Most Recent Posts

Nevertheless, We Persisted–on reading Finnegans Wake

September 15th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Book Reviews, Uncategorized | No Comments

Last Wednesday evening marked a milestone for a small group of us here in Santa Cruz—we came to the end of our joint reading of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Some idea of the significance for us may be gleaned

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Sandy Longhorn: A Self-Exphrasis

September 13th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

            To Live in a House of Grief

The girl born reaching
            on curves and swerves
adores lush fringe and silk
            on catching the light let in
to a room ruled
            by mourning’s rigid lines,
its cloaked shadows.

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Music for Music: The Claypool Lennon Delirium

September 8th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Serious Stuff 

by Dan Ursini ©2017 

It is a rare album which documents musicians caught in the act of finding themselves, but that is what happens during Monolith of Phobos, the

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Toon Musings: A Community of Strippers

September 5th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

I had the privilege to visit the island of Manhattan recently. It was my first time and I cannot get it out of my mind. I’ve visited, and to a greater or lesser extent, familiarized myself with a few cities:

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Labor Day 2017

September 4th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Ethan Murrow

Virginia Bell

Picket-Line Girl

She cheered, that lady,

called my name—Cora

Marie—she handed me
peonies as I walked from

the wagon to the jail’s door,                               
made me believe I was

a hero.  So when the warden
told me

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Ragtime Revisited

September 1st, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments


Random House, 1975, reprint 2007

by E. L. Doctorow

reviewed by Seana Graham

I first read Ragtime many years ago while I was still in college, not long after its publication. A friend had recommended it, but, much

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Best of the Net Nominations 2017

August 30th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Alexandra Eldridge

Please enjoy these poems and prose poems, our nominations for this year’s Best of the Net anthology of work originally published online. Click the poets’ names to see more of their work in solo or theme-based features, and

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Sophie Rosalind Steinmetz

August 28th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

Happy news for the EIL family: the arrival of Sophie Rosalind Steinmetz!

Sophie is the daughter of Mandy (Al-Aswad) Steinmetz, our CEO, and Thomas Steinmetz, our Technical Architect. She is the granddaughter of Basel Al-Aswad, who no doubt will tell

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Via Basel: Paying Attention

August 18th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

Only last week I discussed Mindfulness/Meditation on EIL and how it has recently become an even more integral part of my life as I am involved in teaching it at a behavioral health center. A very short definition would be:

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Noelle Harper

August 17th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Ralph, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Darcy, acrylic on canvas, 10″ x 10″, 2017

Homer, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Frankie, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Quincy, acrylic on …

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Diamond Dog, Emerald Ice

August 16th, 2017 | Film | No Comments

Orange grove still from Emerald Ice

Emerald Ice is a short (16-minute) film by Jesseca Ynez Simmons about (and narrated by) the poet Diane Wakoski. Simmons calls it a “docufantasy” as it is a kind of documentary in poetic form.

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Jesseca Ynez Simmons on Diane Wakoski

August 16th, 2017 | Film | No Comments

Diane Wakoski in a still from Emerald Ice

Jesseca Ynez Simmons is filmmaker who explored the life and work of Diane Wakoski in what she calls a “docufantasy,”  Emerald Ice, which is making the rounds of film festivals right

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Via Basel: Being, an early benefit

August 11th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Cole Thompson

Many years ago when I started meditation, I  was instructed to practice Being at times instead of my constant Doing. After having accepted my type A personality over decades, one that valued action and achievement, that was a

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J. Hope Stein Through the Nose

August 9th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose
by J. Hope Stein

Poet Republik Ltd, 2017  
Cover art by Kate Micucci 

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor 

Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose is a short, funny,

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Music for Music: Fernanda Takai

August 4th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Fernanda Takai: Toy Instruments, Real Music

By Dan Ursini © 2017

I first heard of Fernanda Takai, the Brazilian-Japanese vocalist and musician, one day on YouTube, trying to check on guitarist Andy Summers. He is the ultimate journeyman, with a

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Sarah J. Sloat’s Misery

August 2nd, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Very Grave/Very Reasonable

These poems belong to a series I began last fall when I participated in ‘The Poeming,’ a project in which poets were assigned a Stephen King book as a source text. Mine was Misery, the story

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Life in the Box: Rachel Maddow and Cliff-hangers

July 31st, 2017 | Television | 1 Comment

One of my continual complaints about television news programs is that they tell a bit of “what happened today,” but rarely does their quick read-through of headlines give enough breadth and depth for serious understanding.

