Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture

In Blackspace, Anaïs Duplan explores the nature of sociocultural liberation through prose, interview, and poetic settings. This meditation roams from a singular to a collective experience. His writing is underpinned with the question of how to achieve Black liberation not only through political movement, but through artistic endeavors: music, film, theater, poetry. This book reckons […]


As Ronald Johnson offers us in his germinal epic, ARK: Beneath a maze pattern on a wall of the church of St. Savino, in Piacenza, the inscription reads: THIS LABYRINTH REVEALS THE STRUCTURE OF THE WORLD. Convoluted of sun and dust, shut dark in a skull, the labyrinth is its own clue. Our lot is […]


Photograph by Edwin Chen When and why did I first start doing all in my power to avoid being inside an elevator? Maybe things felt overcrowded in the womb, with my twin in there too, or I got into a tight spot as a toddler and people took a while to notice. In my grander […]

A Ghost in the Throat

Diane Johnson opens her breakthrough biography, The True History of the First Mrs. Meredith and Other Lesser Lives, with a challenge to the reader as to why we don’t know about her subject: Many People have described the Famous Writer presiding at his dinner table . . . everybody remembers his remarks. . . . […]

Blind Man’s Bluff

What would you do if you were sixteen and lost most of your eyesight? If, within weeks, you could no longer drive, read the high school blackboard, pick out the coolest music, or recognize your date’s face? Would you consider your options? Or would you fall into a pattern without making any conscious decision at […]

Things Are Against Us

In a recent interview on the NPR show Fresh Air, a ninety-five-year-old Mel Brooks told Terry Gross that while he didn’t know what the meaning of life was, he did know that comedy was his “delicious refuge from the world.” Gross quotes from Brooks’s new memoir, in which he writes: “Even though it seems foolish […]

The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway

There is something quite private about annotating a book. Without thought to publication, writing in the margins is an act of confidence; there is the possibility of glibness, or pretention, or completely banal questions that we wouldn’t typically offer up in public. We are able to argue with every page of Plato, if we so […]

The Spirit Cabinet

The Spirit Cabinet Anthemion Her grandparents had spoken “a foreign tongue,” she recalled, but she couldn’t say which one. When I pressed for more, my grandmother would grow glum and dour, as if she were resisting prosecution. I took a picture of her the last day I visited her apartment. Her cat is in the […]

A Harp in the Stars

The term “lyric essay” has been with us for nearly thirty years, and while it may well be that we still can’t agree on what it is, here to save us from the irksome I know it when I see it is the new, illuminating anthology of lyric essays A Harp in the Stars. Part […]