January Magazine Rack Looking Back

I read a lot of magazines, which almost feels like it doesn’t count as reading.  You read and read and get nowhere; there’s a new one the next month.  On the other hand I am inspired by some of what of find, as was the case this month.

Poetry Magazine Centential Edition

I like literature, but I like literary history even more: it’s got everything: lives, lit and crit, all rolled up into one.  Penelope Pizzoni´s piece about digging through Poetry´s archives I found compelling and honest.  Her choices of poems, as well as her explanation of her criteria were great.  I also like the review of T.S Eliot´s letters by Adam Kirsch.  It takes guts to write like you´re the ultimate literary authority when you´re a banker, with little name recognition.  He still seems like an asshole, but at least one you can almost relate with – that is until he does become established.

The Believer

First, whiting out the cover looks really cool, but the article itself is even better.  What might on the surface seem experimental turns out to be almost its own genre, with its own history to boot.  Jeannie Vanasco does a fine job walking the reader through a variety of erasure works without being superficial.

Harper’s

Daniel Alarcon’s captivating crónica about a jail in Peru made my morning a week ago. Also, the excerpt from John D’Agata’s new book is basically an e-mail conversation with a fact-checker from The Believer.  Looking forward to the book.

Jacket

It´s not from this month, or even this decade however I discovered this article by Elaine Equi about the work of Ed Ruscha and Aram Saroyan, and in a broader sense conceptual art and minimalist poetry.  I had never made the connection but it absolutely makes sense.  It also places Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work alongside Ed Ruscha’s, not to mention Joe Brainard – who by the way has a new, complete anthology due out this year -.  Elaine cites this brilliant Brainard one liner:

“PHOTOGRAPHY
A child on the beach may be important.”

Cabinet Fall 2011

This interview with Sianne Ngai I read twice.  Ngai is a cultural theorist, or an aesthetic philosopher but probably both.  She writes about what she calls ¨minor or non-cathartic¨ categories of aesthetics.  I have added her books to my Amazon wish list and hope to be able to afford them when I go back to the States to summer.

Now that January´s over I can move on to start reading February issues.  I feel like I´m getting nowhere, but it feels good.  I guess I’m getting something.

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