The Reading Room Premier Issue
"Aesthetics on My Mind", Larry Rivers' amazing reassessment of his early days at Hans Hoffman's temple of Modernism, chronicles his ground-breaking pre-pop rebellion, leading to his rediscovery of the power of the human form. The Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo's "The Stork-Men", an imaginative reworking of the Berber tradition of regarding storks as humans, is a witty tale of Third World immigration. His Moroccan flying creatures, temporarily taking their birdly shape when voyaging to Europe, become human again when they return to Marrakech. Stanley Crouch's "L'Imperiale at the Georges Cinq", portrays a sharp encounter in Paris between an American Black and a snooty, glamorous model from Nairobi, who has become very, very French. Carl Watson's homage to Kerouac and Whitman "Backward the Drowned Went Dreaming", takes us on a cross-country trek. Barbara Probst Solomon's "Citizen Proust: on Race and Politics" explores the reasons for Proust's intense activism, and points out that it wasn't the famous madeleine that released his memory, but the methylxanthines in the tea (a chemical used to treat asthma). In "The Fame Lunches" Daphne Merkin writes a letter to Woody Allen in order to overcome her feelings of woundedness. Maria Solomon rebels against l970s parochial Feminists in "My Mother's False Eyelashes, My Aunt's Coral Shoes". E. M. Chakkappan depicts the conflicts of a political family in Cochin India and Julie Obaso takes us to Kenya. The Reading Room Conversation is with John Updike. Also featured is the work of Lionel Abel, Madison Smartt Bell, Avi Dresner, Stuart Engesser, Kenneth Koch, Donald L. Maggin, John Buffalo Mailer, Yvonne Murphy, Michele Tolela Myers, Cara Prieskorn, James Purdy, Julían Ríos, and J. Schwartzman. Cover artwork: Larry Rivers.
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