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Saturday, 19 May


Keep Looking michaelwrites

the dream is what I really was thinking about
even as I kept working and thoroughly enjoyed
another anniversary dinner each one unique we
have so much to draw on you had lamb I rabbit

walking down the mountain I was barefoot and
wondered how they got the food up for dinners
it all seems so impractical why anyone bothers
but we do keep looking for the very best views


The Arena (Flower) New Online Books

The Arena, ed. by B. O. Flower (full serial archives)

New Occasions New Online Books

New Occasions (partial serial archives)

The New Time (Flower) New Online Books

The New Time, ed. by B. O. Flower and Frederick Upham Adams (partial serial archives)

Christian Epigraphy (Marucchi) New Online Books

Christian Epigraphy: An Elementary Treatise, with a Collection of Ancient Christian Inscriptions, Mainly of Roman Origin (Cambridge, UK: At the University press, 1912), by Orazio Marucchi, trans. by J. Armine Willis (stable link)

Crichton (Ainsworth) New Online Books

Crichton (3 volumes; London: R. Bentley, 1837), by William Harrison Ainsworth (stable link)

Canadian Law Library Review / Revue Canadienne des Bibliothques de Droit New Online Books

Canadian Law Library Review / Revue Canadienne des Bibliothques de Droit (issues online 2013-) (partial serial archives)


Madame Hessel in a Red Robe Reading, douard Vuillard, 1905 The Lion of Chaeronea

Madame Hessel in a Red Robe Reading, douard Vuillard, 1905


Art History Questions The Lion of Chaeronea


Frida Kahlo: Name something special that makes you unique. 
Rebecca Louise Law: What is your favorite flower? 
Leonora Carrington: Did you have any imaginary friends as a child? 
James Turrell: What is your favorite color?
Henri Mattise: Describe your aesthetic?
Odilon Redon: Do you believe in the afterlife?
Miranda July: Are you an introvert or an extravert? 
Joseph Cornell: Do you collect anything?
Henry Fuseli: Do you have any reoccurring nightmares? 
Barbara Kruger: What is your unpopular opinion?
Mike Kelley: What was your favorite toy when you were a child?
Frances Stark: What book have you re-read so many times that the cover is completely worn?
Alphonse Mucha: What is your favorite season? 
Vilhelm Hammershi: Are you a morning person or a night person?
Rirkrit Tiravanija: Do you enjoy cooking? What is your favorite thing to make?
Whitfield Lovell: Do you have any interesting stories about your ancestors? 
Amy Sherald: Who do you most admire? 
Cindy Sherman: What is your MBTI personality?
Remedios Varo: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Do Ho Suh: Describe your ideal apartment or house.
Lena Nyadbi: Describe your strongest memory as a child.
Nam June Paik: What is your favorite TV show?
Robert Rauschenberg: What is your favorite thrift/antique shop find? 
Gian Lorenzo Bernini: What is your favorite skincare product?
John William Waterhouse: Do you have a favorite fairy tale?
Mary Cassat: Do you want or have children? 
Marina Abramovi: Do you have trust issues when it comes to relationships?
Yaoi Kusama: What is your travel bucket list?  
Jeff Koons: If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would buy (after do all the responsible things like hire a lawyer, invest, pay your loans, etc.)?
Ai Weiwei: Have you ever participated in a protest or march? 
Myoung Ho Lee: What is the most incredible place in nature youve visited?
Anicka Yi: What is your favorite smell, what memories does it evoke?
Merce Cunningham: Do you like to dance?
The Guerrilla Girls: Who are your top five favorite women artists?
Tara Donovan: What are your views on environmental protection and climate change?
Artemisia Gentileschi: What is your greatest achievement? 


Portrait head of the Roman emperor Lucius Verus (r. 161-169 CE,... The Lion of Chaeronea

Portrait head of the Roman emperor Lucius Verus (r. 161-169 CE, jointly with Marcus Aurelius), sculpted from Pentelic marble.  Found in Athens; now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.  Photo credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis/Wikimedia Commons.


Staff Picks: Garbage Gods, Bachelors, and Doinks The Paris Review

Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder, 2018. Installation view. Photo: Lance Brewer, courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York. The Rammellzee Estate 2018.


I first learned about the artist Rammellzee from Dave Tompkinss book, How to Wreck a Nice Beach, and I saw his Letter Racer sculptures in an exhibition a few years ago (which Tompkins wrote about for the Daily). Rammellzee is easily one of the most unique and most overlooked artists of the past fifty years, but until seeing the survey Racing for Thunder this week at Red Bull Arts New York, I hadnt realized the extent of his genius. Its impossible to sum up the breadth and depth of his Ikonoklast Panzerism (in which language is armored for protection) and the prophetic Gothic Futurist project in a few sentencesoverlapping modes of music, graffiti, collage, performance, sculpture, writing. He worked according to faith and intellect and intense creativity. Included in this show are his Garbage Gods, intricate costumes constructed from material found on the streets of New York. (His loft-studio, the Battle Station, was on Laight Street in Tribeca.) Each figure is composed of and encrusted with myriad small objectsbelt buckles, calculators, radio antennae, jewelry, lots of random plastic stuffbut the individual items disappear into the form of the structure; the whole is the sum of its parts. In these costumes, the fluidity of Rammellzees vision is most apparent: in a bit of discarded nothingness, he saw not just a larger creation but a world, a system, and a future. Nicole Rudick 

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly...


Predella Panel Representing the Legend of St. Stephen: The... The Lion of Chaeronea

Predella Panel Representing the Legend of St. Stephen: The Stoning of St. Stephen/The Burial of St. Stephen, Mariotto di Nardo, 1408


Arshile Gorkys Muse Recalls Their First Date The Paris Review

Gorky and Fielding at an early stage of their relationship, taken by her brother on a beach near Norfolk, Virginia, in 1941. Image courtesy the Arshile Gorky Foundation.


Like most troubled romances, that between the famed Abstract Expressionist painter Arshile Gorky and Agnes Magruder (who later became Agnes Gorky Fielding) began with a misunderstanding. In February 1941, Willem de Kooning and Elaine Fried, themselves soon to be wed, encouraged the pair to attend a party so that they might meet. Gorky was expecting a blond, Agnes an extrovert, and though their expectations were initially disappointed, they quickly fell in love. He called her Mougouch (little mighty one), which she took as her name, and she moved into his apartment within the month. She became his muse, and together they had two children. Her life, in the years that followed, became consumed with housework, an occupation she resented with increasing disdain. Soon, things took a dark turn: the barn that housed Gorkys paintings burned down; he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and underwent a colostomy; she had an affair with a Surrealist; he had a car accident in which he broke his neck and temporarily paralyzed his painting arm; she tried to soothe him; he pushed her down the stairs. When she and their children fled for her mothers in Virginia, he hanged himself in a shed. She continued to shepherd his legacy, arranging exhibitions and sales of his work. Below, she recounts her initial meetings with him. 


Her First Evening with Gorky

On our first night out, Gorky gave me supper at an Armenian restaurant on Thirty-Eighth Street. Afterward, we went for a walk uptown. It was snowing. We eventually arrived at Central Park and went right on walking. We got to the reservoir on Eighty-Sixth Street and went round it. Then back down the park, down Fifth Avenue as far as Fifty-Eighth Street, where I announced, Im hungry. It was about two in the morning. Gorky had to feed me all over again.

It was a strang...

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Friday, 18 May


For Sarah The Paris Review


I was drinking coffee with a friend in Los Angeles, in an adorable cafe that also happened to sell books. On a whim, I decided to see if they had any of mine.

I made my way to the ws, and there it wasmy first novelon the shelf. I felt happiness followed immediately by anxiety. Why had nobody purchased it?

I opened the book and realized it was a used copy. There was the inscription: For SarahI hope you enjoy my twisted little book! Followed by my signature and the date.

I went through a mental Rolodex, trying to figure out who Sarah might have been. I knew many Sarahsit must have been one of the most popular girls names in the early seventies. I pictured first the writer Sarahs, several of whom I respected greatly as my peers or my same-age betters. I tried to remember whose names ended with an h and whose didnt.

I wanted to impress these Sarahs. I wanted them to find my work as valuable as I had found theirs. It pained me to imagine one of them deaccessioning an inscribed copy of my first novel. 

I had dated a Sarah once too. I tried to remember whether she had come to any of my book events. Yes, she had been there at the publication party. She had been so supportive in those college years. When was that party? I tried to remember the date. Had it really been that long ago? I was back in her parents house, showing her some pages, and then I was in the bookstore, wondering how it had taken so many years to write a couple novels. The habit of writing books has a way of simultaneously compressing and expanding time.

I looked at the inscription again and noticed that the date was earlier than the books publication date by a month. Odd. Then I remembered the book festival. My publisher had provided early copies for my appearance on a fiction panel.

I had been paired with two high-profile debut novelists and an award winner. Many people showed up to the panel, and quite a few lined up to buy the books afterward. (I thought it would always be like that, but in subsequent years, the only other time I saw a crowd of similar size was when one of the panelists was the son of a famous novelist.)

The Sarah of this copy had likely been in the audience at the festival....


The Cat Catches the Mouse This Is My Truth Now

This was my face (this morning) when I noticed my little Bro had liked many of our comments, over the last few daysimg_3392

He knows! The mouse has been caught!

The good news is, he did not take my access to his blog away, so we are golden!  Maybe he had a bit too much grape juice again and was just liking everything!?  Hmmmmmm There were over 40 likes!  And, he never left a single comment.  We also chatted yesterday afternoon, and the topic NEVER came up!  Interesting I just might be in the clear!



Industrial Explorings In and Around London (Andom) New Online Books

Industrial Explorings In and Around London (London: J. Clarke and Co., 1895), by R. Andom, illust. by T. M. R. Whitwell (illustrated HTML with commentary at

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) New Online Books

Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare (multiple editions)

Symphony (No. 4) in G major, by An'tonin Dvok (Op. 88) (Dvok) New Online Books

Symphony (No. 4) in G major, by An'tonin Dvok (Op. 88) (full score for what is now usually known as Symphony #8; London: Novello and Co., c1892), by Antonn Dvok (stable link)

American Literature (Metcalf) New Online Books

American Literature (Richmond, VA: Johnson Pub. Co., c1921), by John Calvin Metcalf (stable link)

Ducks, and How to Make Them Pay (Cook) New Online Books

Ducks, and How to Make Them Pay (enlarged and revised edition; Kent and London: The author, ca. 1894), by William Cook (multiple formats at

A Gloybn Far Umgloybike (Rivkin) New Online Books

A Gloybn Far Umgloybike (essay collection in Yiddish; New York: D. Ignatov Literatur-Fond, 1947), by B. Rivkin (stable link)

The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, Knt., Guelp., Ll.D., F.R.S., Including Early Papers Hitherto Unpublished (Herschel) New Online Books

The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, Knt., Guelp., Ll.D., F.R.S., Including Early Papers Hitherto Unpublished (2 volumes; London: Royal Society and Royal Astronomical Society, 1912), by William Herschel, ed. by Royal Society (Great Britain) and Royal Astronomical Society, contrib. by J. L. E. Dreyer (stable link)

Shakespeare's Tragedy of Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) New Online Books

Shakespeare's Tragedy of Julius Caesar: Edited, With Notes (Boston et al: Silver, Burdett and Co., 1894), by William Shakespeare, ed. by Homer B. Sprague (stable link)

The Bugler of Algiers (Sheehan) New Online Books

The Bugler of Algiers (originally published as "We Are French!"; New York: G. H. Doran Co., c1916), by Perley Poore Sheehan and Robert H. Davis (stable link)

An Archaeological Survey of Guntersville Basin on the Tennessee River in Northern Alabama (Webb) New Online Books

An Archaeological Survey of Guntersville Basin on the Tennessee River in Northern Alabama (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, c1951), by William S. Webb and Charles G. Wilder (page images at HathiTrust)

Revolt of the Rednecks (Kirwan) New Online Books

Revolt of the Rednecks: Mississippi Politics, 1876-1925 (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1951), by Albert Dennis Kirwan (page images at HathiTrust)

The University of Kentucky (Hopkins) New Online Books

The University of Kentucky: Origins and Early Years (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, c1951), by James F. Hopkins (page images at HathiTrust)

The Reach of Art (Adler) New Online Books

The Reach of Art: A Study in the Prosody of Pope (humanities monograph #16; Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, c1964), by Jacob H. Adler (page images at HathiTrust)

God and Caesar in Nebraska (Zabel) New Online Books

God and Caesar in Nebraska: A Study of the Legal Relationship of Church and State, 1854-1954 (University of Nebraska studies, new series #14; Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 1955), by Orville Herman Zabel (page images at HathiTrust)

