More and more readers turn to The Best American Magazine Writing for their annual fix of the year's most captivating essays, columns, reporting, and criticism. Chosen from the winners and finalists of the 2009 National Magazine Awards, this year's selections include the haunting story by Chris Jones ( Esquire) of an American soldier's final journey home; James Wood's brilliant critique of the award-winning novelist Marianne Robinson ( The New Yorker); a compelling column by Naomi Klein ( The Nation) on the return of class consciousness in America; two biting reviews of recent books on feminism by Sandra Tsing Loh ( The Atlantic); and a moving and insightful account by David Lipsky ( Rolling Stone) of David Foster Wallace in his final days.
Also featured are a fascinating report by Ryan Lizza ( The New Yorker) on the political making of Barack Obama; an unforgettable profile by Hanna Rosin ( The Atlantic) of a transgendered child struggling to be normal in rural America; absorbing reflections by Tom Chiarella ( Esquire) on apprenticing as a butcher in an Indianapolis meat market; and an unusual look by Sean Flynn ( GQ) at the legacy of the late singer and unstoppable personality, James Brown. Chris Anderson, popular commentator and author of the best-selling book The Long Tail adds his own, not-to-be-missed introduction. "Take a break from the screen and dive in," he writes. "I think you'll emerge, many pages later, no longer worrying about the future of print."
The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) is a nonprofit professional organization for editors of print and online magazines edited, published, and distributed in the United States. Established in 1963, ASME consists of close to 900 members nationwide and, in association with the Columbia School of Journalism, sponsors the National Magazine Awards.
Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired Magazine and the author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price and The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More.
"In the hands of Gwendolyn Brooks, old age is a diamond with many facets. Throughout her poetry Brooks has illuminated old age as a time of isolation and withdrawal, remembrance and continuity, poverty, vulnerability, even homelessness, exploitation, neglect, abandonment, marginalization and destruction. And, yet, she offered resistance and affirmation."—Angela Jackson, award-winning poet and activist
The year 2017 marks the 100th birthday of the late poet and cultural icon Gwendolyn Brooks. Miss Brooks' depictions of poor and working class African Americans provides insight into the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and her lens on the Great Migration, hard and necessary truths about race injustice, and the Black Power movement interprets and contextualizes current racial inequities and tensions. This collection of poetry, essays, and art inspired by the work of Miss Brooks celebrates her life, writing, and activism.
Quraysh Ali Lansana is author or editor of twenty books. He is a faculty member of the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002 to 2011.
Sandra Jackson-Opoku has authored two novels. The River Where Blood is Born earned the American Library Association Black Caucus Award for Best Fiction. Hot Johnny (and the Women Whom Loved Him) was an Essence magazine bestseller. Her fiction, poetry, articles, essays, and scripts have appeared the Los Angeles Times, Ms. magazine, the Literary Traveler, Islands Magazine, and elsewhere.
A landmark work of bio-romanticism, Mephistos and Other Poems is the first completely new collection in five years from legendary Beat and SF Renaissance poet Michael McClure, reflecting his interests in mammal consciousness and ecological survival. The title sequence stems from McClure's ongoing "grafting" experiment, growing new poems from fragments of previously ones. "Some Fringes" is a series of haiku-like nature poems, while the seventeen-part "Rose Breaths" derives from the poet's practice of meditation. The freestanding poems grouped under the title "Being" pay homage to many of McClure's collaborators and fellow travelers like Bruce Conner, Terry Riley, and Dave Haselwood. The book climaxes with "Song Heavy," recounting McClure's recent encounter with a beached whale in Rockport, Massachusetts, and recalling his classic "For the Death of 100 Whales," which he read at the Six Gallery in 1955—the inaugural moment of American eco-poetics.
Michael McClure is an award-winning American poet, playwright, songwriter, and novelist. After moving from Kansas to San Francisco as a young man, he was one of the five poets who participated in the Six Gallery reading that featured the public debut of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem "Howl." A key figure of the Beat Generation, McClure is immortalized as Pat McLear in Jack Kerouac's novels The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He also participated in the sixties counterculture alongside musicians like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. McClure remains active as a poet, essayist, and playwright and lives with his second wife, Amy, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Michael and I have been twisting the Dharma for twenty years now. He reads his poetry like a mad lion or a hummingbird or a soft evening tidal pool or a wild California thunderstorm. . . . His words are of a new realm of love and joy and terror. What a pleasure to play with such a perceptive artist. It’s always been my great joy to make music to his words."--Ray Manzarek
[C]ertainly a genius in thought and writing it out . . . McClure is one of the few contemporaries to have understood Kerouac as a literary poet—and learned some joyous classic invention therefrom . . . Thus we have a McClure poet, a McClure natural philosopher, and a McClure prosateur and novelist. Hardly anyone in America with equal range and sharpness, liveness. What more?"--Allen Ginsberg
Praise for Mephistos:
In Mephistos we are again thrown into Michael McClure's lavish lair of forceful magic. Its actions are literal ones, handfuls of jewels disintegrate as a firewall rises to a solid prism. There is no poet more adept at calling forth the elements, only to fashion them later as eternal amulets for his readers. 'NEW MOON ((BLACK!)) /STAR CLOUDS/ HALOES/ Flashlight reflects/ into two small eyes.' You will find your body changed through the labyrinth these poems initiate."--Cedar Sigo
"Close attention will be rewarded in kind. Keep Mephisto near at hand, read only a poem or two at a time, let the imagery possess you. It's okay, you can trust it. It's McClure: he’ll never steer you wrong."--Robert Hunter, lyricist, poet, songwriter
"He is such a sweet paradox!
