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Issue #50, Winter, 2011
Francis Bacon put it best: "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." Novelist and critic Marilynn Robinson brilliantly essays the notion of beauty and its role in our changing society. Poet Crystal Williams views the subject through the kaleidoscopic lens of race, while Aimee Bender talks with the artist Amy Cutler, whose off-kilter, imaginative work boils in the same cauldron as Bender's fictions. The poets, naturally, are well-represented here, happily joining the ancient poetic cause. And just as unsurprisingly, the prose writers turn the notions of beauty inside-out. Maggie Shipstead chronicles a former child star's fall from drug-addled "It Girl." Michel Houellebecq sinks his teeth into the art world. And Eric Puchner spins a youth-only future. We are also delighted by beautiful math, Mumbai bar dancers, the science of sex, and even the letters of Burt Reynolds. We hope you find the issue as beautiful as strange and beautiful as we do.
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Michel Houellebecq, Maggie Shipstead, Paul Willems, Eric Puchner, Quintan Ana Wikswo
AN EXCERPT FROM The Map and the Territory, TRANSLATED BY GAVIN BOWD • Since his last painting,Damien Hirst and jeff Koons Dividing Up the Art Market, he no longer felt much about art.
YOU HAVE A FRIEND IN 10A • Jerome Shin took me up to my bathroom, cut me my first line, and asked me to hold his balls while he jacked off.
HE HORSE'S EYE, TRANSLATED BY EDWARD GAUVIN • He was a Soviet named Sergei who spoke French, and played, as befit him, chess
BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS • The boy has never seen a grown man in real life, and the sight is both more and less frightening than he expected.
THE LITTLE KRETSCHMAR • He and she liked to have sex on a Saturday, after a nice sauna.
Kevin Young, Tomaz Salamun, Roger Reeves, Michael Klein, Gary Jackson, Heather Christle, Zubair Ahmed
THE LAST DAYS OF AN AMERICAN HEROPIT STOP
TO KEW BY TRAMALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
i>NEW VOICECATACOMBSREACHING HALF-LIFE IN MY BACKYARDBONFIRE AT 3 AM
The artist communed with her creative doppelgänger, Aimee Bender, to talk fairy tales, the demands of devoting yourself to a meticulous craft, and the portrayal of women.
Marilynne Robinson, Crystal Williams, Sonia Faleiro, Michael Harris, Sam Stephenson, Sonya Chung, Peyton Marshall
ON BEAUTY • The novelist and critic tackles the topic that has plagued philosophers since the beginning of Western thought.
MIRROR, MIRROR: A GUIDE TO PATHOS • Difficulty abounds in trying to navigate our culture's notions of beauty and race.
LEELA, THE MUMBAI BAR DANCER • The ins and outs of India's ladies of the night.
UNEXPECTED, ECONOMICAL, INEVITABLE • The rarified heirs of pure mathematics investigate its exacting beauty.
SONNY CLARK: MELODY AND MELANCHOLY • Jazz and drugs formed a double helix that forever changed music, and also led to a downfall.
IN THE LIGHT WHERE ART AND LONGING MEET • A visit with James Salter confirms the gentle, if radical, masculinity that one finds in his life's work.
THE FEAST • The cruel, harsh reality of summer camp sends a bunkmate overboard.
THE TERRIBLE BEAUTY OF TOR HOUSE • A visit to Robinson Jeffers's tumbling tower.
Lost & Found:
Albert Mobilio, Susan Shapiro, Michelle Wildgen, Curtis White
ON HAVELOCK ELLIS'S Studies in the Psychology of Sex • The pioneer of sexual studies explored Victorian 'operating' habits.
ON GAIL PARENT's Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York • Wit and wisdom from one of the earliest chick-litters.
ON BURT REYNOLDS'S Hot Line: The Letters I Get...and Write! • Burt becomes the furry, grinning screen on which to project a thousand fantasies.
ON READING DAVE HICKEY: My Life in the Therapeutic Institution • Let the rich wickedness of art reign.
TOO PRETTY TO EAT • The fickle fashions of food styling.