About Ed Simon

Ed Simon is a contributing writer at Belt Magazine.

The Pittsburgh School

Yet part of what defines the Pittsburgh School, from Brackenridge onward, is the mystical kernel of something beyond mere matter that animates any consideration of this place: the transcendent in the prosaic, the sacred in the profane. An intimation of beauty amid a kingdom of ugliness.

2024-05-21T15:15:32-04:00May 13, 2024|

May Day is a Rust Belt Holiday

May Day isn’t just an estimably American holiday, it’s a particularly Rust Belt holiday, forged in the cauldron of Chicago’s streets and factories, born from the experience of workers in the mills and plants of Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

2024-05-06T11:00:54-04:00April 29, 2024|

Botticelli in the Burgh

All of these paintings, the originals in Tuscany, are also viewable down to the most granular detail, by the most strict parameters of verisimilitude, in an Italianate building of white granite and red terra cotta roof in the middle of Pittsburgh.

2024-04-15T10:24:18-04:00April 8, 2024|

Singing Rust Belt Union Blues

A discussion with Theda Skocpol and Lainey Newman about their book "Rust Belt Union Blues: Why Working-Class Voters are Turning Away from the Democratic Party."

2024-03-21T11:04:51-04:00March 14, 2024|

Belt’s Top Stories of 2023

When trying to describe what exactly I envision the magazine to be, I often joke with people that I aspire for Belt to be The New Yorker of the Rust Belt (except that I’m not really joking).

2024-01-12T11:29:11-05:00December 28, 2023|

Bard in the Belt

That observation made me wonder if there might not be something particularly “Shakespearean” about the Rust Belt, the arc of success and devastation, the clashing of all of those villainous characters during the Gilded Age and the nobility of those who resisted them, and the narrative culmination of the post-industrial landscape as blasted as Lear’s heath.

2023-11-26T16:26:54-05:00November 13, 2023|

Paradise Lost in Pittsburgh

To walk through Frick Park – at least for me – is a pilgrimage into Milton's Paradise Lost, read not in words, lines, and stanzas, but rather rocks, trees, and water.

2023-09-25T09:33:10-04:00September 20, 2023|

Charting the Pittsburgh Novel with Jake Oresick

"I do appreciate titles that use the terrain instead of making their characters sit inside. I also enjoy titles that reveal the parts of our region that outsiders are unlikely to see, like Homewood, Butler, or old school, residential Oakland. Yinzers don't gaze down from Grandview Avenue all day like the movies would have you believe."

2023-08-14T09:44:34-04:00August 9, 2023|

Belt’s 2023 Summer Fund Drive!

We've got more planned in the future, including a print anthology of Rust Belt poetry and the production of an original podcast about environmental calamities in our region, but none of this will be possible without your generous support. 

2023-07-17T08:24:13-04:00July 11, 2023|

Theorizing the Rust Belt

The mark of a brilliant idea, I would argue, is how jealous it makes you feel when you first learn about it. By that criterion, I was incredibly jealous of the organizers of the Rust Belt Humanities Lab.

2023-06-19T08:19:33-04:00June 17, 2023|
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