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Page 1

Issue One

Be at .







Beat Manifesto

Mission statement: The views, objectives, and principles this magazine stand for.

Washington Square Art:


Dave Heath captured the life of his generation through his photographs. A new book has come out, sharing his work and that life with our generation.


What Unites Us Photography:

William Vrachopoulos explores the abandonment of modern principles in favor of a natural lifestyle in his new photo essay.

Culture Art:


An account of recent and current exhibitions and a theatrical performance, taking a close look into context and messages of the art.

42. 84.

Table of Contents

Hitch to Hamburg Travel:

A twenty-something ventures into the antiquated travel method of hitchhiking... and lives to tell about it.


Creative Writing: A selection of three poems that explore issues relating to finding connections in post-modern life.


Marching Church



A brief study of Danish punk rock band Iceage and its literary origins.

Writers to Read Interview:


Six up-and-coming writers talk about what drives them to write, what it means to be a writer, and how writers live today.

Where are the style rebels?



Artistic rebels have existed throughout time, catalyzing change. But what happens once the rebels run out of ideas to rebel against?

Self-Reliant Fasion



A reflective look at how the industrial and material needs of fashion distract from artistic and creative goals.


at t

e e B Ba Editor in Chief Art Director

GRAPHICS&LAYOUT Liza Gusarova STYLE DIRECTION Robyn Turk PHOTOGRAPHY Sebastian Hesselsjรถ Patricia M. Medici Kristen Tomkowid William Vrachopoulos COPY EDITOR Robyn Turk WRITTEN CONTRIBUTION Sophia Cosby Giosiana Giannatiempo Patricia M. Medici Andreia Pedro Sarah Simon Julia Sloboda Ilana Turk Robyn Turk ILLUSTRATION&DRAWING Brogan Bertie Cynthia Jreige Emily Silvern Daniel Gardiner Jessica Szu-Chun Chen Elisa Trimarchi


Listof Artworks 10

2. 15.

1950s New York Scene 1

Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen

William Burroughs in the beat hotel, Paris, 1959 Elisa Trimarchi


Burroughs with Alene Lee Elisa Trimarchi


Freedom Tower Study Daniel Gardiner


Allen Ginsberg Self Portrait in AP Darkroom, 1949



Kerouac, Time and Place Unkown


Elisa Trimarchi

Elisa Trimarchi

Brooklyn Bridge, August 14, 3:58pm

Sebastian Hesselsjรถ

Brooklyn Bridge Study

Daniel Gardiner



William Burroughs, Photography by Allen Ginsberg , 1953 Elisa Trimarchi


Skyline 1

Daniel Gardiner

64. 94.

Random Book Cover Which I Can’t Find

Elisa Trimarchi

Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen

Brooklyn Bridge, August 14 4:17PM

Sebastian Hesselsjö


I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman

Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen


1950s New York Scene 2

Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen


1950s New York Scene 3


Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg

Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen

Jessuca Szu-Chun Chen


  In the late 1940s, a group of Columbia University students felt disillusioned with post-WWII America. They believed that there was once a great America, a vast land of freedom and opportunity, and it was now gone. Transcendentalists Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about such an America nearly a century earlier. But America had changed between Whitman’s famed 1855 “Song of Myself” and the modernist era. These Columbia students lived in the early-20th century—an age of turmoil and change. Technology was advancing at an alarmingly high rate, with the inventions of cars and planes and moving film and telephones, and humanity had become a threat to itself, creating two highly destructive wars that collectively wiped out nearly 80 million people.   So they dealt with this confusion the only way they could: through art. The Columbia students—Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr—along with some other friends, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso, formed what is now known as the Beat Generation. They used literature, writing prose and poems of the issues they saw in their contemporary life in attempt to find resolution. In retrospect, many think of the Beats as raunchy, rebellious youngsters who embraced violence and profanity. This is incorrect.   From a first impression, the word “beat” itself has violent connotations; you think of it as “beat up,” like hitting. But there are so many uses for the word. There’s a musical beat, to beat someone in a game, the beating of a heart, feeling beat, as tired. There’s also the spiritual concept of beatific, which basically means feeling blissfully happy. Beat is a four-letter word that encompasses so many meanings, which range from positive to negative and sometimes contradict each other. “Beat” was the perfect choice for Kerouac when aiming to describe a broad concept.   Kerouac didn’t invent Beat, he simply put a word to it. As he explained in his essay, “The Origins of a Generation,” Beat had been around long before the Generation. He lists instances of Beats throughout his own history, from his grandfather swinging a kerosene lamp during thunderstorms in the 1880s, to his Breton ancestors in Europe, or his father’s wild parties in the 1920s, and the teenagers drinking beer on Friday nights and playing baseball to work off hangovers during the “crazy days before World War II.” Whitman and Emerson were Beat. The Beats Generation did not create Beat, nor did they every claim to. They were the first organized team of Beats, and they were first to label the notion.   Despite the fact that the Generation spent their careers making literature out of Beat, Beat is not easily described in words. It’s an idea and it’s a feeling. It’s a state of mind and a state of being. It can be a type of art or a type of person. Allen Ginsberg explained, “The point of beat is that you get beaten down to a certain nakedness where you are actually able to see the world in a visionary way.”   Kerouac always defined Beat in lengthy, indirect phrases rich with imagery. In one instance, he said that Beat stands for “long outlines of personal experience and vision, nightlong confessions full of hope that had become illicit and repressed by War, stirrings, rumblings of a new soul (that same old human soul).” He said that Beats “have a certain new gesture, or attitude, which I can only describe as a new more.” It takes a novel or two before anyone can really clearly understand Kerouac’s mind, so for a more direct definition, I’ve decided to find some adjectives to describe Beat, and I’ll leave them here as this publication’s “manifesto.” Beat is raw. Beat is edgy. Beat is unconventional. Beat is self-indulgent. Beat is caring. Beat is individual. Beat is contradictory. Beat is pure. Beat is intense. Beat is embracing.   This magazine does not intend to idolize the Beat Generation. We do not intend to re-create the Beat Generation or what its members did. We’re not here to carry on the works of Kerouac, Ginsberg, or others. Rather, we aim to highlight the Beat that still exists today, because as Beat existed long before the Generation, it continues to exist after them. We agree with the term Kerouac coined to describe the concept, and therefore we are borrowing it for this publication.


We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishmentbodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.

Allen Ginsberg, from “Sunflower Sutra”




Culture: arts humanities, performance, life Franz Kline. Mahoning. 1956. Oil on canvas. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York


WORDS Robyn Turk IMAGES William Eggleston Franz Kline Jackson Pollock Emily Silvern


Clyfford Still. PH-950. 1950. Oil on canvas. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver.


Abstract Expressionism   There has been a great deal of excitement and media buzz surrounding a large-scale exhibition of Abstract Expressionism at London’s Royal Academy. British art enthusiasts were pleased to see the country’s first organized display of Abstract Expressionist works since 1959 in an exhibition that intended to showcase the phenomenon of American Abstract Expressionism as a whole, and unite the many artists of the movement.   Abstract Expressionism arose from the confusion and disillusionment American society felt in the aftermath of World War II. It was the first movement in modern art that started in the United States and went on to join the global art scene. Originally referred to as “action painting,” the movement focuses on the active process of creating art rather than the aesthetics or outcome of the final product. In creating this type of work, the artist expresses his feelings through making art rather than illustrating what he wants to say. The results are usually large-scale canvases that carry visible emotion and depth; though Abstract Expressionist artists never explicitly paint their thoughts, the viewer can read exactly what they felt while creating the works. Jackson Pollock’s dripping technique led to images that appear to come from a place of utter chaos, but in reality, Pollock employed a great amount of control and planning when creating images in this way. Abstract Expressionism is in fact controlled chaos. He and many of his contemporary expressionists found motivation in the turmoil they felt in their atmosphere. They turned disarray into something beautiful, turning to nature, spirituality, and philosophy as inspirations. Pollock in particular looked at Native American art and culture, as well as the vast landscape of the American west, which was probably the influence for many Abstract Expressionists to turn to large-scale formats. Many of these artists considered philosophical notions of art as well, specifically that there is a universality amongst people, a collective subconscious, and that art should try to embody that subconscious and aim to discover a balance.   The artworks of the Abstract Expressionist movement are classified by the expressive quality of their production, rather than a specific aesthetic or artistic style. While the members of the movement had similar incentives to create and ideas to convey, for the most part, their works have distinctive appeals. This type of art is highly personal to the artist, revealing how they saw the world in which they lived, and allowing the viewer to take a peer into a new perspective and grasp how the artist coped with the confusion and pain in modern society. That being said, most Abstract Expressionist paintings can be identified by layers upon layers of paint, visible and dramatic brushstrokes, and the inclusion of found non-art materials either within the work or used to create the work. While it is timely that education of the powerful mid-20th century movement travel overseas, this hyped up exhibition could have been made stronger. The

