2016 in Review

By

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 | 547 views

By all accounts, 2016 could have been better, and I’m not even talking about the Presidential election or celebrity deaths. The year had just begun when St. Mark’s Bookshop, an East Village staple known for esoteric consignment zines, art books, and poetry, announced it would close for the second time.

More »



Our Immigrant Origins

By

Monday, January 2nd, 2017 | 891 views

My family’s undocumented past in America wasn’t known to me until I applied for dual citizenship with Italy not long ago. The vital records I gathered in the process offered a startling new perspective on our lineage, though it didn’t seem to matter much at the time. Some relatives even chuckled over how my great grandfather could’ve spent eighteen years living and working “illegally” as an economic migrant, not becoming naturalized until the 1930s, well after my grandmother was born. No one ever questioned his, or our family’s, place in this country as Americans. After all, his story was the embodiment of the American dream, having escaped the extreme poverty that ravaged the Sicily he knew in search of a better life.

More »



Reading Series Census: First Tuesdays

By

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 | 524 views

First Tuesdays, a Jackson Heights reading series

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

More »



The Unthinkable

By

Monday, December 26th, 2016 | 1,070 views

On election night, I was anxious. I thought Hillary would probably win. The polls were saying she would. Still, I’m a worrier. I started watching early, hoping for good returns. Hoping for 2012. As the returns grew worse, I flipped through the channels faster and faster, desperately hoping for different news, better news. Of course, I didn’t get it.

More »



My Non-existence Under a Trump Administration

By

Monday, December 19th, 2016 | 721 views

When my mother patted the black tufts of hair on my head and gazed into my dark eyes for the first time, she was not a U.S. citizen. But, in my newborn pinkness, I was. The year was 1988 and it was an unseasonably warm day in November less than one week after Halloween. I was experiencing the world outside of my mother’s womb in healthy, even breaths that would not have been possible had it not been for my mother’s emergency C-section. With my umbilical cord wound around my neck, my birth was almost my undoing. My tiny mother was exhausted but relieved to welcome all eight pounds of me—alive!—with my American father by her side.

The site of this initial meet and greet was a regional hospital on a long, winding road in my hometown of Arlington, Virginia. As part of the Washington, D.C. metro area, the pipsqueak county may be one of the smallest in the United States, but it has one of the largest Salvadoran populations in the country. This is worth mentioning because my mother is Salvadoran. She, like the majority of her fellow Salvadoran immigrants, came to the United States to escape her homeland’s civil war.

More »



Reading Series Census: Ditmas Lit

By

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 | 450 views

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

***

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
The name of the series is Ditmas Lit. We floated around some ideas that were a little more clever, but we ultimately decided we wanted something easy to remember that gave a shout out to the neighborhood.

More »



A Month in the Life of an Impending Dictatorship

By

Monday, December 12th, 2016 | 987 views

Day 1—Election Day: You hear yourself saying to your husband, “Oh my…he’s winning,” and wonder why the feminist journalist on screen announcing the results is taking this so lightly. Then you realize, her mortgage is probably really high.

Day 2—The Day of Mourning: Everyone at work wears black and walks with his/her/their head facing the ground. You know it’s because of the outcome, even though it is raining. There are at least two people you encounter who have a spring in their step.

More »



Extreme Choices: An Interview with Scott Alexander Hess, author of Skyscraper

By

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 | 719 views

Scott Alexander Hess with Skyscraper

Scott Hess loves to tantalize a reader. His gorgeous prose soars off the page like the symbolic building in his latest novel, Skyscraper—a story of art, lust, and unexpected transformation. His previous novel, The Butcher’s Sons, was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015, and in all of his books, Hess pushes boundaries while also pushing readers to the edge of their wildest fantasies. I caught up with Hess to learn more about Skyscraper and his unrelenting passion.

***

Amy Dupcak: Another new novel, congrats! Your last book, The Butcher’s Sons, was historical fiction set in 1930s Hell’s Kitchen, but Skyscraper takes place in present-day New York. How do you choose the time period and setting for your novels? And how else does Skyscraper differ from The Butcher’s Sons?

Scott Alexander Hess: The dynamics of the story guide me to the time period. With The Butcher’s Sons, I wanted to tell a tale of three brothers in a butcher shop in Hell’s Kitchen, and the grit and intensity of that neighborhood circa 1930 made sense to me. Also, the brothers’ conflicts, which include an interracial relationship and a gay affair, were really amped up due to the danger surrounding these types of relationships in the 1930s. Skyscraper is a sharp, modern book of obsession and boundary pushing sex. As I began writing that novel, it demanded a bristling modern city scene.

More »




Connect