Enter Rachel Maddow, MSNBC cable

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Life’s Matters: Gray People

July 28th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

To be black in America is to be “gray,” born into two disparate societies, each with its ideals. Navigating the rocky terrain of both societies is an everyday challenge faced by every black person in the United States. Blacks are

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Karrie Waarala

July 26th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Hadieh Shafie

My Ex-Husband Went on an Ego Trip
and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Not that it fits. These relearning years
have packed good fat back onto these wicker
bones, I am no longer a splintered shipwreck

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Greg Dunn

July 20th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Drawings, Illustration, Photography | No Comments

Self Reflected 
(detail), basal ganglia and brainstem, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ x 130″, 2014-2016

Self Reflected
 (detail), thalamus and basal ganglia, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ x 130″, 2014-2016

Self Reflected
 (detail), motor and parietal cortex, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ x …

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Review of Ice Mountain, by Dave Bonta

July 19th, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Ice Mountain, An Elegy, by Dave Bonta

Phoenicia Publishing, 2017

Illustrations by Elizabeth Adams

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk

During the dog days of summer, you might enjoy a bracing romp through snowy woods in Ice Mountain, by Dave

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Via Basel: Just Received…

July 16th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

July 16, 2017

Dear Dad,

On this day, my birthday, I thought this would be a good time to send you this letter. In addition, in a few days it would have been seven years in earthly time since I

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Dog Days 2017

July 12th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Tamara Muller

Virginia Bell


Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was part of a 3-ship Spanish expedition that got caught in a storm in 1528 off the Gulf Coast of what is now Florida. He and three other survivors walked

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Love in a Coffin Shop

July 5th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Mariann Johansen-Ellis

Richard Jones is the editor of Poetry East which, in special issues, has featured short essays about the composing process together with the poems. This summer, in a course he is teaching, he has assigned such essays to

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Music for Music: Inventionis Mater

July 1st, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Inventionis Mater: Zappa Reinvented
By Dan Ursini © 2017

Frank Zappa was a deeply innovative musical thinker whose music drew on rock, jazz, doo wop, blues, lounge, classical—and made it all sound amusing.  His songs had sarcastic lyrics sung by

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Accidental Critic: The Natural Way of Things

June 24th, 2017 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

A young woman awakens in a room she doesn’t recognize, wearing clothing she’s never seen, with no idea where she is other than the middle of nowhere. She assumes she is in a mental asylum—we’ve no idea yet as to

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Via Basel: On Letting Go—The End

June 22nd, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments


In a few weeks we will be celebrating the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau (born July 12, 1817). An American icon, philosopher, poet, and lover of the wild, this is what he said: “for a man is rich

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Review of American Ephemeral by Justin Hamm

June 21st, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Justin Hamm

American Ephemeral by Justin Hamm
Kelsay Books, Aldrich Press, 2017

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk

American Ephemeral, by Justin Hamm, is a perfect book to read in the month of June. It contains strong father poems, great baseball

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Theatre Review: Brits Off Broadway

June 16th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

59 E. 59 St. Theaters
Written by Torben Betts 

Directed by Christopher Harper 
June 3, 2017
My Eyes Went Dark
Written and Directed by Matthew Wilkinson

June 10, 2017 

Reviewed By Scott Klavan 

Now in

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Judith Peck

June 15th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

, oil and plaster on board, 20″ x 16″, 2017

, oil and plaster on board, 40″ x 60″ (diptych), 2016

The Divide
, oil and plaster on board, 40″ x 30″, 2017

Urban Dream
, oil and …

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Father Poems

June 14th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Sharon Wolpoff

Susanna Lang 


The water my father aches for
is not the tap water run cold

into a glass, though his tongue
is chalky after so many days without;
not the spring bubbling up clear as if