organization of the twelve galleries allotted to the exhibition was inconsistent; the first couple of rooms were split into specific artists, with single rooms centered on Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Stills, and others. But then other galleries were divided thematically with rooms focusing on color, harsh brushwork, use of black and white, and such. The aim of the exhibition seems to be to provide a comprehensive coverage of the Abstract Expressionist movement as a whole, as it includes expressionist art of various media, including photography and sculpture, whereas typically Abstract Expressionism is only thought of as paintings. The exhibition even goes a bit past the realm of Abstract Expressionism, with much attention paid to artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman who painted in the Color Field style of large blocks of color applied to canvas. Though this type of work is closely associated with Abstract Expressionism and Rothko and Newman worked alongside the traditional Abstract Expressionists, the exhibition did not make it too clear how the minimal forms of Color Field painting meshed into Abstract Expressionism.   And with the multitude of artists included in the exhibition, it’s surprising to consider the exclusion of any artists involved with the second wave of Abstract Expressionism. The second wave took place primarily in the mid 1950s, and the artists involved were mainly women, including Grace Hartigan, Elaine de Kooning, and Michael West. In fact, there are barely any woman included in the exhibition; Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell are featured, but mainly as supplements to other artists.   Perhaps the weakness of the Royal Academy’s exhibition is due to the fact that it fails to present a singular definition of what Abstract Expressionism is. As the its works are not normally classified by style but rather processes and motivations, ideas of what defines the movement are numerous. In the end of 2010 and early 2011, New York’s Museum of Modern Art held three concurrent exhibitions on Abstract Expressionism: The Big Picture, Ideas Not Theories: Artists and The Club, 1942-1962, and Rock Paper Scissors. Respectively, the exhibitions were showed how the movement’s works conveyed common messages of human values and personal conviction despite differing styles, told of topics discussed by Abstract Expressionists in artist circles in Greenwich Village, and revealed the range of mediums used in Abstract Expressionist works, including wood, stone, lead, etching, lithography, and crayon. In total, the MOMA displayed 250 works of Abstract Expressionism, and utilized the three exhibitions to explore the entirety of the movement from the 1940s through 60s, acknowledging the fact that the movement is not easily classified. Had the Royal Academy’s exhibition laid out a clear explanation of what it believes Abstract Expressionism to mean and noted the fact that it is such a vast topic, maybe its viewers would have left with a more sufficient understanding of the complex movement.

Jackson Pollock. Number 30. 195-. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 20



  The concept of color photography is quite customary today, but it was in fact revolutionary in its beginnings a few decades ago. William Eggleston, the pioneer behind the now-commonplace marvel, has been an object of large attention in the art world recently. In addition to a show that ended December in David Zwirner’s Gallery in New York, Eggleston is the feature of numerous current and forthcoming exhibitions: until February 2017, an exhibition of Eggleston’s photographs is on display in Essen, Germany; his work will be presented at the NGV Festival of Photography in Victoria, Australia this March; and closer to his Memphis home, Eggleston will contribute to a group exhibition, Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, in Louisville, Kentucky from April through August of 2017. London’s National Portrait Gallery recently hosted William Eggleston Portraits from July to October 2016, though the photographer is not widely considered a portraitist. Traditionally, portraiture is thought of as posed and planned, with subjects displayed as how they themselves intend to be seen. Eggleston’s depictions of people in his photography display his subjects naturally, illuminating who and how they are in an instant in time. His portraits are more real and organic, art that is life rather than art that imitates life.   As Walt Whitman has been called a “poet of democracy,” Eggleston is a photographer of democracy in that all types of items—from bicycles to dishware and from roadscapes to people—have equal value to the photo’s composition and meaning. Untitled, 1965-8 (Memphis Tennessee) shows two people seated at a diner booth from the perspective of an adjacent booth. A woman, likely in her early 60s, sits with her back to her viewer, leaning against the mossy green plastic backrest, which contrasts nicely with her pink gingham top that buttons in the back. The two chains of pearls on her neck nicely mimic the round, luminous gemstones in her up-do. Her cigarette-wielding left hand rests near her right side, falling just below the cigarette in the left hand of her companion. His face is blocked by hers, but he does reveal both of his arms to the viewer, clad in a white button-down shirt. The wall behind the man is maroon red, a nice complement to the green of the booth seats. The only exposed items atop of the brown table between the

subjects are a coffee cup and an empty glass on the left side of the image and a red. pack of cigarettes on the right. The photograph tells a story, each item and detail disclose a plot point to the viewer, taking him or her deeper into the mystery. No matter the conventionality or the simplicity of his commonplace, everyday subjects, there is a continuous and heightened sense of drama in all of Eggleston’s images.  All types of art motivate him: painting, music, literature, etc., seeing art as a unified field rather than multiple fields under one title. Eggleston’s work has a narrative quality derived from his interest in literature; his photographs seem to tell stories and encourage viewers to speculate and to read closely into the images. His approach of seeing photography as the same to other types of artistic media is quite freeing. Eggleston strips away any limits to his work and broadens its style, though only employing one type of medium himself.   At Eggleston’s time, photography as art had only recently become accepted as a viable form of art and was strictly done in black-and-white. Color film was a new notion mainly seen in films and hokey advertisements. However, Eggleston had no interest in sticking to the black-and-white convention. In 1976, the Museum of Modern Art hosted its first-ever exhibition made up solely of color photography, featuring Eggleston’s work. But as with just about every new idea throughout art history, critics detested the notion of color in art photography. Yet negative reviews didn’t faze Eggleston; he felt that he knew his way was right, and anyone who disagreed simply did not understand his art. Eggleston continued photographing in his way, and in result morphed the field of art photography into one that embraced color and black-and-white equally.   Eggleston told Interview Magazine, “I had the attitude that I would work with this present-day material and do the best I could do describe it with photography, not intending to make any particular comment about whether it was good or bad or whether I liked it or not. It was just there, and I was interested in it. That’s what I still do today.” His array of inspiration, defiance of convention, and comment-free documentary style have created a new type of visual language that has allowed for more freedom for later artists.


William Eggleston. Untitled (Memphis Tennesee. 1965-8. Photograph.


William Eggleston. Untitled. 1974. Photograph.


William Eggleston. Untitled c.1970 (Devoe Money in Jackson, Mississippi). 1970 Photograph.


