QuickMuse is a cutting contest, a linguistic jam session, a series of on-the-fly compositions in which some great writers riff away on a randomly picked subject. It's an experiment, to see if first thoughts are indeed the best ones. We're not entirely sure about this, but we suspect QuickMuse will bring readers closer to the moment of composition than they have ever been before... more »
At QuickMuse, we love Bob Dylan. So when we saw that the 14th Street Y had put together a fascinating live event on December 5 — Bob Dylan and The Band: What Kind of Love Is This? — we knew we had to contribute.
We borrowed a rare photo by William G. Scheele — who, as the equipment/stage manager for The Band and Bob Dylan from 1969 to 1976, had an interesting angle on our subjects, and whose work is featured at the 14th Street Y event--and sent it to two Rick Moody and David Lehman. We asked them to improvise written responses. Thing about the picture: it showed Dylan and The Band jamming with, of all people, Cher. Cher!
Here's Moody's piece, which is, in our opinion, a superlative piece of musical criticism. Analysis. Appreciation. Whatever you call this real-time composition, it resists any goofy attempts at classification.
This is Lehman's fine new poem, in which an annoying journalist in a "Jerk mask" interviews first Cher, then Robbie Robertson, and finally Dylan. Want to know what happens when the journalist encounters the artist? Click and read, friend.
A diverse little congregation of Passover-themed writing this year. Dara Horn spins an extremely short story from some sentences by Lawrence Kushner. Elisa Albert addresses freedom, without the benefit of capitals: "so go. or stay, so i can rail against you. or go, and i can be glad you're gone. or stay. i don't care. unless i do. wait, maybe i do. is it too late? you decide." Finally novelist Jonathan Wilson writes a nifty poem that recalls "the long, long journey/up the desert's spine."
In celebration of Passover, David Lehman improvises a few phrases on Elijah’s violin, and Pulitzer Prizewinner Phil Schultz bids goodbye to the “dear Prophet of absence” and asks that he “once again” fails to appear at the door.
Yes, Valentine's Day gets all the love, but we don't know why Halloween shouldn't get a bit of its own poetry. Iris Bahr agrees.
We might be stepping all over a deep dark secret here, but guess what: novelist and poet Julianna Baggott has a secret identity. N.E. Bode isn't just the author of Complete History of Prunes and president of The Fraternal Order of Sprinkler Head Installers. He's also her, in part. So we thought we'd contact both of them, and pit them against one another like some sort of schizophrenic death match. Hope you like.
A poetic conversation. We think we've come fairly close this month to providing just that, as we jabbed Paul Hoover with a little Charles Bernstein and then waited fifteen minutes to see what came out. And what came out was some pretty meaty, topical stuff. Read it while it's hot.
We've always loved the moment in George Steiner's memoir, Errata, in which the critic admits regretting his decision not to drop acid. What we couldn't have expected was that poet David Lehman's experience and Steiner's overlapped so nicely (or that Lehman would, when pushed, rhyme "Steiner" and "vagina"). Check it out.
Never fear — you didn't type the wrong URL. The new home page you see here is the first in a series of steps toward the long-promised QuickMuse 2.0. Enjoy!
Sep 15, 2008
Baggott on N.E. Bode
Sep 15, 2008
N.E. Bode on Baggott
Aug 14, 2008
The Errancy: Dark Knight (commentary)
Jul 14, 2008
Jun 30, 2008
Dig the Thylias Moss Beat
Apr 24, 2008
Feb 11, 2008
An ad hoc Matlock
Feb 11, 2008
Jan 4, 2008
Harold Bloom, Poetry, and Jazz
Dec 26, 2007
Dec 21, 2007
Mary Jo Salter Finds the Implicit in Simplicity
Dec 21, 2007
Brad Leithauser's Missing Sun