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Toon Musings: Funnies and the Paper of Record

June 13th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

The New York Times went slumming last Sunday, and published their first all-comics issue of the Magazine. I say ‘slumming’ because the Times, alone among American newspapers (as far as I know) does not have a comics page—has never had

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Toon Musings: Alternate Facts, Comic Book Style

June 6th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments


The recent popularity of the superhero genre brings back peculiar feelings for me; I was a fervent comic book fan back in the day, beginning with Batman and the World War Two era Blackhawk, and progressing (as many illnesses

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Lana Hechtman Ayers

May 31st, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Nate Frizzell, Short Break Between Fights


On September 11, 2001, my older brother was at World Trade Center building 4 for a special certification class related to his job as an electrical engineer. After the planes hit the towers,

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Life in the Box: Pop Dance

May 30th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Last week I got a Disco Divas CD at a yard sale, and as I played it in my car, I suddenly found myself happy and singing and bouncing around in my seat. It’s been many decades since I drank

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Via Basel: Letting go…continued

May 29th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Phillip Compton, Marsh Creek West Shore Sunset

In my last post I discussed retirement and letting go. Even in the short time since then several opportunities that were not on my radar have materialized, some of which are really exciting

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Music for Music: Nossa Alma Canta

May 27th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Music for Music: The Singular Achievement of Nossa Alma Canta

By Dan Ursini

As you may know, one of the many, uh, unexpected impacts of the Internet on art and commerce is most/all artists now find themselves operating in a

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Accidental Critic: Cast of Characters

May 26th, 2017 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

Cast of Characters caught my eye in the bookstore a few months ago, but I passed it by because the time wasn’t right. Having just recently finished re-reading one of my favorite E.B. White essay collections a couple of weeks

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Tim Hunt

May 24th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Jurgen Burgin

Memorial Day, 1955 (Golden Gate National Cemetery, The Presidio, San Francisco, California)

The fog, ebbing from the hill,
leaves a tide line
of white stones on the green beach
where you are standing with those
who have brought

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Life in the Box: Candidate Tests?

May 22nd, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Americans made a mistake in this past Presidential election. They voted for a man based on his attitude, rather than his knowledge. They intentionally chose a guy that knew (knows?) not much about government, other than that he wants to

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Sharon Wolpoff

May 18th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Downtown Pistoia (Woolrich)
, oil on linen, 24″ x 16″, 2016

Studio Legale #2
, oil on canvas, 23″ x 16″, 2016

Lucca Fortress
, oil on linen, 22″ x 26″, 2016

Lucca #10
, oil on linen, 22″ x …

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Theatre Review: Oslo

May 16th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

Oslo by J. T. Rogers

Directed by Bartlett Sher

Lincoln Center Theater at the Vivian Beaumont

Reviewed by Scott Klavan   
May 10, 2017 

The only thing as hard as negotiating a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians might

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Under a Rock: Lockup

May 15th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Lockup: Engrossed Watching the Human Condition

Why did they steal?

Why did they kill?

Am I like them at all?

Perhaps this is what drew me in to the now-cancelled TV series Lockup. The MSNBC show ran for 25

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A Semi-Arranged Romance

May 12th, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A New Dawn

by Sudha Balagopal

Laurel Highlands Publishing, 2016

reviewed by Seana Graham

Usha’s story begins when she accidentally locks herself in the bathroom of her own house. It’s a wake-up call of sorts, making her realize her

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Mother’s Day 2017

May 10th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Lucy Capehart

Jan Bottiglieri

A History in Light

For years of my girlhood I could not make sense
of my mother’s story: her mother’s
mother, filling a lamp

while her baby played beneath the wooden table.
How the kerosene caught

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Life in the Box: Visual Emotion

May 9th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Along the forest trail, morning light weaves through new tree buds and tickles tiny spring beauties for an instant. Suddenly the sound bouquet of twittering sparrows, scraping of branches with wind, and swishing creek water all stop. Click. I have

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Listening to the Wind

May 7th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Audiobook with a cast of 166 narrators

A “reader” response by Kathleen Kirk (last of a 3-part series)