Like most of Shelley and the late poems of D.H. Lawrence, McClure turns the phenomenal world inside out, seeking Mind within mind."--Diane di Prima, poet
"If you’ve enjoyed McClure’s writings in the past, this volume ought to recapture your poetic heart and rekindle your imagination."--Jonah Raskin, New York Journal of Books
"Mephistos is perhaps an open love letter to all of McClure’s many fans who have followed him ever since he arrived in San Francisco from Kansas City more than half a century ago."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Renee Gladman has always struck me as being a dreamer—she writes that way and the dreaming seems to construct the architecture of the world unfolding before our reading eyes." —Eileen Myles
A collection of linked essays concerned with the life and mind of the writer by one of the most original voices in contemporary literature. Each essay takes a day as its point of inquiry, observing the body as it moves through time, architecture, and space, gradually demanding a new logic and level of consciousness from the narrator and reader.
I was reading a line in a book, then reading a line in another book, and performing small acts in between: I sat at intervals on the toilet, I slept sporadically, I ate kale and "fish food," and called myself "Renee" for a time. Nobody knew who I was at the grocery store, but going there was my big event. I knew the books of these people; I knew these people and I didn't change their names, but when they appeared in my books it wasn't really their stories I was telling, so they didn't need my protection and I could go "Danielle, Danielle" all day.
Born in Atlanta, GA, in 1971, Renee Gladman studied Philosophy at Vassar College and Poetics at New College of California. In addition to Calamities (Wave Books, 2016), she is the author of eight works of prose, including the Ravicka novels Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), and Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013), as well as a book of poetry, A Picture-Feeling. Her most recent work of fiction Morelia is forthcoming in 2016. A longtime publisher and bookmaker, her projects include Clamour (1996-1999), Leroy Chapbook series (1999-2003), and Leon Works (since 2005). She is the recipient of a 2014-2015 fellowship from The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a 2016 grant to artists from Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She lives in New England with poet-ceramicist, Danielle Vogel.
The third full-length collection by Julien Poirier, Out of Print is a truly bicoastal volume, reflecting the poet's years in New York as well as his return to his Bay Area roots. Consider it a meetinghouse between late New York School and contemporary California surrealism, a series of quips intercepted from America's underground poetry telegraph, or an absurdist mirror held up to consumerist culture.
"Welcome Julien Poirier! What a distinct inspired voice. His work is abundant in surprise. His musical,often bonkers play of language is, for me, a source of delight & revelation."—David Meltzer
"Julien Poirier’s poems calibrate the vernacular in a sublime mathematics of commonalities. The effect is that of feelings on the run, enunciated clearly. In a sudden down-draught—'You’re wind, you melt on my tongue'—he’ll take the contemporary love poem into new stretches of believability while knowingly calling to account the failings that, whether perennial or merely topical, hem round ourselves to disastrous effect. For, no mistake, Out of Print means business: a forceful wake-up call, allowing as how for this old world the time for meaningful action may well have run out and we’ve joined the fabled damned, lost but for such eloquence, affection, and mad, mad laughter in Hell’s despite."—Bill Berkson
"Out of Print’s unexpectedly a love poem, its humor sharpening into dissonant pleasure. And what a pleasure! Julien Poirier’s weirdly direct and directly weird poems notice what an event is, whether it’s four square monks in a Coupe de Ville or becoming the Invisible Hand, and render that event into a sensual and searching landscape. You are really there, no where, but there, in poetry as a means to think differently, and maybe, absurdly, hope."—Karen Weiser
Julien Poirier is the co-founder of Ugly Duckling Presse. He has taught poetry in New York City and San Francisco public schools and at San Quentin State Prison. Previous books include Way Too West (2015) and El Golpe Chileño (2010).
"A celebration of the venerable magazine and the kind of writing you can only find in magazines." -- Marblehead Reporter