Several online commenters have pointed out that Covid spelled backward becomes דיבוק in Hebrew, meaning dybbuk, a malicious possessing spirit. Using Google Translate, I found that divoc did yield דיבוק, but now, Google has tinkered with דיבוק so it merely translates as “obsessed.” Very cute. Exorcised, dybbuk is just excessive passion, you see, like a... Read More
Don’t be on the wrong side of history, Communists often warned, though of course, they needed entire classes of such people, from the bourgeoisie to landowners, kulaks, reactionaries, decadents, Fascists, monarchists, counter-revolutionaries, unreformed intellectuals, wreckers, diversionists, believers in God and, often, even yesterday’s revolutionary heroes. It didn’t matter if these charges made sense individually or... Read More
I often write about ordinary people and the banal, because each situation is a complex allegory, if not an intriguing painting, and no one is uninteresting. Plus, normalcy calms. When you smell smoke, however, it might be wise to stop waxing about fried chicken, say, and see where the flames are coming from. In case... Read More
This happened in Tirana, Albania. As I walked across Skanderbeg Square one fine morning, a black dog darted across my path. As if this wasn’t disturbing enough, there was a woman chasing after him, shouting, “Nigra! Nigra!” It’s 2021, lady! At least have the decency to call him, “My nigga!” (Consult Rachel Jeantel for exact... Read More
Universal suffrage finally came to South Africa in 1994. Not everyone cheered. Many whites hoarded beans, rice, rusks, canned protein, candles and gasoline, etc. They expected societal breakdown, if not mass violence committed by blacks in retribution. Thousands of whites emigrated, but, this is often overlooked, thousands also returned from overseas, so the “chicken run”... Read More
Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.