There were very few sound effects in the audiobook version of Lincoln in the Bardo

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Still Listening…

May 5th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Audiobook with a cast of 166 narrators

Part 2 of a “reader” response-in-progress by Kathleen Kirk

I am still listening to Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, via audiobook. Soon, I’ll

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Virginia Bell

May 4th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Mario Gomez


In 1897, Agnes Nestor moved with her family from rural Michigan to Chicago and began to work in a glove factory.  She was 14 years old, 5 feet tall, and weighed 90 pounds. She went on to …

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Via Basel: On Retirement and Letting go

May 3rd, 2017 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

On May 1st I officially retired from the private practice of orthopedic surgery after forty years and four months in one location and mostly at one hospital, Little Company of Mary in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Although the date had been

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Toon Musings: Sexytime with Turtles

May 2nd, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Their eyes met…

Why is it always the lady sea creature who falls for the shipwrecked man and renounces her species to become human?

The Red Turtle is a new film by  dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, in a

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Under a Rock: Verbally Purging on Binging

May 1st, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Doctor Who, Gilmore Girls, Weeds, Stranger Things, How to Get Away with Murder, and, of course, Orange is the New Black.

You film them? I devour them.

If you did a Google search on

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Life’s Matters: The Grip of Biases

April 27th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Life’s Matters: The Grip of Biases

Getting in Touch with Our Biases
We humans seem to be hard-wired to sort, sift, and compartmentalize, not just the experiences of our lives, but also the people with whom we interact or hear

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Listening to Lincoln in the Bardo

April 26th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Audiobook with a cast of 166 narrators

A “reader” response-in-progress by Kathleen Kirk

I say “listening” because I am still listening—not at this moment (when I am beginning to write) but only after

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Music for Music: Rossitza Milevska

April 25th, 2017 | Music | 1 Comment

Music for Music is our new column by Dan Ursini. He’ll be finding wonderful new music for us on YouTube!

Music for Music: Charting the Endless Music Video Horizon—a Vista of Digital Information the Size of a Polar Continent: Rossitza

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Life in the Box: News Roundup

April 24th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Life is changing quickly, so here’s a collection of updates on current topics. Links to related columns and articles are included below the “author” paragraph.

Itching for a Fight:
So in recent weeks, our President has presided in:  dropping the

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Theatre Review: Come From Away

April 23rd, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

Come From Away
Book, Music & Lyrics by Irene Sankoff & David Hein
Directed by Christopher Ashley
Broadway—Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th Street, New York, NY

Reviewed by Scott Klavan
April 19, 2017

Canadians’ reputation for being modest,

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Accidental Critic: Earth Day

April 22nd, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Today is Earth Day, and my recent reading has me in the right frame of mind. I’ve been comforting myself lately by re-reading (for what my mother would have declared the umpteenth time) one of my favorite authors: E.B. White.

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Duy Huynh

April 20th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | 1 Comment

Counting on the Cosmos, acrylic on wood panel, 30″ x 30″, 2017

Recursive Dream Study, acrylic on wood panel, 24″ x 36″, 2017

River of No Regrets, acrylic on wood panel, 18″ x 18″, 2017

Seahorse Oddisea

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Under a Rock: Shameless and Proud

April 13th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Where on Earth have I been for six years?

If, unlike me, you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the masterful hit series Shameless (U.S.) that aired its first episode in January of 2011. I won’t bore

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Review of Haunted City

April 12th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Haunted City by Julie Brooks Barbour
Kelsay Books, Aldrich Press, 2017
Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

The poems in Haunted City, by Julie Brooks Barbour, are indeed haunting. They read like a book of scary fairy tales

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Life in the Box: Picking Up

April 10th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Life is more than politics. I’m taking a week off to consider “other stuff.”

I made five dollars last week by picking up other people’s trash. It’s a new hobby of mine, paid in 5-cent increments.

Let me back up:

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Theatre Review: The Hairy Ape

April 7th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Richard Jones at The Park Avenue Armory
Reviewed by Scott Klavan
April 1, 2017 

Gamestop, the preeminent video game store chain, put up a loss in earnings this past quarter of 11%

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Toon Musings: The Chicago Imagists and “Low Art”

April 6th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

L’Art Populaire!

I am blessed to live in Chicagoland— that’s what we call it here— deep in Flyover Country. Because of its central location, it became prominent in many industries, and because it was an industrial hub, it grew to

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Random Goodness

April 5th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

April is National Poetry Month, and poets celebrate in a variety of ways. Many write a poem a day with writing groups or in online workshops. Some devote themselves to reading poetry books in April, and many attend or give

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Accidental Critic: I Am Not Your Negro

April 4th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment
By Allan warren (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

“The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.”

-James Baldwin

By Allan warren (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

By Allan Warren (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

I Am Not Your Negro, a

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The Freedom Caucus isn’t Freeing Anyone  

April 3rd, 2017 | Television | 1 Comment


Life in the Box: The Freedom Caucus isn’t Freeing Anyone

Soldiers have a saying, “Freedom isn’t free.” In some circles, you might hear that soldiers have laid down their lives for our freedom. These word are said in the

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Guest Blogger: Justin Hamm

April 1st, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments


Justin Hamm on the Making of American Ephemeral 

In more than one interview over the years, a certain curly-headed, Wayfarer-wearing rock-poet claims all his songs are autobiographical—that is, if you know where to look. Which seems like it must

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Christine Cardellino

March 16th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Hansel and Gretel, acrylic/mixed media on canvas, 38″ x 34″, 2016

Sleeping Beauty
, acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 24″, 2016

Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins, acrylic and collage on canvas, 48″ x 36″, 2017


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Via Basel: The Vigil

March 13th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Remembering Rosalind Al-Aswad

(died March 13, 2003)


The Vigil 

Her bedroom, coal mine dark,
cold and damp, windows
shuttered. Her breath, slow
and labored, gurgling,
stop and go.

Holding the moment still,
stoic dad, two children
embracing, waiting, tears

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A Belarusian Chorus

March 11th, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Voices from Chernobyl: the Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Tchernobylskaia Molitva)

by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Keith Gessen

Editions Ostojie, 1997, Dalkey Archive Press 2005, Picador 2006

reviewed by Seana Graham


I wasn’t at the meeting

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Life in the Box: If I Wanted War

March 6th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Light verse (or shall we say dark verse) by columnist Nancy Heather Brown


If I wanted war, I would dream and I would scheme,

And I would look around the world for places to demean.

Let’s see… Israel’s a

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Life in the Box: When Life Begins

March 1st, 2017 | Television | No Comments

When does a tiny collection of cells in a woman’s body go from being a bunch of cells on life support—to being a person? When does that intangible “spirit” enter the body and stay there? When does one person—the potential

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Accidental Critic: Church of the Informed Citizen

February 26th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

These are confusing and uncertain times, politically. Here in the U.S., we live in a country divided, a chasm separating left from right, urban from rural, sister from brother. It’s enough to make many of us avoid the news, avoid

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Justin Hamm, Poems

February 22nd, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments


Where grown-old pickups go
to live out their remaining days.
The rusty, the crusty, the boxlike in body,
the last of the clunker-cash refugees    
parked outside of midcentury diners
or near the downest and dirtiest dives—
or else half

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Kelle Sauer

February 16th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

Salubria, digital photograph, 4″ x 3″

, digital photograph, 4″ x 6″

, digital photograph, 6″ x 4″

Le Rose del Mattino
, digital photograph, 6″ x 4″

Anne’s Lace, digital photograph, 4″ x 6″


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Scott Klavan on Political Theater

February 15th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

Zachary Walsh


An Essay by Scott Klavan 

Twenty-one months before his death, in March of 2007, the great British playwright Harold Pinter appeared on Charlie Rose’s PBS interview show. Rose tried to ask Pinter

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Via Basel: Hamilton, A Perspective

February 14th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Born in Iraq (Mesopotamia), also called The Cradle of Civilization, it came naturally to me to have an interest in history. Prior to any of my many trips over the years, be it to sightsee, hike, or just visit friends,

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Life in the Box: Oath of Truth

