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Like A Prayer

For those who want to feel old, consider this: today marks the 20th anniversary of Madonna's Number One Hit, "Like A Prayer" - in the sense that it stayed at #1 until Easter, on 26th March. The album, of the same title, is considered by many to be one of the greatest pop albums of all time, and the song itself - despite or because of its wedding of religiosity and carnality - is sometimes considered Madonna's finest.

Personally, I prefer "Dress You Up". Her claim that "life is a mystery / everyone must stand alone" is at once religious and nihilistic. The cover of the album is, itself, a striking example of this. Madonna is famous for her anti/Christian puns and dress sense - and in some ways matches Donne or Leonard Cohen, in that department. She also favours simile. "Like A Virgin", surely, forms the basis for this later song. Her "down on my knees/ I want to take you there" it should be said was substantially borrowed from "Tainted Love".

Is Madonna ironic? Hard to say - she is very blatant, and obviously a materialist, pragmatist, and capitalist. Her 80s and 90s excesses (this song the bridge) are somewhat unfashionable now. Still, she remains, 20 years on, a superb entertainer (and dubious moralist) - and a user of paradox. In some ways, Madonna is an heir to Wilde - the use of masks, and outrageous statement, and sexual motifs concealed barely by overwrought style. Wilde's "The Decay of Lying" from 1889 - 120 years ago - perhaps tells us what we need to know of Madonna's art: Art never expresses anything but itself .
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Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!