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10 Questions for Cleo Qian

- By Franchesca Viaud

I was, and continue to be, impatient. During the rests, I never counted properly, always stumbling forward to get to the next note. I didn't understand how a song worked, how to contextualize notes and phrases, the arc of a piece. When I performed, I relied on muscle memory: if you stopped me after I started, I couldn't go on. 
—from "Common Time" by Cleo...

After Us

Film (Earth Primer #2)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Photo courtesy of Giacomo Sartori)

(Earth Primer #1)

When I travel around, giving lectures on soil, I ask my listeners—who sometimes are children—how deep it is. In response, some people say a mile or two, others say hundreds of yards. They all imagine it limitless; you can tell by the seriousness in their hesitations, the sort that emerge whenever incommensurable entities are at stake. But it is also clear that no one has a precise measurement in mind. This is normal, because what we’re given to see is its face looking to the heavens, and only meager indices—not simple to suss out—encourage us to imagine how deep it goes.

In reality, almost everywhere the soil below us...


10 Questions for Oz Johnson

- By Edward Clifford

I never gave Judaism much thought until college. I happened upon a seminar on the Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, who argues that holiness can be located not within space but across time, with each cycle of weeks binding us to the moment of creation. Enchanted by this idea, I started to believe that maybe the point of life isn’t to offer something new to the world but to do the same banal things over and over, with a bit more care each go-around.
—from "An Introduction to Exile," Volume 64, Issue 3 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Unlike a lot of writers, I didn’t write stories for fun as a kid. I’ve never kept a diary. I spent most of my adult life thinking that I wasn...


The Sea Elephants

- By Ellie Eberlee

A Review of The Sea Elephants by Shastri Akella (Flatiron Books, 2023)

“Once upon a time,” reads sixteen-year-old protagonist Shagun in a book of Hindu myths at the outset of Shastri Akella’s earnest and aching debut novel, The Sea Elephants, “the gods took away the first ancestor of the sea elephants, coveting him for his exceptional...

After Us

War (Earth Primer #1)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Photo courtesy of Giacomo Sartori)

N.B. With this post, we inaugurate a weekly series penned by the brilliant Italian novelist and soil scientist Giacomo Sartori. We'll be posting a new column each Friday, so stay tuned!

Wars are as unfortunate for the earth as they are for people. The aerial footage from the battles in Ukraine showing fields studded with craters is sadly identical to that of the Adige Valley, in my region, due to a conflict more than one hundred years ago. The same visible pimples on the edges of farmed fields, perfectly round but differing in size, which depends on the force of the projectiles. The rockets and shells that don’t wound people—which, fortunately, are by far the majority—lascerate the earth, though this damage...

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