Where East Meets West

For hundreds of years, Turkey has been a crossroads between European and Asian culture, politics, business and art. Turkey’s influence has also been wide-ranging– the Hungarian fondness for paprika is a remnant of the time that Hungary was part of the Ottoman Empire, and the pungent spice was brought to its citizens from the motherland. This identity as a point of intersection has become a crucial aspect of political affairs in today’s Turkey. Turkey is one of the few countries that can have mainly positive relationships with European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries simultaneously, even as they war against each other. Continue reading “Where East Meets West”

The Gospel of Anarchy

I heard Justin Taylor read from The Gospel of Anarchy last month at the University Bookstore with Blake Butler. Usually, readings are similar to reverse radio talk show host sightings: kind of awkward, not what you expected, the voice all wrong. Instead, Justin’s voice was like (another simile?) seeing a band live for the first time after you’ve devoured their records. Justin read a piece about Thomas, one cardinal in the compass of Fishgut, a haven for the fringe society in Gainesville, Florida.

 “With new people always coming and going, and new chapters in the grand anarcho-soap of everyone’s hookups and alliances and ideologies ever being written and rewritten, it only makes sense that [Fishgut] would grow outsize in [Thomas’] mind. Whole worlds rush up against each other in there, colliding in dark heat, or else separated by mere thin inches of concrete—not quite thin enough to punch through, as it turns out, but still, from the inside: epic.”

The world of Fishgut is a grasping whirlpool, attracting all types of weirdoes and outcasts and their mandatory ethos. Justin explained the book as a struggle to affix Christianity with Anarchism; how tenants of both systems believe and act on their beliefs in a very similar fashion. The sinew of the book is sown with comfortable prose detailing a heady time and place. That does not preclude a thick mindset. Content-wise, the book is packed rife with mind pops while challenging the oft misplaced stigma of gutter punks and hyper-hippies. Perspectives change and narrators shift, all bringing you closer to the people, who, in case you are wondering, are very epic and most worthy.

~Matt Nelson, Northeast Branch