February 13th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

This is the oath of office every U.S. Senator and Representative swears to verbally, and in writing, on the first day of their service:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the

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A True Account of Stolen Love

February 8th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Erin Cone

Love Poems for Valentine’s Day 2017

Dave Awl 

You Won’t Remember This

You won’t remember this but I think I knew I loved you
when you stuck up for me in PE class.
You won’t remember this but

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New Year, New Era–New Language

February 3rd, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments



Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World

by Ella Frances Sanders

Tenspeed Press, 2014

reviewed by Seana Graham


For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s

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Toon Musings: Dilbert’s Delusional Dad

February 1st, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Hey, folks! Are we having fun yet? The last time I wrote you, it was shortly before the election and I was soul-sick of the whole sordid enterprise. At that point I was sooo sick of Donald Trump, and was

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Life in the Box: Reflected Bits

January 30th, 2017 | Television | No Comments


Did you know Narcissism is a psychological disorder? I looked it up on Mayo Clinic online, and some of the symptoms include:  

     –Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
     –Exaggerating your achievements and talents.

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Theatre Review: Beauty Queen of Leenane

January 29th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

Photographs: © 2017 Richard Termine
PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Garry Hynes
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Reviewed by Scott Klavan
Jan. 25, 2017

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is

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Life’s Matters: Embracing Peace

January 27th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

The word ‘peace’ comes up a lot these days. We want peace throughout the world, peace in our country, peace in our communities, and peace of mind within ourselves. We long for the tranquility and equilibrium of peace. We all

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Life in the Box: Creative Path

January 23rd, 2017 | Television | No Comments

When you are creative, you face many decisions, the most important of which is—what do you want to create and share with others? It doesn’t matter whether you use music, paint brushes, dance steps or words; what matters is using

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Alexandra Eldridge

January 19th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

To Hold Infinity
, mixed media, 20″ x 17″, 2016

60 x 48
The  Ceaseless Process of Becoming
, mixed media, 60″ x 48″, 2016

Sweet Delight
, mixed media, 60″ x 48″, 2015 

How to Teach a Soul to Fly, mixed

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Via Basel: A Letter on Martin Luther King Day

January 16th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

17th May 1957: Back view of American civil rights leader and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), dressed in black robes and holding out his hands towards the thousands of people who have gathered to hear him

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Life in the Box: Reality Check

January 11th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

There have always been many reasons to distrust “The Government”—especially regarding war-related propaganda—but, in general, most reporters have trusted government statistics for decades. American Census data, reports from bureaus of Labor, Justice, Transportation, Economic Analysis, and hundreds of others feed

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Life in the Box: 2017 Strategic Thinking

December 26th, 2016 | Television | 1 Comment


Okay Democrats, progressives and liberals, buckle up for a rough ride for the next 4 years (at least.)

From the campaign, we know President Chump’s usual operating strategies. Let’s summarize:
1. Don’t over-think it.
2. Scare the public.
3. Be

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Via Basel: Year End Message 2016

December 22nd, 2016 | EIL Blog | No Comments
escapeintolife jzanes 8

escapeintolife jzanes 8
Julia Zanes

Year End Message from the Founder’s Father

escapeintolife jzanes 2Dear Family, Friends, and EIL Readers,

This year 2016 has been a difficult and challenging year from a personal and collective perspective. My family has had our share of serious illnesses,

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Toilet Guy by Scott Klavan

December 20th, 2016 | Theatre | No Comments

Sailor Song, HQ by Aaron Reichert

Aaron Reichert

For the past few years, I have been collecting audition notices, or “breakdowns” for actors. Basically, I’ve been interested in the most ridiculous ones I could find. Today, I am presenting my favorites. These are all actual notices,

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Mud, Sweat and Tears

December 17th, 2016 | Book Reviews | No Comments

raymondc_wThe Muddy Season

by Matthew Raymond

Black Lawrence Press, 2016

reviewed by Seana Graham

She was born in the muddy season, with the rain coming steadily down and the villagers standing at the window looking in. Pulling her blue

