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10 Questions

10 Questions for Henry Israeli

- By Abby MacGregor

He asks me to buy him a drink,
         his face a mirror whose patina has erased
its reflection, features falling away like rust.
        I offer him my own, a drink whose name
I cannot remember but means dirt path
        in one of the dead languages I’ve studied.
from “The Day I Met the Hanged Man,” Winter 2017 (Vol. 58, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first piece I wrote was as a senior in high school. It was about addiction, a subject I knew nothing about, but the high I got from writing it is a feeling I will never forget. I’m still...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Matthew Fiander

- By Abby Macgregor

“I am curled into the barrel of the cannon, in the middle of the cen­ter ring on this hard-packed earth. Somewhere in the stands, my son Jonah is with his father, Kirk. And as I wait for my signal, for those two taps on the side of the barrel, I remember the look on Jonah’s face from earlier in the day.” —from “The Disaster March,” Winter 2017 (Vol. 58, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of the first that comes to mind was about drive-thru churches. You could swing up to the window and get a blessing, give confession, purchase the body and the blood. It was pretty bad, as you might have guessed. I think I thought I was being funny and absurd in my early work, but I was really just...

10 Questions

10 Questions for John Emil Vincent

- By Abby Macgregor

I had too much computer. And a bad case of quaint.

Such as it was, time stood still and there I was with someone seemed half my age and less a quarter my hygiene. We walked to Emily Dickinson’s grave. We held hands; he said his fingers were empurpled from picking kale in deep frost. I found that twee. In an adorable way.

from “A crumbling infrastructure,” Winter 2017 (Vol. 58, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first prose poems I wrote were in high school. I wrote this epic fantasia called “Bidet and the Giant Silver Rocking Horse.” It involved pretending to be on acid, which at the time I had not tried. The work was finding a way to open up and develop momentum,...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Gregory Conti

- By Abby Macgregor

“As she opens her front door, dressed perfectly with just a hint of retro, you see the blue flame of the samovar grumbling behind her down at the end of the hall. The tea, the smoked herring, the small talk meted out with the stately pace of a fairytale, create just the right atmosphere for talking about any theme you like.” –from Like Horses Asleep on Their Feet" by Paolo Rumiz, translated by Gregory Conti, Winter 2017 (Vol. 58, Issue 4)


The Next Best Thing

Listening to Mary

- By Jim Hicks

Early on, in the 1985 film that arguably inaugurated Jean-Luc Godard's late-period work, we watch, for much longer than we expect to, a single person on a crowded sidewalk. Our view, or that of the camera, is from a nearby rooftop—surveillance in an etymological sense. At a certain point as I recall, the voiceover comments: “If you look at anyone closely enough, or long enough, you'll be more or less certain that the person under observation is insane.” (When I first saw this film, I myself was living in Paris, and remember thinking, “Anyone? Or do they have to be French?”) In a documentary film by Wim Wenders a few years earlier—a sequence of monologues by various famous directors at...

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