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Introduction

I’VE SAID THIS BEFORE, but it bears repeating. You probably know that neurologists have a term, proprioception, to describe our sense of ourselves and our body, its position and movement in space. What they haven’t yet named, so far as I know, is the cultural equivalent to proprioception: our sense of the world, of history, of our place in it and our ability to move and act, within and on it. Yet such an equivalent does exist: we believe our bodies to be whole and immortal, the world to be solid beneath our feet, we know our family loves us, as does God, and we assume that our nation (race, tribe, clan, call it what you will) is where we belong — to it we pledge allegiance. Until, that is, we don’t. Locke wasn’t off-base when he named solidity as the first of his simple ideas, the corner or keystone for all of the rest. He had less to say about those moments when the earth moves, a family splits, gods die, or our nation declares war on itself. One day...

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poetry

XXIII

By Pablo Neruda, Translated by Karen Hilberg

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“We are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest [...] the teachings of Thoreau are alive today, indeed, they are more alive today than ever before.”

—REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (MR 4.1, Autumn 1962)

From the Blog

Colloquies

Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 15-16

- By Michael Thurston

 

(Photo: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes – The sleep of reason produces monsters (No. 43), from Los Caprichos)

Read Part 14 here

“Nightmare leaves fatigue”

Exhausted by the stresses of pandemic, racial reckoning, a nail-biter of an election on which hinged the question of whether something like democracy continues or we slide on into authoritarianism, I fall asleep. Sleep comes easily at first; I’m out almost as soon as the lamplight dies. A couple of hours into the...


Interviews

(Almost) 10 Questions for Lance Larsen

- By Edward Clifford

My friend Julia wanted to bask in fame, or wear it in her hair like a dragonfly wing, or maybe roll in it like a dog. Wouldn't it be easier, I said, to just shake Fame's craggy hand? I meant the poet, who had just finished reading. This happened at a snooty conference where Pulitzer Prize winners and untouchables sample tarts from the same tray. My friend Julia refused to fawn, refused to buy his book. Well then, I said, let's join him for breakfast tomorrow.
—from "Dark Harbor," Volume 61, Issue 3 (Fall 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In first or second grade at Washington Elementary in Pocatello, Idaho, my class was assigned to write about hope. Here’s what I turned in, misspellings...


Favorite Things

The Offending Classic

- By Juan Ignacio Vallejos

On the Intolerable in Dance

Photo: Marcha Ni una menos, Buenos Aires, 2018

I recently saw Angelin Preljocaj’s Rite of Spring (2001) on film. This was the latest of many ballets staged by the French choreographer from the repertoire of the Ballets Russes. Earlier Preljocaj had offered the world his Le Spectre de la Rose, L’Oiseau de Feu, and Les Noces. Though considered a choreographer of contemporary dance, most dance critics agree that Preljocaj’s works are indebted to the tradition of classical ballet and to neoclassical techniques. In his inventive version of Rite of Spring, the choreography is structured in particular around the idea of a primitive energy related to sex and violence.

...


Our America

Game Theory

- By Jim Hicks

(Photo: Bengt Ekeroth and Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal, 1957. © Svensk Filmindustri. Ingmar Bergman, director)

So, is it just a game for them, with us? If you think it through, that simple idea would make their every move not simply justifiable, but impeccable. Even in the endgame, a true master sees room for maneuver, an occasion for thumbing his nose, macho display for the masses or for the record books. In that most martial—and most US—of sports, when your team can’t move forward, they still bury the ball deep in enemy territory, trusting their defense, waiting, expecting to strike again. The only goal is to crush the opposition, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool. That’s how the game is played...


Colloquies

Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 14

- By Michael Thurston

(Photo: Michael Thurston, The Underworld in Twentieth-Century Poetry. From Pound and Eliot to Heaney and Walcott. Palgrave, 2009)

Read Parts 12-13 here

“the triumphant cheers of the lost souls”

Circles and cycles, accidents and underworlds, elections and mandates and slight tardiness. All of these shape the fourteenth section of Autumn Journal, as MacNeice reports on an electorally driven descent into the Oxonian inferno, a descent that, in epic...


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