According to the Weekly World News, I am writing on the verge of apocalypse and this blog post will never be read. The nineteenth of December: two days until we reach the terminus of the ancient Mayan calendar and find ourselves ushered into a future better left to the imagination of Roland Emmerich. Or Nancy Lieder. Or John of Patmos. Or whomever. Apocalypses come and go, and if some prophets, like the Revelator or Nostradamus, achieve a more lasting fame than others, it seems to have little to do with their accuracy as doomsayers. What’s worth noting about our latest onrushing apocalypse, however, is just how timely it seems.
In 1772, the twenty-six-year-old violinmaker Henry Whiteside began to build a lighthouse on a pile of rocks twenty miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, called the Smalls. His design was unusual; the light perched on top of eight oak piers like the head of a stiff-legged octopus. Rather than making a solid base, Whiteside reasoned, he would let the force of the waves pass through the structure. But when the waves did so, the living quarters swayed violently; one visitor reported that a full bucket of water was half empty by the time he left. The force of the storm made each thing—bucket, glass, stove, table—resonant; it bent the lighthouse, shaping it into an instrument of music.
Tung-Hui Hu’s lyrical take on nineteenth-century life in a lighthouse off the coast of Wales, Craig McDaniel on color and perspective in Bonnard, Molly McQuade on Wim Wender’s tribute to Pina Bausch, Jeffrey Meyers on Thomas Mann in America.
Fiction by Mimi Herman, Sharona Muir, Dina Nayeri, Dalia Rosefeld, Charles Antin, Bipin Aurora, and Donald Yates.
Poetry by Angie Estes, Patricia Clark, Chris Cunningham, Sarah Messer, Nance Van Winckel, and Mark Wunderlich.