  In 1787, a bunch of rich white men spent their summer in unbearable heat, locked away in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, to write the US Constitution. They put blood, sweat, and tears into perfecting the document that would ensure the nation’s security for consequent centuries.   Now unfortunately, you’re lucky if you can find an American who can list more than two amendments of the Bill of Rights, or who can even recite more than nine words of the Constitution. It’s an age where the “informed voter” bases his or her opinions on candidates from headlines of articles shared on social media and is more interested in how politicians are portrayed rather than their stances. Nowadays, a presidential election is more like an 18-month season of reality TV and we need to form a vote based on who we hate a little bit less. It seems we’ve lost the country our founding fathers spent four months slaving over 200 years ago. So why then is Hamilton the largest Broadway hit since the 1980s? And why does its fan-base extend so far past the typical theater-nerd demographic?   As the entire world knows by now, Hamilton spans the decades of the American Revolution, founding of the country, and the beginning of the nation’s existence, centered on the doings of our first secretary of the treasury. History buffs would probably agree that Alexander Hamilton’s story needed to be popularized— Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Adams have always been household names, but Hamilton died early and never held elected federal office, so mainstream history tends to overlook his contributions a bit. Now everyone knows exactly what Hamilton added to the making of America; thanks for that, Lin-Manuel Miranda.   There is no doubt that the musical is one of the best the Great White Way has ever seen. The show has had a massive celebrity and social media following, as really only the elite can get tickets. The big celebrities, like Oprah, Beyoncé, Tom Hanks, etc., have seen Hamilton, the lesser mainstream Marc Jacobs, Mariska Hargitay, Mark Hoppus celebrities have seen Hamilton, the politicians, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney have seen Hamilton. The celebrity interest led to increased social media attention, which then allowed the show to gain popularity amongst audiences who aren’t typically “theater people.” But something about Hamilton itself has held that attention.   The musical’s contemporary music has allowed the concept of musical theater to become more accessible, even to those who never had an interest before. As everyone who has listened to the soundtrack will support, Miranda’s lyrics and wordplay come from a place of astute thought and crafty planning. Stephanie Klemons’s choreography stands out from all else; the pieces of the story that the words don’t describe are carried on by the performers’ movements. And Paul Tazewell’s accurate and somewhat slight costume design paired with David Korins’s minimal set design allow for the audience’s undisturbed focus to be wholly on the performers. The performers are a story all their own, both the original cast and the current. With no exceptions, they display pure human talent. When so many shows today rely on digital effects or showy techniques, Hamilton lets its actors carry the show. They multitask, spitting out words while contorting in ways we mortals could never move, all with an air of ease.   Hamilton serves as a reminder of what America stands for, beyond “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Hamilton was a self-made man and an immigrant, as so many Americans are. He climbed social ladders and got himself into the presidential cabinet, taking a leading role in the fight for our freedom on his way. Isn’t this the beauty of America? Anyone can be anything. The musical reminds us that the notion of America is a beautiful one. We see Laurens give his life for the country, Mulligan and Lafayette risk theirs, much like Enjolras and Marius in Les Miserables. The difference here is that in this case, Hamilton is a story of triumph and its war is over our freedom; Hamilton is personal. We see Washington putting the Constitution and future of the country ahead of all else, acting with no interest in personal gain. Hamilton shows us a bunch of young, inspirational men who risked everything and invested anything into giving us our country. Makes us want to take care of it better, doesn’t it?   So maybe the real reason Hamilton has held the hearts of so many so quickly is because it’s helping us restore faith in America. It has helped awaken an interest in American history, American politics, and America itself. Regardless of political preference, most Americans would probably agree that there hasn’t been a strong, iconic leader to bring hope for our nation in a few decades. And if there isn’t an American leader to do that, the arts have to bring those feelings of hope and pride forward. We’re in an era of less-than-perfect politicians and role models. Hamilton is all we have.





Marching Church Narratives so personal that verge on the nearly un-relatable, streamof-consciousness lyricism and a characteristic drunken cacophony; terms that could be used to describe work by any aspiring musician in the Beat Generation… or a Marching Church album, for that matter.   The Danish power group began as Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfeldt’s solo project, and has progressively grown to include members from Puce Mary, Lower and Sexdrome. This eclectic mixture leads to the band’s signature style of freewheeling improvization, ranging from classic rock and jazz, to funk pieces infused with punk outcries.   Rønnenfeldt, a self-proclaimed “obsessive” reader, counts Leonard Cohen, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller and William Burroughs among his influences when it comes to songwriting. Literary references that become evident in the band’s debut album with verses such as:

“Brick walls widens out and narrow in Skin shedding, the city’s lanes and alleys strike out as my maze And within, she slipped out of her body I’m calling out a name”   Furthermore, when asked about the concept behind The World is Not Enough, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt explains, “I had a picture in my head of me in a comfortable chair, adorned in a golden robe, leading a band while a girl kept pouring me champagne. ‘What would this picture sound like?’ was the question.”   A statement like that could lead to speculation on the band’s seriousness, however it is precisely this unlikely layering of over-romanticized metaphors and dissociative melodies that gives Marching Church it’s allure. A notion the band members are well aware of, and served as a driving force in their sophomore LP Telling It Like It Is. The name, which originally came about as an inside joke amongst band members, serves as a preview to Rønnefeldt’s blunt lyricism, and their drift towards more political subjects with rebellious undertones. It may simply be a reaction to the world’s current state, but given the reminiscent sentiment, one can’t help but to wonder if it’s further proof of the musician’s Beat influence.

WORDS&IMAGE Patricia M. Medici



Whereare allthestyle rebels?

There was a time when it was quite easy to use fashion to shock the world. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli made a career out of it. Since then, trendsetters have been getting more and more risqué and showing more and more skin and now we’ve hit an age where we’re not longer surprised by anything. Sophia Cosby suggests that the most shocking thing a rebel can do now is to simply not shock, that it’s actually rebellious to not rebel.

WORDS Sophia Cosby IMAGE Cynthia Jreige


  If there is one thing that American pop culture has taught me, it’s that female rebellion is generally synonymous with promiscuity. Rizzo exhibited her sexual freedom by necking with Kenickie at the drive-in, the Mean Girls put their status on show by dressing up as sexy animals on Halloween, and, more recently, Kim Kardashian makes headlines with every naked selfie she posts on Instagram. They’re all deemed rebels, and in the case of the latter, a fashion icon.   Admittedly, I have always been kind of a prude. Overt sensuality is very off-putting. Even for my own womanly body, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wish to have the frame of a slouchy teenage boy. As Phoebe Philo quipped in an interview a few years back: “I find glamour and sexuality awkward.” So it goes without saying that Kim K. and her army of celebrity lookalikes make me want to pull back into my oversized sweater shell. Everywhere I turn, I see girls taking cues from the “bear it all” movement: crop tops, body-con dresses, tie-up bustiers and the shortest short shorts known to man. Of course I’m happy that these women are so confident - I certainly am not. But it does make me wonder if the “sexy equals daring” card isn’t completely played out by now. In a world where nipple pasties are considered casual wear, what really is fashion rebellion? When everyone wears the same skintight, body-revealing things, what is there left to shock?   The way I see it, fashion rebellion is the defiance of the mainstream, the going against the grain. In this case, rebellion isn’t about causing a scene in thigh-high suede stilettos, but rather about dressing the female form in a subtler way. Call it counterintuitive womanliness.   The above-mentioned Phoebe Philo is an excellent example of the modern fashion rebel. Since she took the helm at Parisian label Céline in 2009, she has revolutionized womenswear by introducing the idea of the comfortably chic, and yet incredibly alluring, woman. Simple lines, luxurious fabrics, and layers upon layers of minimalist garb. The Céline woman, in her uniform of trousers, shirts, sweaters in navy black or khaki, is easily identified. She is modest and appealing, but in a much more dignified manner. Philo herself gravitates towards loose-fitting trousers, white trainers and oversized cashmere sweaters. Her hair is either pulled back or tucked away in a black turtleneck. She never relies on her body to make statement, but instead lets her poise do all the talking.   Women wearing menswear is certainly not a novel concept. Already in 1930, Marlene Dietrich shocked the world when she appeared in Morocco in tails and a top hat, even kissing another woman straight on the lips. Katharine Hepburn, another silver screen icon, spent her free time in oversized shirts, men’s trousers and sporty loafers. Even today I find it refreshing when a woman earnestly shops in the men’s department, like 41-yearold model, record producer and Chanel muse Caroline de Maigret. De Maigret stuns in light wash denim, old Adidas trainers, a button-down shirt and a leather jacket or her partner’s plaid double-breasted blazer. This, plus her uncombed hair and bare face make her more of a woman to me than any other so-called style icon whose plunging neckline ever graced an InStyle cover. Like any true Parisian, de Maigret is aware of her flaws and knows what looks best on her. Her style isn’t desperate for attention, and therefore her breasts are neatly tucked away in her Equipment blouse or American Apparel sweatshirt.   I realize that my views on fashion aren’t very trendy, but this exactly proves my point. My call for more modesty is simply a reaction to the hyper sexualized styles I see on every blog, Instagram account and on my daily stroll through the city. It’s everywhere, and it’s boring. Who knows, a century ago I might have pleaded for more skin. Ultimately, everyone should wear what makes them feel the most true version of themselves. After all, fashion rebellion is about authenticity. Wear what you want, but never do it for the likes.


Washington Square   Dave Heath was a fixture in the New York downtown coffee shop scene in the 1950s and 60s, using his photographs to document the lifestyles of the bohemians and hipsters of his time. The honesty and raw intensity of his vision allow for an authentic window into the alienation and isolation felt by the artists who surrounded Heath. His use of black-and-white creates an atmosphere of disquietude and loneliness, placing the viewers into the mindset of Heath’s time.   The photographs convey striking yet simple images, creating an emotional narrative of the search for human connection in post-war 20th century. Heath had described his work as both poetic and similar to drawing.   A collection of Heath’s works was published this November in a book entitled Washington Square in collaboration with the Howard Greenberg and Stephen Bulger Galleries. The book features 47 tritone photographs and highlights Heath’s Beat-related works in particular. The photographs in this series are a selection from Washington Square.


