Blog Profile / Literary Kicks

Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:590
Posts / Week:1.2
Archived Since:March 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

To Be Trans: Lili Elbe and Me

(April Rose Schneider has written for Litkicks about novelist Richard Farina and Rush lyricist Neil Peart. This is by far her most personal piece. Thanks, April. —Marc) "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad." — Euripidies,...Show More Summary

Sympathizers and Innocents: New Novels by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Dana Spiotta

I recently enjoyed two new novels, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta, that left me thinking about the shimmering surfaces of everyday life, and the interwoven meshes of secrecy and guilt that ripple beneath. Show More Summary

Phases of Change

A few weeks ago I showed up for a cool poetry reading at a dive called Gunther's in Northport, Long Island, a bar famous for being Jack Kerouac's favorite drinking spot when he'd lived nearby. This reading was significant to me because something was happening for the first time. Show More Summary

Revolt on Mount Parnassus: An Allegory in Copy/Paste

Introduction PARIS - AUGUST, 1870 - An incorrigible, horrible genius. A fifteen year-old! disembarks at Rue de Maubeuge. A concussion of uncombed hair infested with a plague of lice. Soiled clothing. A homicidal cupid with the enormous hands of a strangler. Show More Summary

Beverly, Clearly

For a long time I thought her name was Beverly Clearly. That's because she wrote so clearly. For real: as a kid I would look at the covers of these wonderfully readable books, and "Beverly Clearly" was the author name I saw. It's rare that I have a chance to celebrate a favorite author who is turning 100 years old. Show More Summary

Phife Dawg, Represent ...

Phife Dawg aka Malik Taylor, the raspy half of the seminal hiphop band A Tribe Called Quest, has died at the age of 45. The brilliant, funny, wise, immensely talented and lovable rapper from Queens had suffered from diabetes and other ailments for years. Show More Summary

For Sam Savage, Beautiful Literary Rat in Hospice

A favorite novelist of mine, Sam Savage, is entering hospice. According to the Numero Cinq article revealing the sad news of his medical condition, he has suffered for decades with a blood disease called "alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency". Show More Summary


It's a new year and a new universe (because, let's face it, the universe is always changing, and always new)... and I'm now writing with a new name. So I thought I'd reach for something familiar and easy and tell you briefly about what I've been reading and enjoying lately. Show More Summary

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

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