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Erin Durant

Writing in the Dark: The Story of Irene Nemirovsky

I headed to the New York Public Library to research the life and work of Irene Nemirovsky expecting to find a plethora of information. The name is most likely foreign to you. In fact, until a friend offered her name and a brief sketch of her life in passing, I was totally unaware of her existence. I climbed the daunting steps knowing only that she was a prolific writer living in Paris during the 1920s and 30s, and had completed thirteen works before dying at Auschwitz, during the Holocaust.

Poetry: Elegy for a Young Poet

Song To The Mountain is a collection of poems by Gustavo Brillembourg, which was published in 1995, two years following Brillembourg’s death at the age of thirty-five during a rock-climbing accident. Only seven hundred and fifty copies have been published by his family; finding one, then, requires a bit of sleuthing.

A Year From Monday Revisited

Reading through John Cage’s A Year From Monday, a collection of his essays and lectures from 1963, is a good way to test one’s inhibitions and expectations, and to question one’s own reflexive criticism.

Sounds, Paths, Radios: Notes on Stars Like Fleas

“Sometimes it sounds like you’re being attacked by seagulls, sometimes it sounds like a dog that was left out back and wants to come inside, and sometimes it sounds like a stomach that wants food.” Jazz musician Matt Lavelle, on the phone at the Rail office, is talking about the cuica, the Brazilian friction drum first used in Africa to attract and hunt lions. He brought one to Stars Like Fleas, a band to which an instrument like this is no stranger.

Ode: Bobbie Lee and Billy Joe Are Still Teenagers

A campsite in the woods, strewn with an orange couch, a gold Volvo station wagon, and three people, each involved in their own action, but working together—the composition of a photograph, of a film being made.


One could describe Sabrina to those who never met her as a J.D Salinger character, a brilliant precocious individual. A true New Yorker who loved the city and its people unequivocally, with an enormous appetite for life, she directed her energy to describing her adopted home.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues