You are being led to yourself

putting things down and picking things up.

Every night you wash in loss and satisfaction.

You have not yet learned the language of your prayers

but have felt them move inside you like a child.

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Thaddeus Rutkowski, Guess and Check — Review

Although I daresay he didn’t originate this style, there is a form of writing where reality and dream are mixed in a special way, which has become associated with Murakami, but which has been given new twists by American authors, most notably in the way it has been given a novel direction and dynamic by Thad Rutkowski in his new collection of short stories, Guess and Check.

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Jim Feast
Review of Wu Kong

If, judging by the trailers, the summer’s great female assassin film will not be Atomic Blonde, but Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess, I know from having just seen it that so far the summer’s great action film isDerek Kwok’s Wu Kong with its repeated tagline, “My name will be remembered a million years, Sun Wu Kong.”

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Review of Chester B. Himes: A Biography

In an arena of fans and critics primed for the often-bloody sport of declamation, it takes much nerve to attempt to tell the definitive story of a major literary figure. But with Chester B. Himes: A Biography, author Lawrence Jackson lays his game down flat and provides the most wonderful and illuminating portrait of Himes that we are likely to get.

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Children’s Books Missed These Immigrant Stories. So Students Wrote Them. (NYTimes)

Greatness surrounds Melissa Cabrera when she attends classes at Bronx Community College. That should not be surprising, because the campus is home to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, where busts of scientists, scholars and statesmen, among others, line a grand colonnade that wraps around Gould Memorial Library, an architectural treasure designed by Stanford White.

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Jay-Z Embraces the Feminine--and So Much More--on Astounding 4:44

It’s a foolhardy attempt to try and nail down any lyrics-driven album in a single set of bars, especially one authored by a rapper of Jay-Z’s legendary, layered dexterity. But early on in the confessional “4:44,” the rapper born Shawn Carter states: “I apologize, often womanize/Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes/Took me these natural twins to believe in miracles/Took me too long for this song/I don’t deserve you.” The dual facts that a truly soul-searching statement from such a titan of rap has been long forthcoming and that he now better understands both his feminine side and the myths of masculinity are two of the multiple animating elements at work on the rapper’s shockingly good thirteenth studio album, 4:44.

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Whitney Biennial Review

Biennials are a strange thing by their nature. Meant to represent the cream of the artistic crop, these biannual events offer an implicit promise for both artistic excellence (however one chooses to define that these days) and sharp social commentary. In this way the art displayed at a biennial serves a dual purpose: to assure highbrow connoisseurs that quality fine art is still being produced, and at the same time to reflect the zeitgeist. This zeitgeist does not belong to the rarified air of the New York art world, however, or the downtown scenesters sipping wine out of plastic cups in the antiseptic spaces of Chelsea art galleries. The zeitgeist is messy. It consists of violent video games, mass shootings, mind-boggling inequality, opiate addiction, racial tension, social media, and a consumer economy based on cheap labor, disposable products, and omnipresent advertising. In other words, it is about as far from 19th century French impressionism as one could possibly get.

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