On the Current State of Reading in America

If we have reached a point in history where very few actually read poems or novels from beginning to end anymore, then we have arrived at a post literary epoch made ironic for its surplus of literary publications and concurrent dearth of literary conversation—the latter of which is essential for advancing our culture and preserving… More

What Does it Mean to be Critical?

In this essay, published in Fogged Clarity’s 2017 Spring Edition, poet Jeffrey Schultz elucidates the ideological constraints plaguing 21st century conceptions of criticality and critical thought. More

Ending in Light

There is a willow tree on Belle Isle that hangs over the Detroit River. At sunset, I would tightrope its thickest limb and jump into the water, breast-stroking there against the current so as not to float away beneath a sky bruised with Easter colors. Instead of God, I’d think of great blue herons and… More

A Thanksgiving Reflection, 2016

How am I doing this? How am I grocery shopping for turkey and ham and potatoes when there are white nationalists being prepped for the White House? How am I reading pie recipes when my indigenous brothers and sisters are being sprayed with water cannons in the freezing Dakota night and being brutally injured by… More

Reflections on the Art of Radical Interruption

On the morning of November 9th, I woke up feeling nauseous. My typically strong digestive system convulsed. The specter of a strange new world, where “President-Elect Trump” was not the punch line of a sadistic joke, made my insides feel liminal, neither here nor there. How do you coherently articulate liminality? How do you express… More

Trumps & Tropes

A poet’s concision speaks to me now, as I wonder how best to say that I am concerned but not surprised. The tug of war nature of America’s relationship with race began centuries ago. We can argue how much race configured the race, but there is also the debate of the role of race in… More

Limits

“Maybe your parents are just limited when it comes to this.” Mr. Howell spoke slowly from the chair he had somehow managed to squeeze out from his desk and turn, to face me. My senior year English teacher’s office was so small, one of us had to stand. In between periods, in the middle of… More

Theoretical Resurrection: Aesthetic Theory and the Anesthetic World

In a December 8, 2016 interview with NPR’s Marketplace, outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, absolutely unaware, explained clearly enough why we face the potential end of human civilization and the potential end of the world. Arguing that the selling of his coffee could not be compared to the selling of pizza because pizza is “too… More

The Gift

Robert Wrigley’s new essay reflects on Sylvia Plath’s last days: “What was Plath at this point, in late October, 1962? If she were a character in my son’s NBA video game, her every drive on the basketball court would be trailed by flames. She was on fire.” More

To the Woken

The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work. —Donald Justice Light and dark, the age old story. Balance between the two yields harmony—night and day, life and death, instruct us in as much. We all sleep, though only some truly wake. In waking, one is aware of the interconnectivity of all things, and not… More

Of Jingoism & Border Security

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” — Hermann Göring (in an interview… More

Bill Callahan at the Edge of Uncertainty

In late February, Bill Callahan concluded his first solo tour in years at the Masonic Lodge on the Hollywood Forever Cemetery grounds in Los Angeles. The west coast jaunt began at a winery in Sonoma, California. “I started this tour in a vineyard,” Callahan tells his audience during the first of two performances that night.… More

Finding the One: A Tortoise Retrospective

Tortoise’s story begins, in a sense, to the sound of Coltrane’s golden lamentation, Africa/Brass, its frenetic drone finding the ears, and fingers, of Doug McCombs and John Herndon circa 1988 in Chicago. The two are playing with Michael Cerzigan in a band dubbed “Simple”, and while the trio never manages to perform beyond their rehearsal… More

Heraclitean Thirst

Poet Dan Beachy-Quick explores space, singularity, and circumference in two impeccable new lyric essays. More

Circles

In July 1862—in the midst of her most productive year as a poet—Emily Dickinson writes a letter to her “mentor” Thomas Wentworth Higginson in which she says, “My Business is Circumference.” A short time later, perhaps in the very same month, dated only with “Friday,” she writes in a letter to Dr. and Mrs. J.… More

How to Name a City

“[Miami] is a profoundly American city – a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth…” —Barack Obama   You waver in the face of the word journey. This could mean more loss, but all the not-belonging has metabolized into longing, so you… More

The Girls We Love

Alaina Symanovich I stretched out on my stomach, burying a pillow beneath my ribcage so my small breasts wouldn’t grind into the mattress. At thirteen, what I lacked in mammary tissue, I made up for in soreness: chafing under my sports bra, wincing beneath the blast of the showerhead, yelping when I bungled catching a… More

God Hates Ventriloquists

Morgan Hughes I will put aside, at least for the moment, the eternal debate, which some might correctly suggest is unwinnable, regarding the existence of God—particularly that much-depicted God with the white beard, the flowing robe; that cloud-dwelling father figure, that great and powerful authority who some might say sounds a little like the Wizard… More

Poetry & Smoke: A Manifesto

Elaine Sexton I am for a poetry that makes nothing happen. I’m for a poetry that is too young to date, but too old to overlook. I’m for a poetry that wants to paint. I was thinking of those huge paintings by Francis Bacon at the Metropolitan last summer. There must have been about fifty… More

Caminito

…the sign on the corner building read, beside which a street light arched like a back and two tangueros strode across the cover of the leather-bound journal that was to be my first purchase in Buenos Aires. “Little road or journey,” it signifies, though the flight to South America is not diminutive. Distance is not… More