about were public relations specialists, and at the time propaganda was not a pejorative.
This is a story I tell myself about who I am, a story that, in the nature of all telling, conceals as much as it reveals. I am an ex-convict. A felon. Formerly an inmate. When people call me formerly incarcerated or a returning citizen, I do not feel like they are less likely to deny me employment, or housing, or to shake my hand.
For many years, I used to harbor mixed feelings about Leni Riefenstahl’s films. That continuum ranged quite widely, from visceral revulsion to a grudging admiration for her most well-known works: Triumph of the Will, her poetic and dramatic record of the spectacular 1934 Nuremberg rally, and Olympiad . . .