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Readings

Excerpts from the best and most bizarre new books, testimonies, government documents, journals, news reports, speeches, and letters.

Swamp Things

From reported behaviors of Republican legislators who were elected or reelected in November. Posted erotic drawings of bigfootVoted to make it legal to kill hibernating wolves and bearsBragged about shooting…

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Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece (Grupp X, nr 2, Altarbild) and Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece (Grupp X, nr 1, Altarbild)

Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece (Grupp X, nr 2, Altarbild) and Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece (Grupp X, nr 1, Altarbild), 1915, oil and metalleaf paintings on canvas by Hilma…

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Pillars

Pillars, a painting by Andy Piedilato, whose work was on view last May at Art New York, in New York City. Courtesy the artist and Danese/Corey, New York City

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Visits from the Goon Squad

From behaviors of Little Rock, Arkansas, police, cited by the department since 2007. The internal reports were made public in October, following an investigation of the killing of Bobby Moore,…

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The Water Theater

From a manuscript in progress. Smith’s chapbook, Zodiac B, was published by Ninepin Press in 2016. It is delightful to sit by the edge of the lake under the yellow…

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Untitled

Untitled, a painting by Stephanie Pierce, whose work was on view last February at Steve Harvey Fine Art Projects, in New York City. Courtesy the artist and Steve Harvey Fine…

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Nostos

From a manuscript in progress. Every morning we wept an hour then went to see a toolwhining up from under the floorboards through himbarefoot in the doorway betrayed and unconsolableunable…

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Office of Misinformation

From a list of accounts purged by Facebook for spam and “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” released by the company in October. Wake The Fuck UpNation in DistressViral Alternative NewsRight-Wing NewsAnti-MediaExposing the…

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“Flowers for Lisa #39: After Georges Braque,” “Flowers for Lisa #62: After Louise Bourgeois,” “Flowers for Lisa #51,” and “Flowers for Lisa #55”

Top to bottom: “Flowers for Lisa #39: After Georges Braque,” “Flowers for Lisa #62: After Louise Bourgeois,” “Flowers for Lisa #51,” and “Flowers for Lisa #55,” photographs by Abelardo Morell,…

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Life’s a Beech

From Casting Deep Shade, which will be published by Copper Canyon Press next month. Wright (1949–2016) was a poet from the Arkansas Ozarks whose 2010 work, One With Others, was…

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Whisky Lullaby

From “Majed,” which appears in Elsewhere, Home, a collection that will be published next month by Black Cat. Aboulela is a novelist and playwright and was the first recipient of…

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Smithereens

From “I’ll Swallow Your Dreams,” which appears in Good Will Come From the Sea, a collection that will be published in February by Archipelago. Ikonomou’s other collections include The Woman…

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People Like Me

From Black Is the Body, which will be published in February by Knopf. Bernard is a professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of Vermont,…

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Box-Seat Drivers

From complaint letters addressed to the New York Philharmonic and subsequent responses, stored in the orchestra’s archive. The letters are dated from 1952–1953. Dimitri Mitropoulos was the music director of…

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I Flirted with the Women

From To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight, which was published in September by Wave Books. Hayes’s…

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Literary Agents

From descriptions of writers included in FBI surveillance reports. The files were published this year by MIT Press. The collection, Writers Under Surveillance, was edited by JPat Brown, B.C.D. Lipton,…

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Bad Faith Arguments

From explanations given by priests as to why sexual abuse was acceptable, as described in Pennsylvania’s “Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report.” The report, which was released in August, examines…

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The Present is Constant Elegy

From a manuscript in progress that will be published by Wesleyan University Press in 2020. Those years when I was alive, I lived the era of the fast car. There…

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“Mistral-sculpted Snow, Mont Ventoux”

“Mistral-sculpted Snow, Mont Ventoux,” a photograph by Rachel Cobb, whose monograph Mistral: The Legendary Wind of Provence was published last month by Damiani. Cobb’s work is on view this month…

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Reitscape

Reitscape, a mixed-media artwork by Alison Elizabeth Taylor, whose work is on view this month at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. © The artist. Courtesy James Cohan…

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Big Bend Border Bloom

Big Bend Border Bloom, a painting by Rosson Crow, whose work was on view last year at Honor Fraser Gallery, in Los Angeles. Courtesy the artist and Honor Fraser Gallery,…

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Untitled XXIII and Untitled XXVII

Untitled XXIII and Untitled XXVII, paintings by Merikokeb Berhanu, whose work was on view in September at FNB Joburg Art Fair, in Johannesburg. Courtesy the artist and Addis Fine Art…

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Ethereal Desire

Ethereal Desire, a mixed-media artwork by YoAhn Han, whose work was on view in August at Chase Young Gallery, in Boston. Courtesy the artist and Chase Young Gallery, Boston.

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A Dream

By Christopher Nealon, from “The Shore,” a manuscript in progress. For Saba Mahmood. Then I gave it upI gave up thinking that the song I heard was the song of…

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Foresight

By Rae Armantrout, from End Quote, a poetry collection that will be published by Wesleyan University Press in 2020.     1The way we gatherat the window, pointing with funereal…

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“Ça Va Aller #3”

“Ça Va Aller #3,” an embroidered photograph by Joana Choumali, whose work was on view in May at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, in Brooklyn, New York. Courtesy the artist…

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“Dictyota dichotoma, in the young state; and in fruit”

“Dictyota dichotoma, in the young state; and in fruit,” a cyanotype by Anna Atkins, c. 1850, from her book Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, Part XI. Atkins’s work is…

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A Divine Pat

From Professor at Large, which was published last month by Cornell University Press. It must have seemed some kind of risk to request a sermon from a man once so…

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February 2019