Photos courtesy of Stanley/Barker







Hitchto Hamburg 42

Risky methods of travel seem to be taboo these days, but Julia Sloboda can’t say “no” to an adventure. She took off hitchhiking in a foreign country, with no map in hand and no mastery of the language, but somehow lived to tell about it.

WORDS Julia Sloboda

  I often lose myself thinking about the places I have been in the past, as if it were all some faded dream where a ghost version of myself drifted curiously around unfamiliar landscapes. To me, the appeal of traveling isn’t the exotic places or faces that I saw; it’s the raw feeling the experiences offered. When I travel, I feel a sense of connection within myself that created a heightened reality of being.   When I was living in the Netherlands, my classmate, Lenka, and I agreed that we both wanted to get out of our little university town of Groningen. Although our study abroad program had set up many excursions for it’s visiting students, these trips came with a hefty cost that did not agree with our budget for traveling. So on a very typical Dutch rainy night, after drinking our fair share of hot wine, the spice cloves of which Lenka very endearingly “little screws” in her adorable Eastern European accent, we decided create our own free trip to Copenhagen.   Lenka and I very naturally gravitated to each other, I think my Ukranain and Polish roots paired effortlessly with her upbringing in the Czech Republic, and we both were looking for ways to have fun that did not require pouring out many euros. Our influence on each other led us to the most interesting of nights, where we opted out of doing the typical study abroad things, such as going to the same discotheque every night and dancing on top of bars. Lenka was a part of the Groningen roller derby team, so we knew more about the alternative, anarchy scene, particularly squat houses, which are communities living in abandoned buildings that are extremely well organized and maintained in the Netherlands.   We took off of our adventure the following Friday after class. We locked our bikes up outside of my student house and headed east with marked up cardboard signs ready to hitch our way to Copenhagen. Our first pick-up was after only about a 45-minute wait, from a single man headed home from work, as he commuted from a rural town in Germany to our bigger city of Groningen. He dropped us off at gas station where he thought we would likely find another ride.   At first we were looking for rides from the side of the highway, until police officers started yelling at us in German. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach while being yelled at in a foreign language by law enforcement, but eventually they told us in a harsh English tone that we couldn’t hitchhike off the side of the highway. They tried getting us to take a bus from the gas station

to the nearest city. After telling them that we would only take the bus if it was for free, they left us alone and we ended up stuck at that gas station, for hours.  We asked people in cars as they were getting gas if they were headed in the same direction, but no one was willing to pick us up. Eventually we realized the people willing to give rides were the lonesome, tireless truck drivers. We struck some luck when I asked two guys with Czech plates where they were going, and they were pumped to be able to talk to Lenka in Czech and overly happy to help us find a good route to Hamburg, the most northern city in Germany and quite close to the Denmark border. We very quickly went from panicked and tired at the gas station to drinking cheap gas station wine the truckers offered us, laughing and chatting on the bed of a truck filled with potatoes.   After this quite pleasant ride, they dropped us off at another gas station that truckers notoriously stopped off at en route to Hamburg. Our next pick-up found us looking out the front windshield of an old German man’s 18-wheeler. We ended up in Hamburg, taking the train to Lenka’s friends’ house early in the morning. We arrived slightly tipsy and were warmly welcomed with almostancient homemade vodka, which resulted in a memorably unmemorable night of exchanging stories and embracing our success of making it there in one piece. The family was a young couple with two sleeping children. They were overly eager to have some peers with whom to indulge in some adult-like drinking activities. It felt surreal to think that Lenka and I had actually made it to a friendly place and were totally safe. We felt like we had a lot to celebrate.   We were eager to get back on the road the next day nice and early. However as an American, I did not have the same capacity for liquor as the Europeans. When we awoke the next morning around ten, I had no idea how I got to a bed the night before. We ended up staying in Hamburg for a bit, enjoying beautiful nature of the city, and the sun that the Netherlands lacks.   Being a part of the multi-cultural family for a few days was an amazing experience. The wife was from Portugal, but had lived in the Netherlands most her life, and the husband was Czech, so the children spoke Dutch, Spanish, Czech, English, and German. The parents had no idea what the kids were saying when they spoke in German though.   Lenka and I never made it to Copenhagen. The unplanned journey we made for ourselves was adventure enough.







Writers toRead   When you study literature, it’s grouped into movements with specific start and end dates, with groups of writers named as founders or key figures, as though a clubs of writers sat down together and said, “Let’s start a new movement. James, will you take the minutes? William, you’ll write the first novel? Now, what do we want to evoke with our new movement? Anyone have any ideas?”   We idolize writers of movements past, visiting the former estates of Emily Dickinson or Jane Austen, holding parties themed as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books, reading nonfiction about Ernest Hemingway, o¬r creating films based on Allen Ginsberg’s life. We celebrate these deceased writers beyond their writing; we celebrate them for who we think they were.   But in reality, these idolized authors were likely just creating what they wanted, with no intention of becoming historical, and most movements probably weren’t meant to be anything more than writers happening to share similar themes with their friends and contemporaries. It’s only in hindsight where academics and scholars start to reflect and box literature into groups with titles and definitions.   Seven up-and-coming writers share insight as to what it really is to be a writer in the present, decades before being prodded at and studied and labeled.   Amusingly, though these writers come from different locations and backgrounds, most share interests and themes. Sandra Beasley, Wendy Chen, Camille Dungy, Nicole Haroutunian, Sara Taylor, and Emily Van Kley use their work to imitate and reflect on reality, while Rebecca Adams Wright utilizes a more humorous, strange twist on reality. And even more amusing is the fact that when we study canonical literature, it’s mainly a boys’ club, but the writers featured here are all women. There wasn’t an intended exclusion of men in this selection; there just simply are more new female writers to the scene these days, showing a curious shift in the demographics of writers.

WORDS Robyn Turk Giosiana Giannatiempo Ilana Turk IMAGES Brogan Bertie Jessica Szu-Chun Chen



Nicole Haroutunian


“I think fiction is a great way to build empathy and to help people understand each other. I don’t need readers to identify with my characters, who often represent a pretty narrow demographic, but I hope that they can recognize and feel the emotions in my stories.”   When she’s not writing, Nicole Haroutunian can be found teaching in the art museums of New York City. She’ll teach until the early afternoon, when she switches modes from art educator to fiction writer. Though her work day will usually go until 5 or 6 in the evening, she has a calm approach to her work ethic. “I’ve learned not to force myself to sit in front of my computer for longer than is necessary,” Haroutunian says, “I usually try to stop when I still have something to say rather than keep going until I’m frustrated, so that I am eager to get back to work the next day.”   Haroutunian has always balanced passions for visual arts and literature. As a child, she painted and wrote, and as a Vassar student, she double-majored in English and Studio Art. And though she ultimately decided to drop the English major when a semester in Paris prevented her from completing both, Haroutunian continued to take creative writing courses through her graduation. It wasn’t until her post-grad life that Haroutunian realized which passion to focus her career towards. “I came to understand that words were my medium,” she explains. But the writer can’t abandon either field completely, channeling her creative energy into words, and spending her days surrounded by other artists’ images.   Her first short story collection, Speed Dreaming, was published in 2015. The book features twelve sharp short stories exploring contemporary issues ranging from relatable to extreme scenarios. The protagonists of the twelve stories are mainly young females, facing an array of circumstances from attempted kidnapping to disrupted birthday parties. In addition to great critical success, Speed Dreaming was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. And Haroutunian has more short fiction coming up—a second collection of short stories is in the works and additionally she is currently workshopping a novella entitled Safe Danger.   Though strictly a fiction writer, Haroutunian finds her creative inspiration from her own life. She likes to observe the real life around her and take a few unrelated situations or incidents, and combine them in a fictional manner to create a new connection and interpretation for them. Haroutunian says that some people become writers to teach themselves, agreeing with the sentiments of a fellow writer and friend, Sara Weiss. Haroutunian continues, “Writing can feel thankless and self-indulgent; it can be hard to know why I spend so many hours doing it. I think part of it is because I can see and feel myself getting better as I go, and because writing is the way I know how to shape the world.”

To read an excerpt from Haroutunian’s latest collection, turn to page 90.

Camille Dungy 52


“To be a writer is to be a reader.”

