The Paris Review

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Staff Picks: Garbage Gods, Bachelors, and Doinks

I first learned about the artist Rammellzee from Dave Tompkins’s book, <i>How to Wreck a Nice Beach</i>, and I saw his <i>Letter Racer</i> sculptures in an exhibition a few years ago (which Tompkins wrote about for the <i>Daily</i>). Rammellzee is easily one of the most unique and most overlooked artists of the past fifty …

Artists

Arshile Gorky’s Muse Recalls Their First Date

<i>L</i><i>ike most troubled romances, that between the famed Abstract Expressionist painter Arshile Gorky</i> <i>and Agnes Magruder (who later became Agnes Gorky Fielding) began with a misunderstanding. In February 1941, Willem de Kooning and Elaine Fried, themselves soon to be wed, encouraged the pair to attend a</i> …

Literature

For Sarah

I was drinking coffee with a friend in Los Angeles, in an adorable cafe that also happened to sell books. On a whim, I decided to see if they had any of mine.<p>I made my way to the <i>w</i>’s, and there it was—my first novel—on the shelf. I felt happiness followed immediately by anxiety. Why had nobody …

Literature

Poetry Rx: You All Have Lied

<i>In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Claire Schwartz is on the line.</i><p><i>Dear Poets,</i> <i></i><p><i>I feel like I’m living in a world of decay right now. My</i> …

Literature

Whither the Angel in Angels in America?

There are some of us who would rather face death than face our own delusion and, friends, I am one of those people. I have argued for the existence of horrible things—ovarian cancer, bedbugs, even a gluten intolerance—rather than face the fact that I am a healthy hypochondriac with a genetically …

Angels in America

Hunting for a Lesbian Canon

At the Aligre flea market near my Parisian flat, I haggle over a trinket I’ve decided to give to my on-the-rocks lover. It is a rock, a small but well-shined one. Twenty euros is too much, I insist. I’m from Ukraine, I tell the seller, in an attempt to get sympathy for my country’s political …

Literature

You, Too, Can Live in Norman Mailer’s House

Images courtesy of Core NYC. Norman Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights pad is on the market! The fourth-floor two-bedroom apartment overlooking the promenade was first listed in 2011, but the sale fell through when the prospective buyer discovered the atrium wasn’t up to code. Norman Mailer was afraid of …

Real Estate

Writers’ Fridges

In our new series Writers’ Fridges, we bring you snapshots of the abyss that writers stare into most frequently: their refrigerators.<p>Any discussion of my fridge in the current moment needs to begin with a discussion of who lives in my home: my husband and I, our nine-year-old daughter (who likes …

Coconut

Tom Wolfe, Straight-Arrow Virginia Gent

Back in the day when I was stepping out and Anatole Broyard kept a one-room city fifth-floor walkup in which I would not infrequently step out in, Tom was living only a block or so easterly and would, damn our eyes, catch me making my way to or from where I wasn’t supposed to have been stepping …

Literature

Boy Genus: An Interview with Michael Kupperman

<i>Michael Kupperman’s work traffics in one-off and absurdist premises and is immersed in a certain kind of Americana nostalgia. His ongoing series</i> Tales Designed to Thrizzle<i>, which comprises eight issues collected in two volumes, features jokes that riff on everything from Dick Tracy villains to the</i> …

Graphic Novels

Boy Genus: An Interview with Michael Kupperman

<i>Michael Kupperman’s work traffics in one-off and absurdist premises and is immersed in a certain kind of Americana nostalgia. His ongoing series</i> Tales Designed to Thrizzle<i>, which comprises eight issues collected in two volumes, features jokes that riff on everything from Dick Tracy villains to the</i> …

Literature

The Birds at Rikers Island

In order to get to Rikers Island, you must cross a bridge that rises steeply, hiding the other side from view.<p>A sign in brightly colored cursive reads: HAVE A NICE TOUR!<p>At the top of a wooden staircase, you present your ID in exchange for a numbered badge. The exchange evokes travel: ferry ticket …

Christmas Trees

Tom Wolfe, 1931–2018

Tom Wolfe died yesterday at age eighty-eight. Between 1965 and 1981, the dapper white-suited father of New Journalism chronicled, in pyrotechnic prose, everything from Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters to the first American astronauts. And then, having revolutionized journalism with his kaleidoscopic …

Literature

Redux: Reading About Mom

Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.<p>Happy Mother’s Day! This week, …

Literature

The Surprising History (and Future) of Fingerprints

Recently, for a background check, for a visa, I had to get fingerprinted by an agent admissible to the FBI while I was still in France. <i>No, we can’t fingerprint you</i>, the website of the Embassy of the United States in Paris stated clearly. <i>No, you can’t fingerprint yourself</i>, the sites of the …