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Michelle McKinney

December 15th, 2016 | Artist Watch | No Comments

Veil 1, suspended sculpture in woven copper, 350mm x 350 mm x 250 mm, 2016

Veil 2
, suspended sculpture in woven brass and gold wire,

350mm x 350 mm x 250 mm, 2016

Veil 3
, suspended sculpture

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“Loving” and Fearing Race Relations

December 12th, 2016 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments


Guest commentary by Billie Wade

The movie Loving chronicles the battle of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving who defied the laws of the State of Virginia in 1958 by marrying. I attended the movie the day after Thanksgiving with

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The Babylon Line

December 10th, 2016 | Theatre | No Comments

Bo Bartlett

The Babylon Line by Richard Greenberg
Directed by Terry Kinney
Lincoln Center Theater at the Mitzi E. Newhouse

Reviewed by Scott Klavan
December 7, 2016

Levittown, Long Island, 1967, and the people stay close to their middle-class planned

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Amy Strauss Friedman

December 7th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Sue McNally


Even Retail Therapy is a Prayer 

“If God wasn’t invented for a time like this, then why invent him at all?”
– Essie Masters in
Masters of Sex 

Every life is a Beckett play
clawing toward a

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Pushcart Prize Nominations

November 30th, 2016 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Life in the Box: Have a Cow, Buttercup

November 28th, 2016 | Television | No Comments

cow-tv-sm Buttercup is a cow name. Some farmers in Iowa thinks it’s funny to say, “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

And some Iowa farmers have elected a state Representative who is using that phrase as the title for his proposed legislation which

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Fragments of a Life

November 18th, 2016 | Book Reviews | No Comments

bozena-front-cover200The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová: A Biographical Collage

By Kelcey Parker Ervick

Rose Metal Press, 2016

Reviewed by Seana Graham

A couple of months ago, Rose Metal Press contacted us here at Escape Into Life and asked if

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Lisa Goesling

November 17th, 2016 | Artist Watch, Drawings | No Comments

Spontaneous Combustion 8
, black scratchboard, 7″ x 5″, 2016

Spontaneous Combustion 12
, black scratchboard, 7″ x 5″, 2016

Spontaneous Combustion 14
, black scratchboard, 7″ x 5″, 2016

Spontaneous Combustion 830
, black scratchboard, 9-1/8″ x 25″, 2016…

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Janeen Pergrin Rastall

November 16th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Andrea Kowch


With beads I pray, whisper to
Vincenzo Grossi, Maria Romero,
all the novice saints. I beg
for fear to fall away – the clatter
of unlocked shackles
like the child lost
in a crowd pressing
toward a

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Erin Coughlin Hollowell

November 9th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Michelle Thompson


A uniform hieroglyphic

Time isn’t thinking of her sitting
beside this man she doesn’t know

even though she has slept to the cadence
of his breath for more than seventy years.

Every Sunday her children call

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Various Pumpkinheads

November 2nd, 2016 | Artist Blog | No Comments


Well, I was going to write a column on cartoonist Scott Adams (Dilbert) and his most recent foray into political analysis: praising Donald Trump for his skills as a Master Persuader. I got pretty deep in the weeds

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The Fringe Festival Shuts Down

November 2nd, 2016 | Theatre | No Comments

Paulo Sergio Zerbato


A Theater Essay

by Scott Klavan 

What happens when the “fringe” becomes the mainstream? Apparently, it goes out of business. Because Elena K. Holy, the Artistic Director of New York’s famed New York International Fringe Festival

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Life in the Box: Anticipating

October 31st, 2016 | Television | No Comments

tv-box-hillary-smHillary Wins! Cartoonists go wild!