  “We’re really not that much different from everyone else,” Camille Dungy answers when asked what a typical day for a writer is like. She explains that just like anyone else, her day consists of taking care of her family, going to work, and managing household duties. Where she differs from other people, however, is making the time to paint emotions out of poetry along with her daily routine.   Dungy’s poems are survival narratives that describe how people can thrive during hard times. She especially enjoys writing sonnets, relishing in their concise nature. There will however be no sonnets in Tropic Cascade, her latest poetry collection, which due to come out in February 2017. Tropic Cascade is Dungy’s fourth book of poetry, her previous three having been published in 2011, 2010, and 2006. The poems in this newest collection explore the balance between conflicting types of attention, attempting to illustrate hope in an era of despair. Through its stories of inspirational survival, Tropic Cascade will connect with readers on personal levels and help them to heal in whatever way necessary.   Dungy writes to help people. She originally intended to go into medicine, aiming to become a doctor when she first started college. But she ended up pursuing this completely different profession, still hoping to heal people, but in a different, more emotional or social way. “I hope my writing helps [people] feel. I hope my writing helps them think. I hope my writing helps them breathe. I hope my writing helps them mourn. I hope my writing helps them hope,” she says. She is fascinated with the healing power of writing. Dungy believes that her poems are successful when they can make her “heart come to life.” If writing can connect with its reader on a deep, meaningful level, it can truly have a significant impact. Isn’t that why writing is so incredible?


“A successful piece of writing sets out the rules by which it functions right at the beginning – science fiction makes it clear that it is science fiction, realism makes it clear that it is realist, gothic or magic realism gives a hint that all is not as it seems – and then fulfills or breaks those rules in ways that are consistent and satisfying.”   With an eclectic academic history that includes homeschooling in Virginia, a Bachelor’s degree from a small, private American university, and a Master’s from England’s University of East Anglia, Sara Taylor certainly has a vast amount of life experience to influence the settings of her fictional writing. Taylor’s debut novel, 2015’s The Shore takes place in a group of islands in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. Taylor utilizes a technique of interwoven individual narratives to tell stories of abusive homes, unwanted pregnancies, effects of drug abuse. Taylor’s most recent novel, The Lauras was published this past August. It tells the story of a road trip taken by a teenager (Alex) and a mother. With this novel, Taylor gives little to the reader as far as character information. Alex’s gender is withheld, as is the mother’s name. As the reader tries to learn more about the characters, the characters learn more about themselves and each other.   “If ‘writer’ means ‘person who writes,’ I don’t think I really had the option not to [become a writer],” Taylor explains. “If ‘writer’ means ‘person who writes and makes a living off of it,’ when I was a teenager I realized I was pretty rubbish at everything else and should probably do my best to turn my one obsession into a profession.” She has been creating stories longer than she could even read, first making picture books as a small child, then eventually filling notebooks with the stories she created in her youth. Taylor shares that she would feel miserable if she didn’t put her words down on paper.   In her writing, Taylor aims to put equal focus on what happens to the characters externally as what happens internally within the characters. Her latest story in the works is one she is calling Belief for the time being. As of yet, she’s only completed the first draft, so it could be a while until she’s ready to release a final product to the world. The upcoming work tells the story of a couple who gets involved with “evangelical charismatic Christianity” as a coping mechanism for a recent tragedy. This faith leads the couple to the decision to homeschool their children. But the issue is that as the children grow up, they realize that their environment is at odds with their needs and wants, and the one factor that holds the family together throughout the story could ultimately break them.   When considering current fiction works, Taylor sees a tendency of today’s writers borrowing the effective aspects of earlier movements and other genres. “I don’t know if you could call it a movement yet,” she says, “but I love the results and can’t wait to see where it goes.” More specifically, she mentions Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell’s blurring of the lines between proper literature and speculative or science fiction. Taylor explains, “The fiction that populates the spaces between established genres succeeds because it tends to borrow the most appealing techniques from forms that have endured… without submitting to all of the conventions and restrictions, producing something that feels new even though it comes out of familiar traditions.

To read an excerpt of Taylor’s latest novel, turn to page 91.






“Variety is all part of what makes me a better person, and that makes me a better writer.”

  “I hope my writing invites people in,” Sandra Beasley’s short and sweet sentiment sums up really what all literature should do—embrace and encourage its readers. Beasley enjoys formulated poetry as opposed to free verse, expressing a passion for the sestina, a difficult form to follow. In a sestina, there are five stanzas of six lines and a final stanza with three. The six last words of each line repeat as the final words for every line throughout the poem. The three lines in the last stanza each have two of these repeated words. It’s quite a challenge to follow these guidelines and create a sensible poem; a classic example of a successful sestina is Elizabeth Bishop’s “Sestina.” Nonetheless, Beasley doesn’t shy from the challenge and describes feeling a sense of euphoria when she does master the form.   Beasley looks at words as building blocks and poetry collections as constructions. The result is poems comprised of layers built up by her many sources of inspiration. She finds her inspiration in anything from the anatomy of a platypus to an everyday relationship dynamic. Beasley will spend days at a time immersed in deep research of obscure topics, seeking out a spark to ignite a poem. And when all else fails, where does she find inspiration? She says, “When I experience writer’s block, the solution is usually as simple as giving myself permission to spend a day with the books of others.”   In these cases, Beasley looks to canonical poets, citing Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, e.e. Cummings, and Sandra Cisneros as her preferred. She shares that she is drawn to poetry that is ferocious and unafraid to make truthful claims, yet at the same time holding a musical and playful sensibility. Beasley hopes that looking to these canonical poets, as well as Jack Gilbert, Jane Hirschfield, and translations of Eastern European poems will help her to channel a kindred bravery in her poems.   Beasley sets her work time and her rest time far apart from each other. When she is resting, she is resting. She calls her off-time her “nesting mode,” which she will use as quiet time at home in Washington DC with her husband and cat; she leisurely cooks or goes to baseball games. This is quite a different pace from what Beasley calls her “Road Warrior” mode, or when she travels to promote a book. This mode is defined by a tight and specific timeline and a limited budget, while attempting to make personal use of her travels as well, by stopping in art museums or meeting with fellow writers. The most intensive mode Beasley will find herself in is “Full-Tilt Writer,” a phase in which she stays up to the early hours of morning, reads two or three books at a time, and drafts her writing. She usually finds herself in this mode during her annual pilgrimage to a stay at an art colony. And despite the extremity and the versatility of Beasley’s various modes, they all somehow come together to create fluid and orderly poems.

To read one of Beasley’s poems, turn to page 93.

Rebecca Adams Wright 58


“Successful writing comes from the heart and contains something true. It may not be factual—in fact, it may be beautifully, wildly, magnificently unfactual—but there is a current, a spark, an emotional honesty that speaks to the reader. The resonance that comes from authentic feeling or observation—that’s what makes text come alive.”

  Author of The Thing About Great White Sharks and Other Stories, Rebecca Adams Wright is no ordinary fiction writer. Born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, she graduated at the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and has a MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.   The brilliant academic background combined with her “weird, sometimes absurd, often dark undertone” won her multiple awards: the Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize and So to Speak magazine’s 2009 fiction contest are just two in her collection. From the writing desk where she sits for hours, Wright creates imaginary worlds where people can experience authentic emotions. “Like most writers, I hope that my stories resonate with readers on an emotional level,” she says, “that’s what makes text come alive.”   The game between fiction and reality blends again in her main inspiration, as the she seeks ideas in history. “It’s a weird and awful and wonderful place that shifts wildly the moment your perspective does,” she says of the past, while visionary authors like Karen Joy Fowler and Haruki Murakami come to her mind when discussing her influences. The fact that Wright finds in literature a way to “reaffirm our shared humanity while simultaneously challenging us” explains why she voted “speculative fiction”– the most paradigm-changing and upsetting genre of its kin—the home of her writing.   Along with the aforementioned set of short stories, The Thing About Great White Sharks and Other Stories, which was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award, Wright’s work has appeared in Day One, The Account, and Daily Science Fiction and were performed on NPR. Her nonfiction has been featured in Children’s Literature in Education and on platforms such as SF Signal and Whatever. Anno 2016, she is currently working on a new “as-yet-unnamed” novel about the fascinating mystery of time-travel with which she challenges the reality of the present.


“When I read a poem that really moves me, I experience it in a physical manner—my heart beats faster, I feel that every part of me is awake—much like watching a good film or hearing a beautiful piece of music.”

