Take your Vile of Smile: Two Flash Reviews

Derivative. This is the easy response to Kurt Vile’s musical canon, including his latest, Smoke Ring for my Halo. Yes, he sounds like an earlier Jagger at his most jaded or a beleaguered Dylan, at times. But this is a bad thing? Talk to me about originality, to steal from Yeats, and I’ll turn on… More

Radiolab’s Got Your Number

Radiolab podcasts, the ones I prefer anyway, ask the questions some of us have forgotten how to ask—the ones we don’t expect to have answered—because asking them reveals the function of questions to create meaning. These podcasts are divided into twenty minute shorts and hour-long episodes. In the short “The Universe Knows My Name,” show… More

Of Stars and Their Limits

My wife and I recently watched HBO’s bold airing of Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones and written for TV by McCarthy himself, the teleplay stars Jones as “White,” a suicidal Professor of Philosophy, and Samuel L. Jackson as “Black,” a self-professed ex-junky Christian. More

Review: Patricia Spears Jones’ “Painkiller”

Scott Hightower Painkiller, Patricia Spears Jones Tia Chucha, 2010, 978-1-882688-40-1, $15.95 Painkiller is Patricia Spears Jones’ third collection. The Weather That Kills (1995), her first, introduced us to Jones’ consideration of what can happen to joy and decency in a hostile environment. Jones’ Femme du Monde (2006), straddled the Atlantic to explore the destructive trail… More

Review: Catherine Strisik’s, “Thousand-Cricket Song”

Catherine Strisik’s Thousand-Cricket Song is a ceremony. The speaker is supplicant– Please say each skull has a voice, at the same time that she is a brief witness to– a nation of 12 million traumatized people, the survivors and the children of survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s mass killings. Often Strisik’s voice is oracular, though looking not so much forward or backward, but into. It is at other times the voice of an erotically and creatively awake… More