“Some Amish are So Backward”

In Reviews on November 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm


A Review of Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt’s The Amish

by Andrew Holter


Consider that there are 63,785 Amish in the state of Pennsylvania and chances are that at this very moment each of them is doing something unimaginably tedious and inconvenient. That’s how most of us would see it, anyway, entering our third hour of shelling peas on a Saturday afternoon so dedicated, or counting stars through the crescent moon of an outhouse door for an evening’s entertainment.


In Poetry on November 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm


by Robert Ostrom
Sometimes when I can’t sleep my eyes
fall into your head and some nights
I think your voice like an animal

in another room. I fall in love with you
every time I slaughter it. A hankering
filled with cherry pits and heated. You

are hen’s tooth rare. Bleached horseheads
line the stairs to you. Your eyes are
clenched fists. Instead of drugs once

a week I started cooking you. I know
there’s something dodgy in you
and I know it has nothing to do

with me even if it bears my name.
How do we prepare for this weather?
I will bring handmade invitations

and you will say but these are wires.
I will give you ritual and a bit. Now
is the time to forget what you want.


Robert Ostrom’s poems have appeared in The Awl, Columbia, Gulf Coast, Guernica and elsewhere.  He is author of The Youngest Butcher in Illinois, which was the finalist for the 2013 Norma Farber First Book Award. As of now, he eats and sleeps in Queens and works for the City University of New York and Columbia.

ArtCoq, vase argent ciselé. Ombelles et libellules, jeu de fond. Crevettes, bordure, 1897 by M.P. Verneuil

Survivalist Realism

In Reviews on November 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm


A Review of The Last of Us Remastered

by Christopher Breu

There is a scene two-thirds of the way though Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Remastered that captures the logic of the game with a kind of condensed precision. The previous scene ends with an almost literal cliffhanger, as one of the two main characters, Joel, falls in the middle of a fight from a balcony in the abandoned campus of the fictional University of Eastern Colorado and onto a spike below. The very next scene opens to a winter landscape of hushed beauty. Given the next-gen visual upgrade represented by the PS4, the landscape is truly breathtaking, with newly fallen snow covering the skeletal trees, the winter flora, and the forest floor. Into this bucolic landscape a rabbit emerges, realistic, yet somehow heartwarming: an image that life for other animals (once they have adjusted to the changed ecosystem) goes on seemingly as usual in the midst of the zombie apocalypse detailed by the game. Yet, no sooner are we given this reassuring, if perhaps melancholic (given humanity’s seeming imminent demise) scene, than an arrow rips through the rabbit and we are returned to the violent, Social Darwinist universe of the videogame. The arrow has been shot by the game’s other protagonist, Ellie, a teenage girl whom we watch harden and mature, even as she maintains a sensitive side, as the game progresses.


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