Tag Archives: style

Who’s Getting Laid in This Picture?*

“Organised chronologically, Matisse in the 1930s begins with a look at the Nice period, exemplified by his voluptuous Odalisque with Grey Trousers (1927). A seductive model in harem pants lays on a green bedroll, surrounded by brilliant red and yellow … Continue reading

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Knaughty Knots

If you’ve worked with lumber you know knots are harder than other parts of the wood. Their toughness can stymie a handsaw and defeat a nail. There was once a vogue in home-building circles for “knotty pine.” Prized for its … Continue reading

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Way Too Much Confession

I’m aware that I read poetry in too forensic a way, particularly poetry of the moment. Is it because I identify as a translator? I broach a new poem in English with a cocked snoot, I’m afraid. It’s recognizable as … Continue reading

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‘We Have to Make Forms That Celebrate the Possibilities’: Torkwase Dyson

“The paintings introduced a range of blue colors — oceanic, but resisting a direct reading.” This review bristles with strange energy, coercive structures, geographies of enclosure, and the verb catalyze. But of all the advanced art talk on display, my … Continue reading

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Saint Brevity, Patron of Blagueurs

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” (Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, 1971) Like a bird on a pole,Like a soul on the dole,I have tried all my waysTo be brief.(JMN, after Leonard Cohen) (Harold Simon is quoted by … Continue reading

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Sensing the Presence of Vinegar: Food Poetry

(A squalid detail to put behind us: “vichyssoise” is misspelled in the review as “vichysoisse.” Slipshod, to be sure, but my esteem for Pete Wells’s writing remains intact. Even Homer nodded.) Pete Wells said once that when he became restaurant … Continue reading

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‘A Writer Who Composed Prose Like Poetry’

Considering the toll it takes on me to construct a writing boiled down to within an inch of its life about something I think, punctuate it punctiliously, then figure out too late what I’ve said, much less thought, if anything, … Continue reading

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‘It’s More Than It Initially Appears’

The comment attributed to a museum director about Jennifer Guidi’s painting reminded me of Mark Twain’s remark that Wagner’s music is “better than it sounds.” “I’m thinking of color as a way to connect — a way to engage — … Continue reading

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The Case for Rhythm and Emptiness

Brazilian artist Maxwell Alexandre speaks of how exposure to Kerry James Marshall’s painting made him aware of “an absence of representation. You would ask a Black kid to draw a person and he would draw a white person… Just by … Continue reading

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When Is a Viper Just a Snake?

I share my neck of the world with rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads, coral snakes (red-on-yellow, kill a fellow) and cottonmouths. I can’t tell a moccasin from a cottonmouth — they frequent water, and I don’t. When I see one of … Continue reading

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