Tim Cook

The Soviet Anthology of “Negro Poetry”

Years before he worked alongside Thurgood Marshall on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the attorney Loren Miller spent the summer of 1932 in Moscow helping edit a Soviet anthology of “Negro poetry.” Miller had arrived that June with a group of twenty-two African Americans (including his good …

Literature

The Last Pawnshop Treasure

There is a pawnshop in Danbury, Connecticut, that I frequent. Like most pawnshops, it is at once depressing and intriguing. I often check out pawnshops out of a foolhardy belief that I will find treasure. I used to scour flea markets with that same optimism, certain I would find a genuine Tiffany …

Bear Cubs

Mad or Bad? Magritte’s Artistic Rebellion

Long considered aberrations in his artistic career, René Magritte’s sunlit surrealist and vache pictures have recently been reassessed by art historians and critics not only on their own terms but also in relation to the notion of “bad painting.” The two bodies of work have often been discussed …

Artists

Gertrude Stein’s Mutual Portraiture Society

Between 1908 and her death, in 1946, Gertrude Stein created over a hundred prose portraits, which she called “word paintings.” Most of her portraits were of her friends: Alice B. Toklas, Matisse, Picasso, Sherwood Anderson, Erik Satie, Hemingway, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Jane Heap, Carl Van Vechten, …

Literature

What Our Contributors Are Reading This Month

In place of our staff picks this week, we’ve asked contributors from our Spring issue to write about what they’re reading, looking at, and listening to this month.<p>For months now, I have been waiting anxiously for the movie <i>Hereditary</i> to come out. It’s supposed to be out on June 8, but I keep hoping …

Literature

All I Want for Mother’s Day Is a Goddamn Drink

This Mother’s Day, I’d like to raise a mocktail to all the mothers-to-be, to all of us united in suffering the joys and the indignities of pregnancy, stone-cold sober.<p>As my own mother tells it, she knew she was pregnant with me, her firstborn, when she got disproportionately sick from one gin and …

Pregnancy

Cooking with Émile Zola

In her Eat Your Words series, Valerie Stivers cooks up recipes drawn from the works of various writers.<p>It’s finally the season for the farmers market, which inspired me to dig out my copy of <i>The Belly of Paris</i> by Émile Zola (1840–1902), a book whose descriptions of the central Parisian market of Les …

Love Stories

The Moment of Writing

When does writing begin? The act of committing the first words to a page—as I am doing now—is cited for its difficulty. Though those words might well be deleted from the final draft, the resistance of the blank page is justifiably famous. It’s an entrance to the unknowable, like the doorway on your …

Literature

Poetry Rx: Pleasure as a Means

In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line.<p><i>Dear Poets,</i><p><i>My cousin is getting married in a month. We were born ten days</i> …

Literature

Nietzsche Wishes You an Ambivalent Mother’s Day

The cultural institution of Mother’s Day began with a single massive flower delivery. In 1908, Anna Jarvis, widely regarded as the founder of the holiday, delivered five hundred white carnations to Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where her mother had taught Sunday …

Friedrich Nietzsche

Selected Sentences from Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi

A few words about an underappreciated piece of reading technology. Talking about underlining in books.<p>Nobody shows you how to do this, and it’s a pity. You find out quick that if you do it wrong, you ruin the book. If you do it right, though, you create a precious heirloom.<p>How do you do it right? …

Literature

Lilac, the Color of Half Mourning, Doomed Hotels, and Fashionable Feelings

In 1960, architect John Macsai cracked open a book of brick samples to show his employer, A.N. Pritzker. Pritzker was, according to <i>The</i> <i>Chicago Reader</i>, an “incomprehensibly wealthy” man who wanted Mascai to build him a hotel. The building would be the first Hyatt Hotel in the Midwest. Mascai had …

Stormy Daniels

This Feels Like Never-Ending

<i>And I was every question that never had an answer<br>I see right through you<br>And never even noticed that there always was a reason<br>That we were never meant to be left alone.</i> <br>—The Dillinger Escape Plan, “Milk Lizard”<p><b>1. “Low Feels Blvd”</b><p>I am not what you picture when you think of a metalhead; I have no …

Chris Cornell

Redux: Emily’s Other Daffodil

Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.<p>This week, we help you usher in …

Self-Pity

A Gentler Reality Television

A few weeks ago, my wife and I sat down to watch the reboot of <i>Queer Eye</i>. We were a bit skeptical. After all, the original debuted fifteen years ago, at the beginning of the reality-TV boom and also at a time when any queer representation on TV could be seen as edgy, fun, uncomplicatedly moving in …

Reality TV