Perspectives by Incongruity
First of the Year
First of the Year, Volume 4
Diversity and “perspective by incongruity” deﬁne the approach to changing times in this fourth volume of the First of the Year series. Insights come from interesting minds in unobvious juxtapositions. First’s roster of irreverent—and holy!—regulars includes Amiri Baraka, Bernard Avishai, Uri Avnery, Chuck D, Diane di Prima, Fr. Rick Frechette, Donna Gaines, Lawrence Goodwyn, Roxane Johnson, W.T. Lhamon Jr., Philip Levine, Kanan Makiya, Bongani Madondo, Greil Marcus, Charles O’Brien, Judy Oppenheimer, Tom Smucker, Fredric Smoler, A.B. Spellman, Scott Spencer, Robert Farris Thompson, Richard Torres, David Waldstreicher, and Armond White.Their angles on history and history in the making are enhanced by contributions from new members of First’s family of defamiliarizers such as Peter Brown, Wesley Brown, Mark Dudzic, Robert Hullot-Kentor, and Aram Saroyan.
Perspectives by Incongruity touches down in Kashmir, Haiti, South Africa, and Indonesia. There’s a vital section devoted to the Arab Spring. But the volume homes in on the U.S.A. as well, digging into race and class structures of feeling (and fantasy). It means to comprehend the Obama era in real time. Music is key to Perspectives by Incongruity’s offbeat truth-telling. Contributors sound off on Jay Z and Kanye West, mambo and Afropop, Dylan and Coltrane, Sun Ra and Arcade Fire. First’s meaning is (as ever) in the mix.
“Arresting, fractious . . . At once contrarian, ambitiously inclusive and wide-ranging [First of the Year] has attracted an extended crew of intelligent, passionate, polemical writers.”
—American Book Review
“First is a cultural and intellectual publication that is singularly lively, and no less strange . . . It has been compared to Partisan Review . . . But it may be time to recognize and respect First for what it is in its own right: a journal of demotic intelligence, alive to its own times, with insights and errors appropriate to those times, making it worth the price of perplexity.”
—Inside Higher Education