  At only 24 years old, Wendy Chen is a poet, an artist, and an MFA in Poetry student at Syracuse University. Most impressively, however, in 2014 Chen was named Most Promising Young Poet by the Academy of American Poets.   Originally from New Hampshire, Chen grew up in Massachusetts before earning a Bachelor’s of Arts from Wellesley College in English and Studio Art. She paints emotions onto paper with words or into sculpture with marble and bronze. “The work I make in studio art and poetry are constantly in conversation with one another,” Chen has said. She cites visual arts as an inspiration to her poetry.   When asked why she writes, Chen simply says, “I write what I cannot speak.” Like this statement, her poems are concise yet deep and rich with meaning. From reading “They Sail Across the Mirrored Sea,” the poem which earned Chen her remarkable award in 2014, one can truly feel a sense of recollection and see Chen’s masteries of word placement and diction. It is quite evident through these skills that Chen has looked to Modernist poetry for influence towards poetic interiority and form, but also the narrative nature of the largescale epic poems of John Milton and Dante Alighieri. “When [epic poems] succeed, they bring together what is most beautiful of poetry, prose, music, and oral storytelling,” she says.   Along with her upcoming graduation this spring, three of Chen’s poems are slated to appear in The McNeese Review, an annual scholarly publication of arts and humanities published by Louisiana’s McNeese State University. Though she has no other concrete post-grad plans, with such an extensive resume already, Chen’s writing career is well on its way.




“I’ve come to see that the arts are deeply important to society, even if what they offer isn’t always tangible in the way that a nurse’s care is, for example.”

  While to most, poetry is thought of as tidy, formulated, and organized, Emily Van Kley sees her poetry as obsessive, cluttered, and reverent. “[It’s] interested in wrangling philosophical problems, though generally unsuccessful in finding any answers,” she puts not-so-gingerly. Nonetheless, she aims for her poetry to offer familiarity of sensations or phenomena as it shows her its origins of reverence. As she writes, Van Kley keeps the rural culture of her native Washington state in mind, describing its uniqueness strongly.   Van Kley’s poetry is rendered mostly free verse, yet she respects the pithiness and simplicity of requirements of the traditional sonnet. Conversely, Van Kley also highly esteems Surrealist literary techniques that search for spontaneity and absurdity. She names French Surrealist Claude Cahun as a major inspiration. Cahun had worked as a photographer as well as a writer, fraternizing with other Surrealists in the 1920s and 30s, and ultimately produced a resistant WWII newspaper that used Surreal techniques of humor and mockery to undermine the Nazis.   Additionally, Van Kley looks to more contemporary writers for influence, mentioning Danez Smith, Brenda Shaughnessy, Solmaz Sherif, and Mary Jo Bang amongst others. At the moment, Van Kley is especially swayed by Lucia Perillo, a poet who Van Kley knew personally but unfortunately passed away this past October. Van Kley reminisces about meeting with Perillo in writers’ groups and discussing literature. “She is one of those poets who I read whenever I am feeling flat or uninspired, and just the kinetic energy of the leaps she makes within each poem usually sparks something for me,” Van Kley shares fondly.   Like many who pursue careers in creative fields, Van Kley has had her doubts about the decision. As a child, she believed she would need to find a “day job” for financial stability, or to find a career that would benefit towards the well-being of others. Yet, no other field has compelled Van Kley as writing has. As she explains, “I think writing is as close as I’ve ever come to feeling like I have what some would call a vocation.” Even so, she admits that working to support herself is and always will be an important factor that affects her career as a writer, as is for most people in our society. “It can be extremely difficult to feel like writing gets the time it should, given how important it feels.”   Van Kley’s most recent works can be seen in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry. She had contributed a set of poems to the journal; the works are also finalists for this year’s Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize.

To read a poem by Van Kley, turn to page 92.

Emily Van Kley





In a market that’s ruled by consumer interests and aspires to manufacture profits, where does art fit in? Can art only exist in fashion if revenue isn’t a driving factor?   The Rex Theater in Paris, September 27, 2014. The name Jean-Paul Gaultier in lights on the marquee outside, champagne and popcorn in boxes served inside. Once the audience was seated, a stream of the “greatest hits” from Gaultier’s ready-to-wear line hit the stage, featuring some of his outrageous yet esteemed elements, from pinstripe suiting to his classic cone-bra corset dress. Models of all ages skirted down the runway to hits of the 1980s—music to speak to the period when Gaultier’s ready-to-wear career had taken flight. Typical to Gaultier’s satirical style, the spectacle included spoofs of iconic fashion editors who had supported his career. The défilé was part runway show and part beauty pageant. The pageant element, Élection de Miss Jean Paul Gaultier 2015, named model Coco Rocha as Miss Jean Paul Gaultier.   Was this demonstration a piece of performance art? A new type of avant-garde theater? No, it was a catwalk show, the last of Gaultier’s ready-to-wear line. The distinguished fashion designer had made a name for himself over 32 years with the line, but in 2014 decided to retire it. The line had given Gaultier the funding and the fame to open a couture house in 1997, and he ultimately knew that in the fast, ruthless pace of today’s fashion industry, he needed to give up a line. So why did he choose to abandon ready-to-wear, the more accessible, everyday line in favor of couture, the made-to-order type of production that mainly caters to the rich and powerful? Was it an elitist, exclusive decision? Probably not.   Fashion is an industry, not like any other. As with the auto industry, food industry, music industry, et cetera, the goal is to make a profit. But isn’t the intention of fashion design to create something beautiful? What happens to clothing design and production when it’s looked at as solely a means of creating revenue? Doesn’t that take away the designer’s fun?   Concentrating on his couture house gave Gaultier the opportunity to refocus his career on the artistic, creative side of fashion design. He was no longer driven by capitalist aims and meeting consumer interests, he could design purely for his own experimentation and imagination. Gaultier revealed his subsequent couture collection the following January during Paris’s Spring 2015 Couture Week. The collection, 61 Façons de Se Dire Oui, was truly a work of art in its craftsmanship and aesthetics but also as it explored the notion of the bridal gown, commenting on its meaning in history while playing on its tradition. Gaultier included many pieces split down the middle as though two completely different garments had been cut in half and then combined into one. A lot of these pieces were half dress and half pantsuit. The concept represents the blending of opposing ideas into a single piece, specifically blending the conventional thoughts of masculinity and femininity. Obviously no consumer would be expected to grab one of these pieces off the runway and wear it to work; Gaultier created this collection to provoke thought and showcase his talents.   This type of collection would never make it in the ready-to-wear industry. Ready-to-wear is based on commercialism. Collections need to cater to a wide consumer base, taking into consideration trend forecasts and practicality, as well as being economical with production costs. These lines are built to make the brands a profit. Aesthetics and design are important to a ready-to-wear line, but not the main goal.   Couture is a grand tradition of Parisian fashion and while making appointments in a couture house to select made-to-order gowns is not how people buy clothes anymore, the influence of this tradition has stuck for European fashion designers. Even in their ready-