The Tragedie of Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) New Online Books

The Tragedie of Julius Caesar (London: G. G. Harrap and Co., ca. 1908), by William Shakespeare, ed. by William Henry Hudson (page images at HathiTrust; US access only)


Flowers and Birds, Franz Xaver Petter (1791-1866) The Lion of Chaeronea

Flowers and Birds, Franz Xaver Petter (1791-1866)


Tea Gathering: Women of the Hei Era (from the series Thirty-Six... The Lion of Chaeronea

Tea Gathering: Women of the Hei Era (from the series Thirty-Six Elegant Selections), Toshikata Mizuno, 1893


Where is My Book? This Is My Truth Now

Im back!  What does this mean?  This means that my Little Bro is having fun on his vacation and not checking social media!  Woo Hoo! I am so proud of him!  (Lets still keep this on the down low)img_3369

I would never want Jay worrying about anything that might be happening here at home. We all know that after writing his second novel, Father Figure, he deserves a break!

Speaking of Father Figure  I admit, I have read it twice!  This morning, I was sitting at my desk, and I noticed it was missing! Where is my book?!  Then, I heard a shuffle behind me MURPHY!!!



Poetry Rx: You All Have Lied The Paris Review

In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion and our resident poetsSarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartztake turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Claire Schwartz is on the line.


Original illustration by Ellis Rosen.


Dear Poets, 

I feel like Im living in a world of decay right now. My mother and both of her brothers are dying of Huntingtons disease, which slowly kills your mind and body over a decade or so (think ALS + Parkinsons + Alzheimers + extra mood/psychological challenges). My other mother has cognitive challenges that are making it hard for her to manage their care, and she seems to be worsening. As a twenty-six-year-old, I certainly am capable of taking on responsibility, but I often find myself feeling like a scared, lost child.

Ive moved back home to New Orleans to help, but I struggle to find anything like optimism or contentment. My city is also in a state of cultural and physical decayits being taken over by those who seek to exploit my fellow native New Orleanians. These things (and of course the state of the world) weigh on me daily. 

Hoping you might have a poem to bring a little solace,
Seeking Hope


Dear Seeking Hope,

When someone shares their experience of loss, I often think of Lisel Muellers poem, When I Am Asked. The speaker laments the persistence of natural beauty in the face of her mothers death.

Nothing was black or broken
and not a leaf fell
and the sun blared endless commercials
for summer holidays.

Searching not for an erasure of her loss, but for company in her grief, the speaker turns to poems:

[I] placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.

Sometimes, we need to dwell with th...


Whither the Angel in Angels in America? The Paris Review

Emma Thompson in the HBO film of Angels in America.


There are some of us who would rather face death than face our own delusion and, friends, I am one of those people. I have argued for the existence of horrible thingsovarian cancer, bedbugs, even a gluten intolerancerather than face the fact that I am a healthy hypochondriac with a genetically inescapable amount of anxiety. New York did me in, like it does so many people. What began as low-grade anxiety transformedafter a period of uncertain part-time jobs, rent beyond my income bracket, and Daily News ebola headlinesinto near dementia. Why would I want to believe that I was the problem? Creating my own headaches? Heart palpitations? The desire to believe in the self is strong. Hundreds of times that year, as I felt wandering pains and icy chills, I was faced with two options: I was sick in some serious way or I wasat least partlyinsane. The former seemed preferable.

During the worst of my anxiety, one of the many things I couldnt do was sink into Angels in America. In the past, it had been my easy remedy for a bad day or a worse night. I would just open up my two-disc set and turn to any scene in the six-hour masterwork. But anxiety kills empathy, and, when I was at my worst, I couldnt see Kushners story of human dignity. All I could see was sickness.

Since the fall, a painfully negotiated dtente has meant Ive been able to turn to it again. With a starlit revival now up on Broadway, I realized it had been at least a decade since Id read the play itself. There is a magic to seeing the play performed, a magic I still seek to understand, but in rereading the play, I found myself with a new unanswerable question: Is there really an angel in Angels in America

Angels in America begins in the autumn of 1985 and reaches into January of 1986. After Pryor is diagnosed with AIDS, he is abandoned by his lover, Louis. Betrayed, scared, and very sick, he is visited by an Angel. She comes to him many times, played by a female actress on a wire, each time splendid, fabulous, a being of light and spectacle. Ive always thought she was r...


