Arts & Entertainment

Sonnets for the State

New York Review of Books

Jed Perl
Going to Extremes

For Matisse art was a perpetual emergency, a matter of testing boundaries, breaking through.

Neal Ascherson
Sonnets for the State

A new book recounts the history of the Circle of Writing Chekists, a group of officials in the East German Ministry of State Security who wrote poetry as a weapon in the class struggle.

Adam Kirsch
Arias of Despair

What can opera elicit from The Hours that the page and the screen cannot?

Josephine Quinn
Alphabet Politics

What prompted the development of systems of writing?



a poem by 
Marianne Boruch

So the road welcomed the ice. And the ice
lay down.
Water the bulk of every
blood cell already. Solidarity, sister!
When spring comes

we take notice after
winter’s long fierce sloppy drives through

Free from the Archives

Today is George Balanchine’s 119th birthday. In the Review’s July 19, 1984, issue, the critic Howard Moss (who, as it happens, would be celebrating his 101st birthday today), wrote about a revival of the great choreographer’s 1960 staging of Brahms’s Libeslider Walzer: “Of all the Balanchine revivals, none was more eagerly awaited.”

Howard Moss
Balanchine After Balanchine

“The dancers reveal, with a touch, or the denial of it, loneliness, frustration, fulfillment, the cost of experience—real truths about men and women in a world insistently ideal. Human manipulation—the casting off and the luring back—are all the more moving because we cannot say for sure what it is that moves us.”


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