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Introduction

FOR THE PAST DECADE, when introducing a new issue I’ve followed a simple rule, more or less strictly. Even though I do believe that all art emerges from history, just as all consciousness is ultimately biology (and also that we’re more or less equally far from understanding the specific pathways that lead to either), for the intros, I’ve always ruled out references to what’s happening now. Publication is a material process and it takes time, so the now I’m writing in will not be the now of your reading. In this moment, my now, spring has officially sprung only days ago, and yet this issue in your hands, in your now, cannot possibly be opened earlier than mid-June, a few days before summer. 

The reason I mention this rule, as by now you will have understood, is to break it. Thing is, this time it’s different. Time itself is different, frozen in some sense, yet...

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fiction

Xyla

By Nia Imara

poetry

Upright

By Tomas Tranströmer, Translated by Patty Crane

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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

Interviews

10 Questions for Chelsea B. DesAutels

- By Edward Clifford

All day the sun moved over the rock I say on.
All day I tried to think like an elk.
I'd been drinking bad wine
from a thermos and counting the blades
on little bluestem. It was nearly dark
when they finally appeared under the gnarled oak,
brown legs in prarie grass. And there's the bull—
—from "Ghost Child," Volume 61, Issue 2 (Summer 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In college, I was fortunate to take a workshop with Frank Bidart. I was an English/Pol Sci major but hadn’t taken any creative writing courses. I remember so clearly my first poem for that workshop! I wrote about my great-grandparents and the cabin they build by hand in the Black Hills in 1929....


Our America

The Presence of the Past of Things

- By Patricio Pron

Some time ago I visited an elderly couple who lived on the outskirts of a small German city. I had never met them, but I already knew some things about them: I knew that they were my girlfriend’s paternal grandparents, that they were readers of Theodor Fontane, that he had been a teacher, that it had been a while since my girlfriend had last visited them. They lived in a small apartment with views of a highway with little traffic and they made exquisite conversation, the result of a life of readings that had left their mark and which they recounted without the slightest affectation as they sliced up the customary cake, served coffee and showed an interest in us, as if there were anything interesting about our lives.

The day after visiting...


After Us

The Pandemic

- By Ward Schumaker

A neighbor boy asked me what I remembered of the 1918 Flu Pandemic. I had to explain that, appearances aside, I wasn't quite that old. But in fact, when I was very young the world was hit with a different epidemic, one I couldn't comprehend at the time but which affected my family greatly. In my mind it became a mystery that needed to be unraveled and as I got older, in hope of understanding, I'd frequently ask my dad to repeat this story:

“It was 1948,” he'd tell me, “year of the epidemic. You were four, maybe five. I was dressing for work when your brother Cliff came running into the bedroom saying a man was pacing back-and-forth in front of the house, crying. Outside I found Chuck Renston walking in circles, holding his head and sobbing. Polio...


Interviews

10 Questions for David Moolten

- By Edward Clifford

We stayed together like two voices
trying to find each other in the dark.
She had an uncle like a father to her
except when like a king he made her
bow her head, and if he held it
to his groin it was in a secret life
she kept from no one save herself. . . .
—from "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," Volume 61, Issue 2

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of the first mature pieces I had published was a poem called “Trajectories,” about a boy diagnosed with cancer and his relationship with his mother. I was at that time dealing with such a diagnosis. I wasn't a boy. I was twenty-six, but scared, felt I'd suddenly regressed in certain ways. At the same time, the...


Interviews

10 Questions for Mirgul Kali

- By Edward Clifford

The pass through the mountains led into a narrow, serpentine ravine with dense forests of birch and poplar on both sides. A caravan of nine camels loaded with bridal dowry and accompanied by a couple dozen men and women on horseback slowly made its way along the rocky trail, now ascending steadily, now dipping abruptly downhill. The sun, that had only recently been seen high overhead, occasionally peeked between the stark gray hilltops, which crowded and clambered on top of one another. At times, the sun hid behind them and shadows fell on the canyon walls, turning them deep green. Only the pale bark of the tall birch trees, slender and close-set, shone dimly in the dark. Toqsaba, riding in the middle of the procession kept turning to look at his young bride.
—from...


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