Self-Reliant Fashion

WORDS Robyn Turk IMAGES Kristen Tomkowid



to-wear lines, focus on creativity is evident in most European houses, for example Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. Van Noten has always held a cerebral and eccentric style, using his work to make people think, often utilizing motifs or bright colors and fabrics digitally created from photographs or artworks. He sources his inspiration directly from art, and never morphed to the trends of the season. The results have been collections that are selfindulgent into Van Noten’s interests, comprised of beautiful pieces that tell a story. He doesn’t follow the customary ready-to-wear circuit that demands around eight collections a year, instead he simply creates two menswear and two womenswear collections with no accessories lines. This method allows Van Noten more time for consideration and crafting. And despite the fact that Van Noten prioritizes his ready-to-wear line on creativity over profits, with no budget to advertisement, his line still earns him an estimated $70 million a year. This isn’t a terribly huge amount compared to American ready-to-wear lines, which can profit between $2-4 billion in a year. But it does show that art can make a profit.   As American economics and society is quite deeply rooted in capitalism, its readyto-wear brands are heavily influenced by consumer interests, much more than their European counterparts. Brands like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, and others will create numerous collections a year, for Autumn/ Winter, Spring/Summer, and up to two precollections a year, for menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories. As with the democratic nature of American society, these brands tend to be more wide reaching in their consumer bases. These American designers don’t have couture lines, but many do have two labels, a more high-end one and a more accessible one. For example, a Michael Kors Collection dress could cost $4,000 while a Michael Michael Kors dress is usually between $100 and $400.   The range in quality and pricing, plus the fact that these brands are almost constantly releasing new products are entirely results of meeting consumer wants. These brands allow their shoppers to have products that meet their spending points, and to always be interested in new items. If making a profit wasn’t the main outcome for these brands, they wouldn’t be creating so many collections each year. Additionally, these labels do not take daring leaps or make hugely artistic decisions in designing collections. They create products that they know consumers will buy—clothing that shoppers can easily imagine themselves wearing, utilitarian bags they can see themselves using, et cetera. Compared to the art-focused European fashion world, the American fashion industry is consumer-driven. This bodes nicely for brands that want to create revenue and boosts the capitalist market; but what happens to fashion as it loses the element of art?   Is it a coincidence that in their Fall 2016 collections, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger all carried straight-bodied silhouettes with boxy shoulders? All shared primarily black and gray color palettes, with touches of each house’s signature schemes of course. But still the overarching staples and palette were strikingly alike. On their runways for the season, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein even styled almost the same outfits: long, box-shouldered, rectangular blazers over a matching and equally angular pencil skirt (looks 47 and 17 respectively on the runways). Of course each designer featured different materials, textured tweed for Kors and leather for Klein, but the similarity is still there. So is it a coincidence that all of these American designers shared themes and styles in their collections for the same season? Obviously not, because the consumers are telling them exactly what to do.   These fashion brands start to lose their individuality as they share the same consumer-led goal. The labels allow their consumers to take control of what they create, sacrificing their identities in the process. So on one hand, this is a truly democratic system. The power is held by the consumers rather than the institution of the fashion designers, manufacturers, and retailers. As the European market reflects the continent’s roots in tradition and art, the American market reflects the nation’s roots of equality and free-will. But is that all America stands for?   American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson looked to the rights that American trade and politics give to the individual, and explored what that meant for culture. His findings were quite beautiful; in his writing, Emerson urges people to express their true, independent selves, concluding that this was the way to create the most beautiful art. He saw that American principles gave rights to the individual, and that self-reliance was the key to success—no dependency on government, authorities, or institutions to tell individuals what to do, just pure self-reliance. The most honest a nd real art comes from people looking within for answers, being completely self-guided. The problem Emerson saw with artists and manufacturers actually following through on this notion is that society and its desire to conform will distract from an individual’s self reliant aims. Basically, Emersonian thought would disagree with allowing the consumers to hold the reigns over fashion brands, because they’re forcing those brands to conform to the desires of society, preventing designers to express their own individual art.   What’s the takeaway here? The facts do show that listening to consumers’ wants will earn brands big bucks. But fashion labels can still stay afloat while catering to the designer’s self-indulgent creativity. And when designers and artists are given the opportunity to create for the sake of showcasing their talents and creativity, the designs can sell themselves. True, ready-to-wear will always be an industry and couture will stay the more artistic side of the fashion world. But looking across the sea to European markets show that individuality and art do fit into ready-to-wear, so a bit more of an emphasis on designers’ inner vision and a little less emphasis on churning out revenue can’t hurt much.






  What Unites Us is the principle of self-determination; beats, transcendentalists, and anarchists all followed a path of autonomy. Particularly, I look towards Thoreau’s critique of American Representative Democracy for inspiration. A theme Thoreau carried was the idea that the plutocratic bureaucracy of America was choked: laws came and went, bringing little change for the alienated and the marginalized. On the contrary, it seems as though a great number of laws are passed with the special interests of corporate institutions and the wealthy in mind.   The Beats found their rebellion and autonomy through exploding into life— driven by a lust for experience, they were comfortable living lives destitute of the blindly unethical comforts of rampant capitalism. Indeed, Ginsberg famously cried against the destructive forces of consumer culture in Howl; an action that later saw him being tried by the government for obscenity.   What Unites Us represents the concept of liberty, distilled down to its core— autonomy of the self. A young woman escapes to nature with little more than what she needs. No managers or clocks to watch, no squabbling over a divisive two party system, no credit or student loans—just clothing and literature. When, as Emma Goldman once proclaimed, “The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought,” it becomes our duty to break free and think.

WORDS & IMAGES William Vrachopoulos


“This American governmentwhat is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity?”

Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”




What Unites Us is the quality of being uncontainable 78







Poetry Three young poets search for a human connection through the struggles and anxieties faced in 21st century life.


wearing sunglasses underground, propelled by screeching tracks and the special curiosity to backs I drink the moment, all the while knowing, singing, hearing loving what’s in rolling store according to you. and now even I, conspicuously chic without reason or perhaps to embody an autumn evening I see everyone as shady and distant. discrete, separate. but then your sultry whining resounds and the hitch-hiking wisdom sings.

bob Sarah Simon

your message always triumphs cause you may not be saying anything but I’m still not sure. and thank you for prompting me to question the meaning of anything, anyway. I like to think I’m more than only a pawn in their game but I see us all as one, too. because we are born with norms tsunami-ing from the sky, giving us names and roles and desolation. we cannot row in it unless we are the boat in it, taking tides as a routine and floating as a given. people may cannonball you with boos but your fifty-year career lets me in on some stone-age secret: roll.


My dearest darling, Should I say piece of me? address this to myself then? Should I address this at all Or Imply that it’s pointless and all is still the same? That the reason you can’t find where i fit in is because i’ve never been missing?

On missing Patricia M. Medici

Nevermind, I am missing. You Mostly But also myself I lost her a while ago. Three hundred eighty four days to be precise. I’ve ran into her on occasion, but as you know, we’ve never been good at keeping in touch. I guess she stayed with you. The old you. The one she knows better than the back of her hand. I heard they’re in Paris... Probably high on flowers and books behind a church, those weirdos. Maybe they forgot how to get back. Got lost, On purpose As usual Do you miss them as much as I do? Do you miss them at all? PS: Please reply with the usual silence.


Watching Hey Arnold and smoking weed because I have this incessant need to soak myself in nostalgia. I’m sinking in this couch like Depp’s bed on Elm Street. Before I slip into Freddy’s dream, I weave Arnold’s city into my head. In this world, destructive reality is on the ground dead. There are these moments when I forget that I exist I’m hung up on the distant boy and forgotten kiss So I try to cradle my soul and reminisce. When I’m high, I don’t have to think of how I’m a flat guitar string on a polished Gibson trying to be the right notes but never getting it right.

Wistfully High Darelle Philippe

I mistake indulgent sin for sacred security and I want to forget that part of me. I loathe my body so I pawn it to my inflictions. I’m reckless with my body because it’s reckless with me It doesn’t give a shit, it’s given up. I want to be different, so I distract my mangled mind You know that feeling when a scent surprises your nose, it reminds you of something you never thought you’d remember? So when you’re hugging the toilet bowl—hands clenched, grasping to the rim, suddenly you’re 12 again, camping with the family and you remember what happy is. The drag of this joint hugs my body, chaos is comfort in my head, but I want this place to feel like home. I’m trying to get high on nostalgia, you see, I want to remember the days of bangs and bop-its I want to pull a hit-clip out of my pocket. It’s why I’m obsessed with dredging up the past, If I can make those moments last, I’m home free.




Excerpt from

Speed Dreaming Nicole Haroutunian

Speed Dreaming: Stories (Little A, 2015)

  When I hear the local newscast, I’m just finishing Buster’s cake. He is turning three and finally understands what a birthday is, and that this time it’s happening to him. There will be a kids’ party this year, because he has friends now, friends whose parents we’ve been forced to befriend too. But before the report is even through, I stop piping icing. I call Dax, who is picking up paper cups, pointy hats, kazoos.   “Jesus Christ,” he says. “Our park?”   “It was spotted skulking by the fountain around sunrise,” I say, “and yet is not there now. The park’s already reopened.”   “So it’s fine,” he says. “So the party’s on.”   I bonk my palm to my brow, theatrical for no one’s benefit. “Not fine! Not on! The coyote’s whereabouts are now unknown!”   “Don’t take it so personally, Meg,” Dax says.   I hang up on him. I’ve been trying to do that more. It’s probably nicer than whatever I would say if I stayed on the line. Buster’s cake is yellow and I was going to draw a monkey on it with blue icing but instead I make a sad face, with Xs for eyes. Then I scrape all that off and eat it with a spoon.   Dax calls back. “I’m sure it will be fine,” he says. “A coyote in Queens? I bet it was some jerk’s dog off the leash.”   “You want to tell that to Jack and Song when the thing eats little Maddie?” I ask.   “Buster’s really excited about this party,” he says. I can picture his face falling—a sight I know well—the way he must be blinking hard and slow. “We can’t take it away.”   At that moment the birthday boy himself shuffles out of his room. I am still surprised when he appears after a nap like this. These are his first few weeks in a big-boy bed, one he can enter and exit on his own terms without any need for me to liberate him after a nap. “Happy birthday, baby!” he screams, fists raised.   “Here’s the thing, then,” I tell Dax. “You’re going to bring your gun.”


