Literature

Road rules

The Bike Snob rides into town, swinging

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caitlin@sfbg.com

CULTURE Dear cars: I'm only doing my part to keep the air clean, and I promise you, I'm trying to stay in my lane when I have one. I'm looking as cute as I can astraddle my fly new ride, puffing up hills for health. Alas, your intermittent, unwarranted honk is a sorry companion to my bike high. "Get a car!" is a bummer too. Bicyclists sure enough have to put up with some shit.Read more »

"Chronic" 2010

D.A. Powell brings love, longing, and lyricism back to poetic life
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/NCIBA Because poetic subjectivity is by and large an exclusive undertaking Read more »

Pigs in Oakland

Novella Carpenter creates an urban homestead in Farm City
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/NCIBA One gets the sense that Novella Carpenter can do anything. A girl from rural Idaho, she knows how to hack it in "scruffy, loud, and unkempt" Oakland, the murder capital of the United States, amid the drug deals, gun fights, and open prostitution on the urban fringe. She also maintains a healthy, active relationship with her auto mechanic boyfriend (described as "a love sponge"), her many friends, and her local community. Read more »

Point for point

Elif Batuman's Possessed charts a hidden map of Russia

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From Beijing to Oakland

Writer Yiyun Li explores the language of creation and the memory of violence

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT In 2005, after dropping out of a PhD program in immunology, Chinese writer Yiyun Li debuted her first book of fiction, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. A collection of stories exploring the aftershock of the Cultural Revolution on mainland and overseas Chinese, it won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award. Li's story "Immorality" won the Paris Review Plimpton Prize.Read more »

Place of refuge?

Just Like Us is a story for Colorado and SF

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LIT If you've been tracking the battle over San Francisco's sanctuary ordinance, or you're simply interested in the fight for immigration reform at the federal level, then check out Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America (Scribner, 400 pages, $27.99). Written by Helen Thorp, a journalist married to Denver mayor and Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper, Just Like Us is the true story of four young girls whom Thorp tracked for five years, starting with their senior year in high school.Read more »

Work it!

The "New Creole Culture" of Yvan Rodic's Facehunter dances around the G word
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arts@safbg.com

LIT/VISUAL ART Yvan Rodic has to be one of the luckiest souls on the planet. He'd have to be to make my cynical ass fall in love with him. His new book Facehunter (Prestel, 320 pages, $24.95), a pastiche of photo book, style manual, travelogue and (hallelujah!) manifesto, has just the right combination of couture and subversion to earn a place on every cigarette- burned coffee table in the world. Read more »

Divided world

Tamim Ansary's Destiny Disrupted exposes western blind sides in relation to Islam
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Tamim Ansary is a gifted writer whose 2002 memoir West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story is a must-read for anyone wanting to know more about Afghanistan. Read more »

Once every two weeks

Tired of the same old writing at the same old sites? Try Try
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johnny@sfbg.com

LIT I have a stack of Try magazines on my lap as I write this. The pages are white, marked by the black of letters and photocopied pen marks and the gray shades of color photos or aged pages filtered through Xerox. Some of the pieces in issues are printouts of e-mails, or maps of sites in Oakland going into foreclosure. Others are copied from typewritten pages — or bank receipts. There are numbered lists, unnumbered lists, exquisite corpses, poetic critiques of programs, hidden sonnets for the public, and mash notes from poet to poet. Read more »

Dark mirrors

The black dandy beams from past into future -- sharply attired, of course
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT Recently I was at a meeting with an unnamed arts organization, planning for an AfroSurreal art exhibit. As we were hashing out the details of display, the concept of the black dandy become a bone of contention among my learned colleagues. What was, and is, a black dandy? How does the black dandy differ from the white dandy? What's the difference between a dandy and fop? Aren't those terms interchangeable? Why bother looking at or for a black dandy at all? Read more »