Zora Neale Hurston on Racial Identity, Ninety Years Later

Commencement season at Barnard College this year will mark the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation with a BA in anthropology. As a graduate of Barnard’s sister institution, Columbia University, I feel the time is more than ripe to reflect on some of Hurston’s contributions. As it happens, I have a second—and third—connection to Hurston, apart from my status as a Columbia alumnus. Her hometown, Eatonville, Florida, lies not far from Gainesville, Florida, where I received my BA in anthropology. I first encountered Hurston, in the company of fellow anthropology undergrads, at Eatonville’s annual “ZORA!” festival. Hurton’s literary and…

On a Collection of Covers

I. My excitement for Luna’s new album—following their decade-long break—had admittedly waned when I found out it would be a series of covers. I started listening to Luna largely for the blend of spacey music and frontman Dean Wareham’s sharp lyrics. The band—which formed following the demise of Wareham’s previous project, Galaxie 500—saw Wareham trade his higher and earnest voice for a more deadpan persona. His lyrics, however, maintained that same looseness, existing somewhere between absurd and sincere—or as both at the same time. Of course both Galaxie 500 and Luna have showcased Wareham’s affinity for covers. In Galaxie 500’s…

The Fall 2017 Issue is Here!

We’d like to thank all of the talented contributors for their great work. We would also like to thank the Gatsby Foundation for their generosity. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.  

Exeter Book Riddle #47: The Book-Moth

Original Old English: Moððe word fræt.        Me þæt þuhte wrætlicu wyrd,        þa ic þæt wundor gefrægn, þæt se wyrm forswealg        wera gied sumes, þeof in þystro,        þrymfæstne cwide ond þæs strangan staþol.        Stælgiest ne wæs wihte þy gleawra,        þe he þam wordum swealg.   English Translation: A moth made feast of words.        I thought that…

Thinking of a Friend at Night

Early in this evil year comes autumn. I walk in the fields at night, the cold wind at my hat, the rain rattles…And you? And you, my friend?   You are standing—perhaps—and scanning the sickle-moon vault over forests in its little arcing bends and bivouac fire, red in the jet-black valley. You are sprawling—perhaps—in a field of straw, sleeping, and soft dew falls on your forehead, your armor of a war-jacket.   You could be on horseback tonight, stationed at the outpost, peering out, gun in fist, whispering to your horse, stroking away its fatigue… Perhaps—I think—you are spending the…

On Twenty One Pilots

I can plot the course of my maturation in Twenty One Pilots concerts. Twenty One Pilots: a rock band that sounds like it would live in the same cage as Blink 182 or Matchbox Twenty, if only because they all have numbers in their names. The band’s lead singer, Tyler Joseph, is small, plays the…

Affettuoso (After Caravaggio)

Watcher – this, your face pink-cheeked with abandon. This your hidden, thrumming hand. This, your wine-shadowed longing draped over his shoulders, laid flush against the petal white expanse of his chest – penetrable. Press it and he’ll bruise. Paint it and you’ll wound him beyond repair. Render the translucent skin of his throat in pigment, apple flesh, immutable. You have left so many places to sink your teeth. Consecrate his vulnerability in the sanctum of memory. Dust, not age, will pool in the hollow of his clavicle, that place where you once rested your callous hands, your long fingers drawing…

Listening to Stories

Listening to Stories In 2012, John Colapinto wrote an article for the New Yorker entitled, “The Pleasures of Being Read To,” in which he countered literary critic Harold Bloom’s claim that in order to fully appreciate a book, “you need to have the text in front of you”. Colapinto argued that audiobooks are brilliant mediums…

An aubade (UH4 LHR-IAH)

We must not speak now of etherized spread- eagle evenings fading skin histories from violent to -et to rose-risen blush. We must not rush now past the wee hours of waiting on fronted news, the foreplay tense, the hot slit in a letter, the shriek. I have never treasured the fingerprint sonic resonances of a snore. We shall not sever hydra stalks for fear of fresh blooms: already one says: “mankind cannot bear very much reality (wink here)”; next head: “bet you were a difficult child”; the next: “getting so drunk is a waste of my time, the college’s time,…

The Spring 2017 Issue is Here!

We’d like to thank all of the talented contributors for their great work. We would also like to thank the Gatsby Foundation for their generosity. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.