As I write this the last week of October, 2016, I wonder what the visual artists are doing to prepare for America’s first female President. Just in case, ya know.

hillary-2-smLooking at the Google Images

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The Rain in Portugal

October 28th, 2016 | EIL Blog | No Comments

the-rain-in-portugal-book-coverThe Rain in Portugal

by Billy Collins

Random House, 2016

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk

It’s always delightful to find a book of poems on the New York Times bestseller list, and it’s no surprise that the book is by Billy

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Catherine Moore

October 26th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Isabelle Cochereau
Isabelle Cochereau

Bog Body Murmurs 

In the encyclopedia of ends we are named for the bog, melting and churning, that exhumes us. Our stories within the tarn are tale-less. We are the many lesses— breathless, ceaseless, eyeless, fruitless, garbless, merciless,

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Life in the Box: Spider Effects

October 24th, 2016 | Television | No Comments


Creative people tend to be noticers. We like to notice things: details, little oddities, splendid patterns, smells and feelings. So I’ve been noticing spiders and their webs lately. They get really busy webbing up stuff in the fall. So when

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Kit Kittle

October 20th, 2016 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

, 2016

, 2016

, 2016

, 2016

, 2016

Artist Statement

Since the 1980s, I have been fascinated by the use of bodies in photography. A photograph of a person inherently imposes a perspective

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The Bounce and Chaos

October 19th, 2016 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Abigail Markov

It’s great when the forces of the universe align to show us something: natural correspondences, the aurora borealis, how to tell time or measure distance by sun and shadow, how opposites attract, or, in this case, the remarkable

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Theatre Review: Heisenberg

October 14th, 2016 | Theatre | No Comments


HEISENBERG by Simon Stephens
Directed by Mark Brokaw
Manhattan Theatre Club:
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 W. 47th St., New York, NY

Reviewed by Scott Klavan 

Heisenberg is a theory dressed as a play. The two-character work by Simon

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Rob Carney & Cats

October 12th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Karen Knorr_The-Maharajas-Apartment-Udaipur-City-Palace-600x480

Karen Knorr

In October here at Escape Into Life, we join the Internet in its ongoing celebration of cats, kittens, kitties, kittehs, etc. Here are some new poems, with felines in them, by Rob Carney, as well as a

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Life in the Box: Who Needs Feral Cats?

October 10th, 2016 | Television | No Comments


Cats are the leading cause of death of birds. Now, is that a nice thing to say about those lovely felines that make us laugh so much on YouTube?

Sorry, but you gotta keep your cat inside. And that feral

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CatOber 2016

October 5th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Mathilde Aubier_Half-Lady-and-Fireflies

Mathilde Aubier

Pat Daneman   

Lady of the House

          …and I a smiling woman…

                                      —Sylvia Plath

Husband gone
to work, it’s time

to let the madmen
out, ask them to help

slice cabbages. Children
at school, I bend back

covers of

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Toon Musings: Banned Dessinée

September 29th, 2016 | Artist Blog | No Comments


(See, the title is a play on words– the french phrase for comic strip is “bande dessinée”, or literally: “drawn strip”. I suppose I could have gone with ‘stripverboden’, since “stripverhaal” is dutch for comic strip and “verboden” is dutch

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Jan Bottiglieri

September 28th, 2016 | Poetry | No Comments

Susan Hall- Shoreline
Susan Hall


              — After Carl Philips

After grief had left my body to find another,
or—set loose so—found no other
who would harbor, no
body so given to its heavy rest,
that languor—something

                       cleaner remained:
candor, maybe grace, like

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Field Guide to the End of the World

September 21st, 2016 | EIL Blog | No Comments

field-guide-mediumField Guide to the End of the World

by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Moon City Press, 2016

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk
Poetry Editor at EIL


As you know from its title, this is the book you want with you during

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Toon Musings: Kubo’s Artful Stopping and Starting

September 20th, 2016 | Artist Blog | No Comments

kubo_and_the_two_stringsBack when I was working regularly in animation, we did things the Old Fashioned Way: pegbars, lightboxes, transparency sheets, drying racks, and lots and lots of cel vinyl paint. Now that Flash and Toonboom and other animation programs have proliferated,

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Luca Cruzat

September 15th, 2016 | Artist Watch | No Comments

EIL 1 Dressed IMG_4238
Dressed to Comply, collagraph, color pencil, ed. unique, 42″ x 25″, 2016

EIL 2 Birthday
, collagraph and screenprint, ed. unique, 22″ x  30″, 2016

getPart (2)
Don’t say that, don’t do that, and don’t touch that!
, collagraph and screenprint, ed. 1/2,

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