‘Festival Days’ by Jo Ann Beard: Bright Illuminations

by Michelle Latiolais

Consciousness. One of science’s big questions. What is consciousness? But we have been writing consciousness for thousands of years now, and one of America’s most miraculous writers has just given us a second collection of essays so brilliantly perceptual that the writing is—for all intents and purposes—neurological. The visual tapestry is so vivid, so rich, one forgets one is in the medium of language. Take almost any image or detail in a Jo Ann Beard piece and follow its pathways, its firings, its bright illuminations, its quieting into a kind of shade thrown across the entire essay—it is a map […]

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