Blog Profile / Literary Kicks

Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:582
Posts / Week:1.4
Archived Since:March 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Becoming Myself

A few years ago I wrote a piece called "Becoming Levi Asher" to explain why I began to use a pen name in 1994. (Short version: I was about to publish my first short story, a satire about my job, and I didn't want to get caught.) Today,...Show More Summary

The Genius of David Bowie, in 5 Songs

I'm going to let other people remember David Bowie for his cultural importance: his brave and liberating embrace of sexual ambiguity, his clever shape-shifting, his sophistication as an actor, his sharp sense of pop art's relationship to rock and roll. He was truly great in all of these ways. Show More Summary

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

I was psyched when I heard that a novel about New York City in the punk rock 1970s by Garth Risk Hallberg was expected to be one of the blockbusters of 2015, and that the unproven young author had been awarded an astonishing two million dollar advance for this book. Show More Summary

Beat Journeys with Brian Hassett and Eliot Katz

What does "Beat Generation" mean today, 60 years after Michael McClure, Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg rocked a San Francisco crowd with a world-changing poetry reading, and 46 years after Jack Kerouac's wan and befuddled death in St. Show More Summary


Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for? — Robert Browning My first Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has been an eye-opener. We aimed for $10,000 and got 57% of the way by the end of the declared 60 day interval, which is pretty good but not good enough. Show More Summary

Elegant Violence: David Shields Takes On The New York Times

David Shields is a puckish literary critic and Litkicks favorite whose epic 2010 book Reality Hunger proposed that creative writers may as well skip the pretense of fiction and simply write the truth, since that's what readers value most in either fiction or non-fiction anyway. Show More Summary

A Thanksgiving Thought Experiment

A great skit on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live suggested an Adele song as a cure for obnoxious and endless Thanksgiving dinner arguments about politics. Adele is great, but here’s a more substantial (though simple) thought experiment that can produce amazing results. Show More Summary

Like This House Needs More Fire ...

Paris was brutally attacked by ISIL terrorists on Friday, and people are talking about how France and the world should respond. French President Francois Hollande has declared that "this is an act of war", which is a disturbing echo to anybody who remembers how eagerly US President George W. Show More Summary

A Veteran of the World

What's it like to be a pacifist on Veteran's Day? Well, I can only tell you what it's like to be a pacifist with a father who is a Korean War-era veteran who helped to turn me into a pacifist... on Veteran's Day. These are some pictures of my Dad, who later found his calling as the cartoonist Eli Stein, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Show More Summary

A Taxonomy for Pacifism

A couple of days ago we talked about the need to reclaim the word "pacifism" and return it to general use. We believe the time is ripe right now — if Bernie Sanders can bring "socialism" back from the dead we're sure pacifism can't be far behind. Pacifism is not a simple word but rather indicates a vast family of meanings and possible connotations. Show More Summary

Pacifism: Rescue the Word

Since we're getting serious about pacifism, we need to also get serious about the words we use when we talk about it. Language has been nearly fatal to pacifism, as the label itself is often considered foul and offensive. This is because many people mistakenly believe pacifism to be an extreme and fanatical position. Show More Summary

The Fractal Pillar: Website as Philosophical Argument

A couple of weeks ago I announced my plan to launch a new nonprofit organization and website, Pacifism21 and, in order to promote pacifism as a viable political philosophy for the 21st century. A beta version of this website...Show More Summary

Practical Pacifism: How We Defeat ISIL

How can pacifists possibly defeat ISIL, the cruel Islamic State government that has taken violence to a horrifying new level in Iraq and Syria? This is the question we've been asked most urgently since we launched the fundraising drive for Pacifism21 three weeks ago. We’re glad people are asking this question, because we have a great answer. Show More Summary

Practical Pacifism: The Simple Equation

Our new Indiegogo project for has given me the opportunity to hear from many people who, it turns out, don’t know what the word “pacifism” means. Some people have explained this to me in apologetic terms: they like meShow More Summary

Keeping Henry Thoreau Around

Henry David Thoreau and Walden came early into my life, thanks to my mother, a boldly independent career woman who must have felt oppressed by her era’s strictures of feminine married domesticity. She had a favorite quote from Walden...Show More Summary

Pacifism is Good Medicine for Gun Violence

Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws — even in the face of repeated mass killings.” And later that day, there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Show More Summary

Please Donate! Announcing Our Secret Project ...

My friends, we're ready to show you the secret project we've been cooking up for nearly a year. Literary Kicks is happy to announce that we are founding a new non-profit organization, website and social media presence called Pacifism21. To...Show More Summary

What We're Creating Next

I wonder how many years ago it was that I first made the announcement: "something new is coming from the Litkicks laboratory". I've lost track of all the times I thought I was close. Maybe the first major teaser was this one, from July...Show More Summary

Herschel Silverman, the Bebop Beatnik Candy Store Poet of Bayonne, New Jersey

It was very easy for me to meet Herschel Silverman, then a Beat/jazz poet of some renown, around twenty-five years ago when I began frequenting the downtown New York City poetry scene that swirled between St. Marks Church, ABC No Rio and the Nuyorican. These were the years when Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso were still alive. Show More Summary

Does Nonviolence Work? Ta-Nehisi Coates and Maria Stephan

I've been trying for a while now to come to terms with the emergence of Ta-Nehisi Coates as the clearest voice of black defiance and determination during the police violence outrages of the past couple years. The appeal of Coates's basic...Show More Summary

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