Posts by: Michael Berger

Zombies Meet Joy Division

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More and more “serious” “literary” writers are turning to zombies, werewolves, and vampires for inspiration. This could be symptomatic of something dire or something hopeful in the world of writing. We could dither endlessly about the ramifications. But perhaps we need to stop abstractly generalizing and focus on specifics instead. Case in point: Colson Whitehead’s […]

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On Law, Zines and Trans Politics

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“. . .there has been widescale attacks on social movements over the last thirty or forty years in response to the very meaningful social movements in the sixties and seventies that had very transformative demands, that were seeking a redistribution of wealth and of life chances in really significant ways. “What’s emerged in their place […]

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Reimagining The Memoir

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“That it is being considered as book of criticism, rather than as memoir, seems the luck of the draw. Some of the essays in it were originally published in the guise of book reviews, but they always jump the rails of literary journalism and go off on their own course — assessing not just the […]

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Joining The Penny Club

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“Writers love to watch their online listings. First, there’s watching the rankings that can be ginned up by a one-day spike. Then noticing, sometimes within days of being listed, used and like new copies of their books for sale by some seller, like, in the middle of Michigan. And last, watching the price of their […]

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No Government World Record

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I’m only a little bit Belgian but enough to have pride when “my country” celebrates a new record: going the longest of any country without a functioning government. To honor this record, I suggest a monastic ale paired crash course in terrific Belgian writers: Luc Sante, Raoul Vaneigem and the very strange Henri Michaux just […]

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Wisdom Of The Day

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Comes from Gary Snyder from his influential and beautiful book of essays, The Practice Of The Wild. It’s in the opening essay, “The Etiquette Of Freedom” where he says: “Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to […]

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Swamps Meet Hitchcock

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“So I guess I don’t feel like I seek strangeness out—I feel like we’re all surrounded by it—but there’s so much bewildering noise in our culture right now, at such a deafening and constant volume, that it’s easy for me to become inured to the strangeness of any ‘ordinary’ Tuesday.” The Book Bench talks to […]

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Zadie Smith On Novel Writing

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“Fiction needs intellect, but it can’t survive on intellect alone. . .It has to arrive at the other embarrassing things, things that seem too banal to talk about in like the appreciation of small details of things that other people leave at home because they’re not worth discussing…Questions that intelligent people would find too dumb […]

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On Prose, Pararadoxes and Proofs

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“But even from the inside of a human life, it’s possible to see when you’ve made a baby seal out of thin air, and someone is coming along to bash its head in with a club, because its coat is silky, and because you have the awesomely exploitable ability to rearrange matter, to have creatures […]

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The Lay Of The Land

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As a writer trying to write about “America,”  my biggest struggle has been fully grasping the variety of spaces that is contained within America. Which is why I’ve been an avid supporter of the Center For Land Use Interpretation for many years. It’s a sort of tepid name for an eclectic and useful nonprofit organization […]

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The H.D. Book: A Clarion Call for all Artists and Writers

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In school I took a class on female poets and was instantly taken with the poetry of H.D., especially her later work Trilogy, a savage and mythic poem about rediscovering meaning in the ruins of war. One of the founding Imagists, H.D. was Ezra Pound’s muse, D.H. Lawrence’s “platonic lover” and friend and one-time patient […]

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Broke? Tired of Joyce Carol Oates? Go to the Fake AWP!

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Breaking news from the world of AWP and everything associated with it: “To provide a haven for those either too broke, too busy, or too disillusioned (with the fact that really it ought to be AWWP, jeez) to attend the massive four-day conference in Washington, D.C., an assortment of Brooklyn writers and editors are taking […]

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Percival Everett on Franzen, Sexism and The Great American Novel

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“I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman.  I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom.  Sadly, the culture usually calls these […]

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Alaa al Aswany and the Egyptian Uprising

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“Aswany has participated in the protests with a passion. He will will write a book about the events still unfolding here: ‘It has been a unique experience not to read about history but to live inside history,’ he told The Independent yesterday.” Egyptian author Alaa al Aswany talks about the uprising in Egypt and about […]

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Mary Roach Talks Coca-Cola and Writing Habits

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“I love that discussion about Coca-Cola spending $450,000 to have Coke in space because carbonation is not lighter up there. Everything weighs the same. The gas stays in the middle, it doesn’t rise to the top, so they spent $450,000 making carbonation work in space so they could say, ‘Official Carbonated Beverage of the International […]

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More Pacazo

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“It’s a shaggy-dog tale, one that eventually—boldly—invites comparison to its great progenitor, Don Quixote. In cutting a classic wide swath, Pacazo exposes itself to risk, a tricky balance between hilarity and horror. By and large, though, this rangy novel earns its claim to the old knight’s inheritance.” John Domini at Bookforum gives a great review […]

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