In Search of Duende: Trash Humpers

Nic Lawrence


“Beyond economic deaths, educational deaths, overdose deaths, Appalachia carries a kind of pastoral death: the cratered hillside replaced with slurry ponds and refineries; a discarded refrigerator in a flooded creek.” Nic Lawrence summons her West Virginian childhood while finding duende in Harmony Korine’s 2009 film, Trash Humpers.


In Search of Duende: Self Loathing in a Fast Food Parking Lot, or: A Catalog of Sadness

Paul Asta


“Duende is more than a fleeting moment of sadness. It’s an aesthetic. A projected acceptable sadness. A stepsister of nostalgia.” Paul Asta takes a kaleidoscopic view of Duende, via Elliott Smith, mental illness, and fast food.


In Search of Duende: A Memoir of the Bosnian War

Lana Spendl


“And a writer’s moment of struggle with duende is not something that can be boxed in and kept, however much one longs to keep it. The struggle is always new, always fresh.” Beside her own piercing memories, Lana Spendl illuminates duende within Ozren Kebo’s memoir of the Bosnian War.


In Search of Duende: The Fits

M. Milks


M. Milks reports on desire and acceptance in The Fits, a film about a young dancer who begins to suffer spasms as a member of a troupe, raising important questions about the lines between sickness and art.


In Search of Duende: Language In His Own Hands: Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry”

August Evans


A mouth, open to its widest, prepares for ancestral possession. August Evans considers duende as a potent force in Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry.”


In Search of Duende: Diane Arbus at the Met

Rachel Lyon


For the first of a series of posts contemplating a contemporary idea of cultural duende curated by August Evans, Rachel Lyon visits the Met to explore a new exhibition of early work by Diane Arbus.