from Nathan C. Martin and Friends.

Harper’s magazine is the  only periodical to which I subscribe whose issues I read cover-to-cover every single time. Or, that used to be true—until Zadie Smith stopped writing the ‘New Books’ section. I don’t really have anything against Larry McMurty or Joshua Cohen, who have succeeded her, but now it just seems like every book review section in any good periodical—sure, there are gems, but I don’t hesitate to skip over a review that doesn’t appear at a glance to interest me.

In our contemporary culture, where choice is paramount, so much emphasis is put on providing people the ability to get what they want that we seem to have forgotten a much more magical circumstance—when we are provided something we had no clue we deeply desired. Smith’s electric writing and astute opinions kept me reading the entire section, regardless of what she was talking about, and she supplied me such circumstances again and again.

This was the case in June 2011 when she reviewed a new book by an author I’d never heard of, Geoff Dyer, who I now consider one of the top essayists working today (I’ve since found this is not a particularly original judgement). The book Smith reviewed, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews, includes meditations on Susan Sontag, Robert Capra, Richard Ford, and John Berger, among others, and a  mode of intellectual exploration born purely of intense interest. “When asked by a librarian at the Institute of Jazz Studies what his credentials were for writing a book about jazz,” Smith writes, “[Dyer] replies, ‘I like listening to it.’”

Otherwise, which spans nearly 20 years of Dyer’s work, went on to win the National Book Critic’s Circle Award for Criticism. He is also author of four novels, two other collections of essays, and five “genre-defying titles,” including book-length considerations of D.H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers and Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. The London Daily Telegraph recently called him “probably the best living writer in Britain.”

Dyer will present his work at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8, in the Lavin-Bernick Center on Tulane’s campus as part of the university English department’s Writer’s Writer Series. His relative obscurity outside the world of letters makes him an apt inclusion in such a specific series, and he likely won’t draw much of an audience. But those writerly sorts who thrive on intense curiosity and insights rendered as adeptly as, “I am seized by two contradictory feelings: there is so much beauty in the world it is incredible that we are ever miserable for a moment; there is so much shit in the world that it is incredible we are ever happy for a moment,” should not miss it.


Hand-in-Glove Conference Guide

Hand in Glove Conference Guide
Essay by Amy Mackie, edited by Bob Snead, designed by Erik Keisewetter

This beautiful book, designed and printed by Erik Kiesewetter of Constance for the Hand-in-Glove Conference, includes a guide to all of the conference happenings Oct 17-20, 2013, an informative map of the artist run spaces on and around St. Claude Ave, and an extensive essay by Amy Mackie about the history of self organized contemporary art [...]

Photo by Sophie Lvoff in WE'RE PREGNANT

We’re Pregnant
Words by Nathan Martin. Photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano.

We’re Pregnant is a chapbook of short fiction by Room 220 editor Nathan C. Martin along with photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano. The book contains three of Martin’s short stories—which explore in morbid fashion anxieties related to sex, disease, marriage, and childbirth—with images inspired by the stories from each of the photographers.

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The People Is Singular
Poems by Andy Young and Photographs by Salwa Rashad

The People Is Singular, by local poet Andy Young and Egyptian photographer Salwa Rashad, is a personal response to the Egyptian Revolution. Rashad’s vision includes everyday people—Muslims and Christians, young and old, the foregrounded and the peripheral. Her perspective is from inside the events as they unfolded. Andy Young, a New Orleans poet married to [...]

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Curtain Optional
by Brad and Jim Richard

In both poetry and prose, Brad Richard explores the influence of his father’s work on his own, as well as the experience of growing up as the son of an artist while becoming an artist himself. Jim Richard is a professor of painting at the University of New Orleans and has exhibited at the Solomon [...]


How to Rebuild a City
Edited by Anne Gisleson & Tristan Thompson w/ design and artistic direction by Catherine Burke

Beautifully designed, sometimes fun, always informative, How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a work in Progress, is a reflection of the many ways that New Orleanians have realized our way towards recovery, actively and creatively engaging with our communities.


Bitter Ink
by Brian Zeigler & Raymond “Moose” Jackson

BBoth originally from Detroit, cousins Brian Zeigler and Raymond “Moose” Jackson began collaborating while Brian was harboring Moose in Vermont during Katrina evacuation. While their doodling proclivities may have made them rustbelt exiles from the rest of their autoworker family, together they produce seductive aphorisms of wit and weirdness that provoke, confound and celebrate a [...]