In straightforward yet graceful prose and with deep insight—let alone an immense amount of meticulous research—Colin Asher has produced a major literary biography. “Never A Lovely So Real’ testifies to the richness of Algren’s genius as a writer and explains the misunderstood nature of the man. It reveals what made him tick, exposes the legends, and brings him to life in a way no previous biography has. It certainly changed my perception of him. And if there’s any justice, it will put Algren’s books back into the heart of the 20th-century American canon.
When a book reads like an hallucination and looks as magnificent as Flesh Film, it’s an artist’s book as much as a writer’s. The designer Robert Schalinski has given the author’s text the appearance of a manuscript duplicated on an old copying machine and punctuated it with the author’s visual collages. It’s gorgeous stuff, published in English by the German publisher Moloko Print, and it’s available for the first time in the U.S. from printedmatter.org.
Michael Butterworth started writing short fiction in 1966 for the British science-fiction magazine New Worlds when its editor was Michael Moorcock. He was one of the younger exponents of that New Wave of science fiction, as the movement became known, and he continued contributing to New Worlds until the editions most closely associated with Moorcock came to an end in 1979. Now he has two new books out that collect the fiction of those early years which he had thought “lost for good.”
The honorees at the 2019 NY Acker Awards made some terrific statements about the history of the Lower East Side and their commitment both to the community and to the arts, but a rap performance by Power Malu about the devastation in Puerto Rico, where people are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria and from the Trumpistan government’s failure to provide proper help, was the most notable of the evening.
“In the beginning was the Word—been in You for a toolong time.I rub out the word. You in the Word and the Word in You is a word-lock like the combination of a vault or a valise. If you love your vaults, listen no further. I spin the lock on your Interior Space Kit. Prisoner: Come Out!” — Brion Gysin
As San Francisco prepares to celebrate Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday on Sunday, City Lights Books will be the focus of much attention. The little paperback bookshop he launched in 1953 is now so large that it occupies an entire block of storefronts and doubles as a North Beach tourist attraction. This is what the storefront […]
The Rinzai Zen master Ikkyū Sojun (1394-1481) was a poet, musician, artist, and rebel. He led a life of whoring and drinking. “Sex became a transcendental and sacred act,” Malcolm Ritchie writes in an afterword to this chapbook. Ikkyū’s poems —”often erotic, argumentative, contradictory, judgmental, self-doubting, and occasionally shaded with guilt”—are still as startling as the day they were written.
Aaron Shulman’s collective biography of the Spanish Panero family, The Age of Disenchanments—just out from Ecco— has a cast of dramatic characters that is nothing less than stunning. “No one’s ever told their story in English, and only in fragments in Spanish,” Shulman says.
In a world where the difference between appropriation and exploitation can be hard to figure, Gary Lee-Nova’s devotion to the cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller makes all the difference. “I’m beyond being in love with his work,” says the author of these panels. “Although he passed in 1982, I feel like I’m collaborating with him.”
‘Culture, being the broad effect of art, is rotundly irrational and as such is perpetually operating against the economic workaday structure of society. The economic structure works towards stasis centered around static needs. It is centripetal. Culture forces change centered around changing appetites. It is centrifugal.’ — Jeff Nuttall
The artist Tomi Ungerer has died at the age of 87. He was “a lifelong activist who protested against racial segregation, the Vietnam war and the election of US President Donald Trump . . .” Speaking about himself as an artist, Ungerer said, “I have the full respect of a piece of white paper, which I then shall rape with my drawing or my writing. When I draw, it’s the real me.”
“Buckle your seatbelt and fire up your time machine. You are about to blast yourself back nearly fifty years to a simpler time when America was at war, the country was polarized, a crazed and despised president of the United States was in charge, cops were considered racist pigs, cannabis was omnipresent, and young radicals […]
The artist Norman Ogue Mustill was an extreme dissenter. Nothing pleased him more than reaming out the human race. His collages stopped you dead with their vicious satire, like the writings of William S. Burroughs, and for technical precision Max Ernst didn’t do better. But Mustill is little known, his work unseen, his praise unsung. […]