Literature

A Cricketer Most Queer and Criminal: Literary Spotlight on Raffles and Bunny

To borrow from the words of T. S. Eliot, good writers borrow, but great writers steal. E. W. Hornung would probably propose a corollary: the greatest writers steal from family. Throughout the 1890s, the explosive success of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories spawned a glut of deductive copycats and wannabe-Sherlocks, reproducing the formula of the genius detective and his bumbling assistant-slash-scribe. In the earliest edition of The Amateur Cracksman, the first collection of stories centred on E. W. Hornung’s A. J. Raffles, there was a dedication to Doyle, “To A. C. D. This form of flattery.” This direct form of address would probably have seemed either impertinent or fawning, coming just any imitator. Hornung wasn’t just anyone, though; he was Doyle’s brother-in-law.

Review: Acrobat, Nabaneeta Dev Sen

One of the most pervasive images of acrobatic ability is of trapeze artists dangling from the crossbar, leaping and shining through the air, and eventually landing gracefully on a parallel crossbar. To train the body to perform such death-defying acts must batter the muscles, sinews, and bones of the artists. Such endurance is honed for those few moments of perfect grace and agility: when the hands connect to something solid and the crowd is on their feet. Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s poetry in Acrobat, available now from Archipelago Books, has that same leaping energy and agility in its imagination which demands not only the reader’s attention, but earns it.

Envelopes

Marco awoke with a muddled gasp. He was on his feet, midway between his study and the bedroom. The hall was dark, his throat dry. He put a hand against the wall and waited for the debilitating confusion to fade. Thankful he hadn’t tumbled down the stairwell, he plodded to the bathroom for a drink from the tap and slid back into bed beside Connie. He rubbed his eyes and was asleep within minutes.

Singularity Ex Nihilo

Singularity Ex Nihilo

Words show nothing. Out of nothing
Come the wondrous things.
Words are light, in the beginning:
There is awe in the silence of light.
Commune, at night, with your heart upon your bed,
And be still. Out of darkness
Come the wondrous things
Ex nihilo, out of the space
Of the slightly smiling expression
On the face of light.
Ironies of something
And nothing, goodness transforming,
That its joy may be made complete:

A Bitter Candy

A Bitter Candy

We’re all little people down here,
don’t pray with our hands.
Four-legged at the beginning/
you’re a winged-thing aren’t you?
Still scared of the dark,
we sleep under the sheets.
Father’s climbing up the ladder.

Nick the Art Kid

Nick the Art Kid

Nick the art kid
Who introduced me to whorehouses and cocaine
Showed me that hedonism was a sinless path
That pleasure was the only true pleasure
And that we live inside a dream

Maybe When They Say Get Over It

Maybe When They Say Get Over It

They mean climb the foothills of your hometown. The tallest one, where some teenage boys stuck one of their mothers gardening sticks into the summit, a torn jersey as a flag.
Sit there, dry mouthed, and think of the only boy who has made you feel safe, a kid who was always ashamed of the children around him, and himself.

Perfect Bodies

Perfect Bodies

I watch you Suzanne, in ways—with such depth—you will never know. Standing here, toes bare and soles blackened by the highway side with our thumbs pointing to the sun, I watch you. Inches away is your hair and its subtle mixture of ash and lilac sails into my nose. Step back Suzanne. Let your hips melt with mine as we watch the oncoming afternoon motorcade. Let your muted yellow poncho—which never ceases to render you angelic—scratch my skin. Gain an extra inch by standing upon my feet and add to our hope of hailing down a passerby; if you do, I’ll lace my hand within the pocket of your bellbottom jeans, holding you close. I’ll wait with you at this highway side until we reach our destination. I’ll wait; and sail and hold you close and feel your poncho scratch me; even if a thousand stars die before we make it. Suzanne, I watch you in ways, with such depth, I’ve never known before.

Review: To Make a Bridge, Antonia Facciponte

Review: To Make a Bridge, Antonia Facciponte

Review: To Make a Bridge, by Antonia FacciponteJeanne Polochansky, Associate Editor To Make a Bridge by Antonia Facciponte is a collection of poems that is a recipe book, a diary, and an opera programme all wrapped up in one. It opens with a piece that commands the...

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