My editors asked me for notes on books I’d been reading — about 300 words. I’ve already figured out that it’s not in me to be quite that concise. Imagine, instead, these entries as 20-line sonnets. Why not? Bernadette Mayer has one in her book Sonnets, recently republished in an expanded “25th Anniversary Edition” by Tender Buttons, aka Lee Ann Brown, who also published it the first time around. (I missed the boat then.) I’ve read Mayer before but not a lot, and what I read has led me to think of her as a proponent of composition-by-field, someone whose writing is loose-limbed, long-lined-going-on-prose, and structurally oriented more by the book as a whole than by the individual poem as a self-contained entity. So her having cultivated the sonnet — however freely interpreted that label might be in any given case — aroused my curiosity. But of course, sonnets lend themselves to being strung into sequences rather than coming to a definitive conclusion — the tension and possible contradiction between closure and extension is inherent to the genre’s history. The wildness of a sonnet, its “power to hurt” (Shakespeare), lies in how the uncontainable is provisionally delimited. In Shakespeare’s concluding couplets, closure is sometimes performed so clunkily as to make a joke of itself. Mayer can do the same: “Sex, where’s the couplet? / The concluding modern thought’s a warm winter scarf.” Or, more suavely, “It might be right to write of just the hour / That’s a structure good as love’s or any measure.” Actually, love in these polysexual poems is the carnal and metaphysical impetus that undoes all measure — “So let’s not talk of love the diffuseness of which / Round our heads (that oriole’s song) / like on the platforms / Of the subways and at their stations is today defused / As if by the scattering of light rays in a photograph.” Not talking of love is another way to talk of love, especially, I suppose, when “working so much in an owned world for rent money” — pecuniary enclosure equaling the enclosure of the “diffuseness” and “scattering of light rays” of love. That scattering is “poetry’s extreme generosity” refracted line by line, stanza by stanza, sonnet by sonnet. Poetry’s argument is that “I might sing forever with never a goal nor solution / Except the singing of the tables of the alphabets / And the millions of interconnecting macaronic words / In the free verse families of the Indo-European stones.” I should point out, by the way, that Mayer’s sonnets never end with a full stop. They remain completely open to whatever comes next.
The settlement comes after Tate prevented an artist who exposed sexual harassment by one of its largest donors from co-curating an exhibition.
Let’s be honest: On a best bathrooms list, no one wants to be number two.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Advocacy groups are pushing for a 5% royalty in resales, which would pertain even after the artist dies, in which case the funds would go to their estate.
This week, the Getty Museum is returning ancient terracottas to Italy, parsing an antisemitic mural at Documenta, an ancient gold find in Denmark, a new puritanism, slavery in early Christianity, and much more.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
The absence of an explicit framing of American art, in all of its diversity, as a visual culture of empire distorts and hampers our ability to understand — and reimagine — our social world.
The gap between the material body and the psychological one, which we all too often take for granted, is one of the underlying themes of Hiro’s exhibition.
David Rios Ferreira and Denae Shanidiin join forces to bring awareness to the plight of Indigenous women and girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Metrograph’s series The Process features films that were either directed by Robert M. Young or made with the help of Irving Young’s postproduction facility.
Memes depicting a sinister, all-powerful Joe Biden alter ego are sweeping the internet, and the Democratic establishment is loving it.