Ceres Teaching Agriculture to King Triptolemus,... The Lion of Chaeronea

Ceres Teaching Agriculture to King Triptolemus, Louis-Jean-Franois Lagrene, 1769

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Thursday, 17 May


Hunting for a Lesbian Canon The Paris Review


At the Aligre flea market near my Parisian flat, I haggle over a trinket Ive decided to give to my on-the-rocks lover. It is a rock, a small but well-shined one. Twenty euros is too much, I insist. Im from Ukraine, I tell the seller, in an attempt to get sympathy for my countrys political climate in the form of a discount. He replies that our eyes are drawn to objects that can read us between the lines. I pay the twenty.

Lets back up: as a Ukrainian kiddo during the fall of the Soviet Union, at six years old, I was held back from starting school while my family awaited immigration approval. The process dragged on for over a year, and when we were finally granted entry into the American Midwest as Jewish refugees, I was seven, and my literacy a club-footed Cyrillic. I was put into an Orthodox Jewish school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began groping my way through two more alphabets, English and Hebrew. The page transformed into a vertical stage, complete with curtains of chattering. 

At home, literature was background music. Pushkin, the Russian Silver Age poets, Mayakovski, Vysotsky, and Okudzhavamy mother sang or recited whole chapters from memory around the house. Her side of the family, intellectualsher father taught Russian literature. My fathers side, laborershis mother was a Moldavian housemaid who fled to Romania, then Ukraine, and spoke with what I thought was an accent and later realized was a mix of three languages within her Russian.

After my three-year stint at Jewish Orthodoxy, I was transferred to a public school, where I traded in long-skirted Torah study for a Slavic-style scoff at American scholastics.

Oh, I blossomed: I was the smart-ass on social aid. I found ways to get around my anxiety of reading. Hey, teacher, I complained, English isnt my first language, so I got out of as many required reading assignments as I could. My parents were none the wiser and all the tired, budgeting on welfare checks, paranoid of losing their jobs, overstudying English, taking business courses to match their Soviet diplomas (Engineering, Applied Mathematics) to the American job market.

So I emerged: Rebel Moskovich with her transgressive zabastovka. I flicked Dickens off my desk and watched it slap the floorno way was I reading five-hund...


Traveling in Style? The Lion of Chaeronea

Martial, Epigrams 2.81

Though your litter may be even broader than one borne by six men,
Still, Zoilus, its a paupers bier, just because its yours.

Laxior hexaphoris tua sit lectica licebit:
     cum tamen haec tua sit, Zoile, sandapila est.

Journey by Sedan Chair, unknown artist, 1828

Tuesday, 15 May


A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing: Xi Jinping in Marxs Skin Sampsonia Way Magazine

The author discussing a statue of Karl Marx gifted from China to the city of Trier. Image via the author.

The world is celebrating Marxs 200th birthday. In his birthplace, Trier, a beautiful town on the Mosel riverside in southwest Germany, there are ancient remains of the Roman Empire, the Porta Nigra, the amphitheater and many other medieval castles and churches. At the site, you get a nostalgic feeling that this is a time tunnel that brings you back in European history. Yet, the city has now received a 45 meter statue of Marx from China and has set it up in the middle of all the historical architectures. Even despite the political tension, most of the citizens in Trier find that this monstrous bronze figure does not match the aesthetic or artistic taste of our time.

For months, there has been a controversial discussion in Germany: to be or not to be? To accept or not accept the donation from China? That is the question. A Poisonous Gift was the title of a panel discussion organized by the Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen Memorial museum on April 9th in Trier, where I was invited with historians and politicians. Among the 4 panelists, only the Trier vice-mayor was protecting the decision of his city government, which was that the statue should be erected since it will attract more tourists from China and animate more cultural exchange. Indeed, Trier welcomes over 50 thousand visitors from China yearly, and with Marx made in China, the city expects a new wave of tourism. But most Asian guests come with just with their cameras, take pictures, buy some souvenirs, and thats it.

  1. Blind Chess, a column by Tienchi Martin-Liao
  2. During the Cultural Revolution, people were sentenced to death or outright murdered because of one wrong sentence. In China today writers do not lose their lives over their poems or articles; howeve...

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