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I’VE SAID THIS BEFORE, but it bears repeating. You probably know that neurologists have a term, proprioception, to describe our sense of ourselves and our body, its position and movement in space. What they haven’t yet named, so far as I know, is the cultural equivalent to proprioception: our sense of the world, of history, of our place in it and our ability to move and act, within and on it. Yet such an equivalent does exist: we believe our bodies to be whole and immortal, the world to be solid beneath our feet, we know our family loves us, as does God, and we assume that our nation (race, tribe, clan, call it what you will) is where we belong — to it we pledge allegiance. Until, that is, we don’t. Locke wasn’t off-base when he named solidity as the first of his simple ideas, the corner or keystone for all of the rest. He had less to say about those moments when the earth moves, a family splits, gods die, or our nation declares war on itself. One day...

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By Pablo Neruda, Translated by Karen Hilberg

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“We are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest [...] the teachings of Thoreau are alive today, indeed, they are more alive today than ever before.”

—REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (MR 4.1, Autumn 1962)

From the Blog

Our America

What's the News in Trumpworld?

- By Marya Zilberberg

It’s so fitting that the Trump era has ushered in toilet paper shortages in the US. Should the current coup attempt somehow still succeed, and we find ourselves in an endless loop of rule-by-tweet-from-the-gilded-toilet known as Trumpworld, fear not, my fellow Americans—we Soviet refugees can teach you a lot about how to get along without.

When my family came to the US from Odessa in 1977, we had never seen saran wrap, sandwich baggies, or paper towels. We survived just fine. And you’ll be fine too, or at least you’ll be forced to pretend to be fine. Let me tell you how to manage, while at the same time leveraging that reviled organ of propaganda, the purveyor of fake news, the newspaper.

In the USSR, newspapers were revered, not reviled. They, or...


10 Questions for Annie Lampman

- By Edward Clifford

Evanthe held still, her limbs pulled into awkward angles—one elbow cocked out to the side, the other braced against a root serving as tripod, both hands grippin the binocular's rubber houseing hard enough she was afraid she wouldn't be able to unbend them again. She didn't dare readjust. Didn't dare move her left knee off whatever sharp thing she'd planted it on. She'd been waiting her whole life to see this: a male paradise tanager...
—from "Birds of the Land," Volume 61, Issue 3 (Fall 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
When I was a creative-writing undergrad in a fiction workshop class somewhere around 2003, the professor assigned a two-page writing exercise where two...

Favorite Things

The Offending Classic

- By Deborah Jowitt

Sex and Death

Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams in Agon (1957) by George Balanchine. Photo by Martha Swope ©The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Several nineteenth-century story ballets that have survived the passage of time have similar scenarios. In Giselle (1841), a nobleman groomed to marry a woman he doesn’t much care for falls in love with a peasant girl with a weak heart. When death transforms her into a Wili, he becomes in thrall to her. This frail spirit, against her wishes, has been commanded by the Queen of the Wilis to dance him to death. Instead, she saves him and returns to her grave; he is overcome with grief.

In La Bayadère (1877), Solor’s bride-to-be, Gamzatti, sees to it that...


Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 12-13

- By Michael Thurston

Read Part 11 here

(Photo: Michelangelo's David, posterior view. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.)

“These days are misty, insulated, mute”

We are at the midpoint of autumn and the midpoint of the poem, far enough into both to realize that the incessant endings signaled by earlier sunsets, falling leaves, the endings of days/seasons/years/relationships, and the poet’s own dithering, are themselves only the prelude and necessary condition for new beginnings. Autumn brings cycles to MacNeice’s mind, and as we saw at the end of section XI, “No one can stop the cycle.” Nevertheless, the two mid-...

Our America

Love Poem and Response

- By Roque Dalton and Katherine Silver


(Photo: Lines from Roque Dalton's Poema de Amor on a wall near the offices of Al Otro Lado in Tijuana, México, courtesy of Katherine Silver)






Roque Dalton


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