Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters

Frank O´Hara reads "Having a coke with you"


It is hard to believe that anything could please me more today than listening to Frank O’Hara reading “Having a coke with you”

(Oh, and you get to see him too - it’s a video.)


Guest Dad submission from Jim Rowell


by Sharanya Manivannan

Filter coffee under a flowering tree

on the street on which he still lives,

in a blue art deco house in which

there must exist a scintilla of me

as something other than only

the great loss of his life.

The summer spreads her fingers

beyond the octave of sweetness.

There is a cut in my svadishtana

chakra from my last lover,

the one who was too afraid

to kiss me sober or to be

unlike any other.

Early in the mornings I feed the crows

steamed rice and mustard seeds

and when I walk at all it is under

canopies of raining leaves,

into arenas of unswept blossoms.

Life is simple on these days

that slake the singe of the rest.

Like clay I have cooled to a

more tolerant temperament,

like the wasp I build alone,

telling myself that I am not

keeping count.


Sharanya Manivannan is the author of a book of poems, Witchcraft. Her poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in Hobart, Wasafiri, Drunken Boat, Prairie Schooner, Killing The Buddha and elsewhere.She has received an Elle Fiction Award and a Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship,and been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She lives in India.

Benedetta Polignone: The Kiss That I Want, 2014

Benedetta Polignone: The Kiss That I Want, 2014

Public Enemy


Some months ago I wrote a short essay for Frieze documenting some of the most despicable and unsuccessful politicians currently on TV. You can read the essay in full here. I have copy-pasted a teaser below.

It seems no one takes representative democracy seriously any more. Elected politicians are seen either as unscrupulous, opportunist cheats or as ignorant imbeciles, while parliaments are taken to be lobbyists’ whorehouses. This dissatisfaction is particularly visible in a spate of current television dramas, where the worst human beings make the most successful politicians, idealism is a bad career move, and nothing ever gets done that will change the electorate’s life for the better. With the recent return of HBO’s political satire Veep (2012–ongoing) to the small screen for a fourth season, it seems a pertinent moment to take a look at some of the most odious political characters on TV today.

Few small-screen politicians are, or have ever been, as cynical and self-serving as Frank Underwood in House of Cards (2013–ongoing), a contemporary American reimagining of the 1990 BBC series set at the end of the Thatcher era. Underwood – played by Kevin Spacey – murders his opponents, manipulates and undermines his colleagues and friends, and plans political manoeuvres exclusively for his own advancement. In one particularly painful scene, he sacrifices a friendship of over 20 years (his only true friendship, in fact) to save his political career. Most appallingly, Underwood’s tactics pay off: over the course of two seasons he crosses the road from the House of Representatives to the White House and into the Oval Office. House of Cards presents politics as a game that is won by the most cunning politician. The worst hand of cards you can be dealt includes idealism, empathy and moral principles.