This essay discusses contemporary genre-bending texts on the occasion of Miranda July’s new book The First Bad Man, which includes an online auction of objects mentioned in the book.
Stephen Burt examines Laurence Goldstein’s review of Los Angeles poetry, Andrew Bush delves into Nancy Willard and Eric Lindbloom’s The River that Runs Two Ways, Yoon Choi encounters her heritage, Rebecca McKanna loses her virginity, and John Felstiner remembers an elusive figure from his childhood.
Fiction by Liliana Colanzi, Claudine Guertin, Toni Mirosevich, and Valerie Miner.
Poetry by Idris Anderson, Peter Blickle, Eduardo Chirinos, Peter Cooley, Haesong Kwon, Ben Landry, Jacqueline Osherow, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Arseny Tarkovsky, and Eric Weinstein.
So I agreed to wear the goat. First I was fitted with a yellow hardhat to protect my delicate scalp as the goat was lowered over my head. The goat was massive. In truth, it was (mostly) just a papier-mâché goat head, but it covered the entire top of my body, resting warily on the hard hat, steadied by my hands. As with most of the charming but hastily made Honey from the Heart puppets, I had to wear its imperfections as well. Staples stuck, pointy end out, from where its joints came together. It was lopsided and difficult to balance. And I couldn’t see anything except my feet.
Going through my parents’ bookshelves, where all the books of my life end up, is a distinctly pleasurable activity. Like a song, the titles stacked along the shelves contain distilled memories, and the best books are not actually the ones I’ve read countless times, but the ones I picked up only once. The books I’ve read time and time again give me the sensation of greeting an old friend, and the feeling is comfortable and sweet. “Oh, you again,” I think, my finger slipping across the spine. But the books that belong solely to one time and place, these books give me a tiny jolt, like encountering the name of an old crush whom I haven’t thought of in years. My finger will pause, and then tug against the lip of the spine to take a peek at the cover, to see if memory has warped, or amplified, the book’s original charm.