When "Marathon Runner" begins, it's a little familiar and a little chaotic. Fans of Yellow Ostrich's first album, The Mistress, will recognize the voice of singer Alex Schaaf, which sounds most at home when it's threading through his loop pedal. But here, something is broken: The loop is unbalanced, resetting mid-measure, failing to lock into a groove.
American poetry's recognition of the prosaicness — if not profanity — of our age and culture takes many forms. Poets embrace pop or pursue the workings of the mind with what Robert Bly called associative leaping. They examine rhetoric by mashing up archaisms with the hypernew. They resist poetry's traditional resistance to technology, fashion, advertising or fad — or they follow someone like Ashbery into poetic abstraction.
American literature is rich with books that illuminate our culture from an immigrant's fresh perspective. The most powerful tend to be written by the newcomers themselves, or their offspring, but there are exceptions. Nell Freudenberger's latest novel, The Newlyweds, is about a young Bangladeshi woman determined to find a better life by marrying an American she meets on a dating website. Coming from a native New Yorker, it's an act of sustained, cross-cultural ventriloquism and empathy.
NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.
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GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.