Words like Bombs

The introduction to this week’s Poem Worth Reading is taken from Bart Schneider’s forthcoming novel, the highly Minneapolized The Man in the Blizzard: "Sometimes I wonder why Americans are as afraid of poetry as they are of al-Qaeda. Screw the ones who’ve decided that poetry’s an effete enterprise. Let ‘em party with the homophobes. It’s […]

Warlocks Cover the Turf

The music filled the room. Emanating from a trio of guitars, chords resonated with chords and dispersed throughout the Turf Club on Wednesday night, thick and palpable as the fog that periodically came out from the fog machines. Steady percussion from bass and drums crept under the noise to make it danceable (or at least […]

Borges on Bloom

The introduction to this week’s Poem Worth Reading is taken from Bart Schneider’s forthcoming novel, the highly Minneapolized The Man in the Blizzard: "Sometimes I wonder why Americans are as afraid of poetry as they are of al-Qaeda. Screw the ones who’ve decided that poetry’s an effete enterprise. Let ‘em party with the homophobes. It’s […]

Happy (Belated) Bloomsday!

Last night, The University Club of St. Paul hosted their annual Bloomsday celebration, honoring James Joyce’s Ulysses, a novel whose action takes place on June 16, 1904. A group of eighty or so people, primarily sexagenarian (by one superficial participant’s observations), gathered in a well-lit room. Aside from a fairly amazing reading of Molly’s soliloquy […]

Are All Critics Obsolete?

Steadily as the American dollar, the value of informed opinions is decreasing. As information becomes ever more accessible and democratized, thanks to the likes of Google and Wikipedia and Things White People Like, the necessity for critics — previously our cultural gatekeepers — seems to be vanishing. Whether it’s food, music, or movies, the corresponding […]

Not actually an actual poem, per se

The introduction to this week’s Poem Worth Reading is taken from Bart Schneider’s forthcoming novel, the highly Minneapolized The Man in the Blizzard: "Sometimes I wonder why Americans are as afraid of poetry as they are of al-Qaeda. Screw the ones who’ve decided that poetry’s an effete enterprise. Let ‘em party with the homophobes. It’s […]

Read Your Heart Out

I still can’t say whether the act of reading is more exit or entrance. Even as books and criticism concern about half of my professional life – and my professional life concerns about half of my life-life (er, carry the one…) – when I’m reading a novel, assigned or otherwise, I still feel like I’m […]

Stephen King's "Inferno"

In the last decade or so, Stephen King has been winning praise from institutions that, if not reviling him, had at least brushed him off as a not-so-serious author. Lisey’s Story and Duma Key, his last two novels, received overwhelmingly positive criticism from The New York Times and other reviews; in 2003 he was awarded […]

Max Ross: Published Poet

Welcome to a possibly special edition of Poem Worth Reading. The very title of this Cracking Spines segment — that is, Poem Worth Reading — is jeopardized with today’s entry. But because this is a blog, and should thereby not be held to any qualitative standards (self-imposed or otherwise), and because I got the go-ahead […]

Annihilating a Collective Memory

"Hitler believed modernists couldn’t see color as it was in nature, or humans as they were in life," remarks one of the scholars interviewed in The Rape of Europa — a documentary on the artistic pillaging perpetrated by the Nazi army during World War II. "He viewed this as a racial deficiency." And with that, […]