A Conversation With Steph Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith, The Nation’s New Poetry Editors

by Justin E. H. Smith Carmen Giménez Smith & Steph Burt Photos by Evan Lavender-Smith & Jessica Bennett On August 7, The Nation announced the appointment of Steph Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith as its new poetry editors. Beginning in the Fall, they will be soliciting and commissioning a wide range of American and international…

“I’m not building my own mausoleum”: A Conversation with Marina Abramović

by Justin E. H. Smith Marina Abramović (with the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art she recieved in 2008) at the screening of Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present during the Vienna International Film Festival 2012, Gartenbaukino. [Image from Wikipedia.] 1. Marina Abramović is seeking to found an institute that will bear her name, in…

The Kelpies

Dear Abbas, I'm sorry for disappearing so suddenly a few years back. One day I'm still there on the East Coast busily discharging the duties of my profession, while also, I'm sure you remember, circulating in something pretty close to what you could straight-facedly call a 'demimonde': publishing, blogging, tweeting and getting retweeted like a…

In the Family

by Justin E. H. Smith One of the most controversial scenes in Shohei Imamura's 1966 film, The Pornographers, depicts three veteran directors from the Japanese porn industry in conversation, casually questioning the legitimacy of the prohibition on sex between fathers and daughters. To be willing to ask this question at all is meant to signal…

Ecce Homarus

Justin E. H. Smith [This is a short excerpt from my current book project, Language and Animals, about which you will be hearing more soon. –JEHS] Some decades after M. F. K. Fisher, following Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, implored us to 'consider the oyster', David Foster Wallace asked us do the very same thing with a lobster.…

Safe Words

by Justin E. H. Smith The first thing you need to understand about the BDSM community is that we are committed to one thing above all: mutual respect. We respect each other's kinks, and we seek to help one another to realize our fantasies. Some people have fantasies of being dominated, and those of us…

In the Valley

by Justin E. H. Smith “A plain historical account of some of our most fashionable duellists, gamblers, and adulterers (to name no more) would exhibit specimens of brute barbarity, and sottish infatuation, such as might vie with any that ever appeared in Kamschatka, California, or the land of the Hottentots.” —James Beattie, An Essay on…

On the Internet

Justin E. H. Smith The Internet, it seems, is destroying everything. In the aftermath of its Shiva-like arrival, the rest of the world now appears shabby, neglected, left over. It has destroyed or is in the process of destroying long-familiar objects: TVs, stereos, telephones, newspapers, musical instruments, clocks, books. It is also destroying institutions: stores,…