Excerpt from

The Lauras Sara Taylor

(William Heinemann, 2016)

  Some families just don’t work out. Ma’s family happened to be one of them.   Her father was a black sheep, disgraced and turned out by his parents for differing reasons depending on who told the story: an argument that ended when he stabbed a cousin; money stolen from a brother; the police coming to their home in search of smuggled food, pilfered truck parts, missing livestock. All of the stories about him that her aunts and uncles and cousins had told her were probably true, or not far from the truth.   He was passing through town looking for seasonal work when he met my grandmother, fresh from the big city with her new degree and planning on making something of herself after one last summer at home, cooking for her brothers and making dresses for her mother. He fell for her; her parents knew he was no good; they had a little romance in secret. It was the oldest story ever told, but with a twist: when he asked her to marry him, she said no. She wouldn’t go against her parents.   So he shot her.   It was with a small-gauge bullet, barely larger than the BB gun my own father had as a boy, in the fleshy part of her leg, and even though it bled and scarred into a thick raised keloid that my mother remembers running her finger over when she was little, her life was never endangered. But she had to go to a doctor to have the bullet dug out, and the doctor called the police, and the police took my grandfather to jail.   When he was released on bail he went to see her, asked her again, would she marry him? He was sorry about her leg, but he’d been forced to it: he would be tried, and she, as the only witness, would have to testify, would have to tell the truth, would send him off to prison, for years and years. Unless—wives could not be asked to testify against their husbands. She could fix it, or she could have his imprisonment on her conscience.   Whether she bowed to this logic immediately or was slowly worn down, the result was the same. She married him. Without a witness, the case was thrown out. And when they found out what she had done, her parents threw my grandmother out.


You Aren’t Sure & I May Not Emily Van Kley

(Iowa Review, 2011)

You aren’t sure & I may not be made of the right kind of mortar, but how else to answer the ice axe of memory, the urge–– part mechanism part scarsong––which says return is instinct & instinct is absolution & absolution is all we know of quench. We go. All praise to your iron smile & hips solemn as a staircase, your anointed fingers, the complicity of denim & windows white with hometown frost. Praise the place where I could not have met you. Praise the tiny city down twelve miles of ice-rutted highway, all I knew of cosmopolitan, its several thousand inhabitants, stone courthouse scrimmed in copper, square-jawed houses on streets named Magnetic, everything built when the mines seemed eternal & earth was another word for come right in. Before the blast that siphoned an underground river into the Barnes-Hecker, filling the throats of 51, ripping at the boots of the sole survivor who terrored up 800 feet of ladder to the one bright scratch of sky. Before the new mines, sliced open like boils, those too containers for ache. & when we arrive if the people are insular, if they are hard as the jeweled snout of a Northern Pike, if winter is a shut vault with the lock cycling & we never learn to hunt deer or any more minor creature–– does it mean we wouldn’t flourish? Couldn’t we find a house with cut-glass windows & let it go to ruin, tear up the lawn for garden, watch our collard greens palm the sun? At night, wouldn’t I close my mouth around your knuckles, taste broccoli flowers & the sand which drifts everything, the frozefish tang of Superior mawing the harbor five blocks down? October fold us into the creed-cold winter, snowstorms like the shed blood of nations. Sundays spend in the pews with the fierce & lowly. Nights slake & burn.


We must not look for poetry in poems. —Donald Revell You must not skirt the issue wearing skirts. You must not duck the bullet using ducks. You must not face the music with your face. Headbutting, don’t use your head. Or your butt. You must not use a house to build a home, and never look for poetry in poems. In fact, inject giraffes into your poems. Let loose the circus monkeys in their skirts. Explain the nest of wood is not a home at all, but a blind for shooting wild ducks. Grab the shotgun by its metrical butt; aim at your Muse’s quacking, Pringled face.

Let Me Count the Waves Sandra Beasley

It’s good we’re talking like this, face to face. There should be more headbutting over poems. Citing an 80s brand has its cost but honors the teenage me, always in skirts, showing my sister how to Be the Duck with a potato-chip beak. Take me home, Mr. Revell. Or make yourself at home in my postbellum, Reconstruction face— my gray eyes, my rebel ears, all my ducks in the row of a defeated mouth. Poems were once civil. But war has torn my skirts off at the first ruffle, baring my butt or as termed in verse, my luminous butt. Whitman once made a hospital his home. Emily built a prison of her skirts. Tigers roamed the sad veldt of Stevens’s face. That was the old landscape. All the new poems map the two dimensions of cartoon ducks. We’re young and green. We’re braces of mallards, not barrels of fish. Shoot if you must but Donald, we’re with you. Trying to save poems, we settle and frame their ramshackle homes. What is form? Turning art to artifice, trading pelts for a more durable skirt. Even urban ducklings deserve a home. Make way. In the modern: Make way, Buttface. A poem is coming through, lifting her skirt. Whitman once made a hospital his home. Emily built a prison of her skirts. Tigers roamed the sad veldt of Stevens’s face.

Count the Waves (W.W. Norton, 2015)




Leavesof Beauty In 1855, Walt Whitman considered “what is the grass?” To him, it was a concurrent symbol of the notions of unity and individualism. But to Andreia Pedro, leaves are a powerful raw material for beauty treatments. Here, she highlights the benefits of the “hopeful green stuff woven.”

  There is no wonder why beauty is most powerful at its most natural and untouched state. Unprocessed, natural, and organic products are better absorbed by our skin as well as more tolerated by even the largest organ in our bodies. It’s not only what we put in our bodies through food and drink, but also what we put on it that is absorbs by our system that can affect us. The chemicals in conventional beauty products are often accumulated in our tissues and can cause future allergic reactions and disrupt other systems in our bodies.   Opting for organic beauty products can help decrease the toxic load on the body, and switching for a more natural approach to skincare and cosmetics can be just as important as a healthy diet. According to the English Suffolkbased organic beauty brand Odylique, “plants grown organically yield the purest oils and extracts, free from herbicide and pesticide contamination. There is little point in using therapeutic herbal extracts if they contain chemical residues. Research also shows that plants grown organically have a higher level of vital antioxidant vitamins than non-organic.”   Natural and organic products mainly don’t contain synthetic fragrances, which are also toxic to our skin. Essential oils are the most natural perfumes on earth and also the most concentrated, which means that just a little drop can go a long way. Besides its aroma, essential oils can have wonderful health benefits, depending on which plant they come from. Going back to nature has always been an alternative state to all human beings, tired of corrupted systems that do not deliver what they should. In beauty, as in life, what is natural will always be the truest clearest option for ourselves.

WORDS Andreia Pedro


In India, betel leaves are used for its aphrodisiac effects, but there are many more powers to it. As it is an anti-septic and anti-bacterial betel leaf can be used to treat acne on the face, chest or back. Cook the betel in water and use it to rinse the problematic areas of the skin.

It’s the famous syrup extracted from the leaf that transforms maple’s properties into skin food goodness. Maple syrup lowers skin inflammations, redness, blemishes and dryness. Combine it with yogurt or milk and oats to reduce irritation on the skin. Where to start with Aloe’s powers? The clear gel secreted by the leaves of this plan has been used for centuries as a natural moisturizer and in the treatment of sunburns and stretchmarks. You can cut it directly from the plan and apply onto the skin. It can also be used as a moisturizer, and its abundance of antioxidants such as beta-carotene or vitamins C and E can help to improve skin’s firmness, fighting the signs of skin aging. Specially used to heal the skin, Tea Tree oil has many other benefits that are commonly forgotten due to its miraculous powers in treating acne. But this oil is also a secret pain reliever, can reduce fevers and headaches and is very helpful in treating infections, since it’s anti-viral and anti-fungal.

Bursting with benefits for skin and hair, mint leaves and oils are a great base for homemade treatments. For cracked heels, combine mint paste with olive oil to soften and hydrate the area. Mint leaves also help to control oily skin and mint water can be used as a hair conditioner for a frizz-free and shiny finish.



ThisisBeat. Liveyour livesout? Naw,love yourlivesout. Jack Kerouack

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From a first impression, word “beat” itself has violent connotations; you think of it as “beat up,” like hitting. But there are so many uses...


From a first impression, word “beat” itself has violent connotations; you think of it as “beat up,” like hitting. But there are so many uses...

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