Selections from THE LENS


Lauren Levin

But I’m in love with the form being molten,
and now I focus, but will focus keep me from smearing
myself over the landscape and what was in the air I could forget
Reagan meadow the landscape burning from a lens
(water pushing against my thighs)
and if into myself to stretch my center, safe house, resounded ghost,
is this is so boring, I was here - space besides and dead besides
a shooting uterine pain a tight point in myself is something else
and how expanding how I talk to my mom for the fourth time today
and there’s being you or which you will I be
and I fear it happening and fear it not happening,
and then I feel stuck, and there’s the one embryo not happening,
to convulse my nerves and then I feel stuck.

Read more: Selections from THE LENS

The Unfollowing


Lyn Hejinian

Afloat in a glass-bottom boat, I see into the sea—a miniscule emerald memento
That the strongest social bonds are forged by language doesn’t nullify
        the power that dancing around the puppet effigies of the men
        in power has
On the solemn face of the glinting belly is a button baby
You have to know how to roll on the horizon

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Jessica O. Marsh

It is a repetitive concern, chopped out by erasure. It is a bird beating in a wet bag near your hair, near your childhood hair in the sun. It is the dun and tangerine loose, treading, dipping, stunned. Déjà vu the moment your body is a circle, perfect. And what do we speak of, again? The mind, the mind, mistakes, the tangerine light... None of it definitive.

Read more: Sunspots

Letter from New York


Karen Garthe

Saturday afternoon, I took the train from Astoria to Prince Street. Navigating East, through the brick wall to brick wall Soho throng, I crossed that little cement slab of park that bisects the Lower East Side to Rivington Street, past the haunted (still exotic) dereliction of the Rivington Street Synagogue. I was on my way to see “Narcissister IS YOU” at envoy enterprises, a very small gallery with a big name. The upstairs gallery space had an array of poster- size photos and a couple of “interactive” Barbie-like masks where you could place your face and gaze into the opposing mirror...then, voila! Narcissister is you!

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Essays on the Avant-Garde


Edoardo Sanguineti

The structural etymology of the avant-garde has been perfectly outlined by Benjamin in his description of Baudelaire’s attitude toward the literary market
: the poet’s inescapable prostitution to the market as objective appeal, and to the artistic product as commodity. Benjamin’s explanation is accurate because the avant-garde is a phenomenon that, in spite of apparent analogies to historical circumstances belonging to other cultures, proves in its final, most profound form to be (as everyone knows) utterly romantic and bourgeois (Benjamin: “Of course, personal rivalries between poets are as old as the hills. But here the rivalry is transposed into competition on the open market. The goal was a victory in that arena, not the patronage of a prince”).

Read more: Essays on the Avant-Garde

Questions in Caracas


Patrick Madden

What will become of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution without its great helmsman Hugo Chávez? A comparison: in special presidential elections held six weeks after Chávez’s death on March 5, 2013, his appointed successor, former vice president Nicolas Maduro, defeated Democratic Unity opposition candidate and Miranda state governor Enrique Capriles by less than 2% of the vote. Only six months earlier Chávez had crushed the neoliberal Capriles by 11 points. Was Maduro’s narrow victory the first sign—as mainstream pundits saw it—that Chávismo without Chávez was in retreat? Before concluding too hastily, consult George Ciccariello-Maher’sWe Created Chavez: A Peoples’ History of the Venezuelan Revolution. The subject of his “history from below” is the popular base upon which Chávez’s regime rested: the armed left-wing parties and autonomous collectives forming the very core of the country’s revolutionary tradition.

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A Fighting Truth


David Lau

If militant artistic commitment has emerged in the present global protest, then the old debates and controversies won’t be far behind. As Adorno argued in his famed criticism of Sartre and Brecht, commitment in literature and art, as opposed to political “tendency,” works not by way of “ameliorative measures, legislative acts, or practical institutions,” but at “the level of fundamental attitudes.”

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The Fire Sermon


Joshua Clover

The poem must be on the side of riots looting barricades occupations manifestos communes slogans fire and enemies.

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Ben Lerner

It was not my intention to travel in time,
watch him distribute dried fruit and sweet
crackers to soldiers in hospital, small sums,
writing their letters, this was back when
you might take it to a cousin to be read
under a cut glass lamp.


Two Poems


Rosebud Ben-Oni

I’m your first world problem.

I’m your benetton dream
Gone rotten.
Goodbye, rhythm nation, 
I’m quite nasty on my own.
I’m under bridges burning cash
In aquanet bangs and riding pants. 
I owe the pleasure of this dream 
To your charitable vaccines, 
To send this kid to summer camp 
So she’ll flow
Like viva-la-lohan
Like a subprime loan— 

Read more: Two Poems

Be Angry


Claudia Rankine

Hennessy Youngman aka Jayson Musson, whose “Art Thoughtz” takes the form tutorials on the internet, educated YouTube viewers on contemporary art issues. In one of his many videos he addresses how to become a successful black artist, wryly suggesting black people's anger is marketable.

Read more: Be Angry

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