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10 Questions for Torsa Ghosal

- By Edward Clifford

Ma speaks with her eyes focused on some faint mark on the table's oilcloth. Hasnahena or Pāẏarā listens to the history of her naming again, after a long time. She has known it since her childhood. But, somehow, it is as though a festival celebrating her inconsequential human birth is still going on in this house.
—from "an Artist's Ego," by Shagufta Sharmeen Tania, translated by Torsa Ghosal, Volum 63, Issue 3 (Fall 2022)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
Growing up in the multilingual culture of India, I feel like I have been translating bits and pieces of literature pretty much all my life. I remember translating lines of Bengali poetry for Hindi-speaking friends on my school bus when I was in the...



- By Erri De Luca

“I would like to open a door”—the sentence was uttered by a prisoner on death row for decades now, in San Quentin. For decades now he has not touched the handle of a door.

California has repudiated capital punishment, but when Jarvis Masters was sentenced to death the gas chambers were still working.

I’ve read his life story, recorded by the journalist, David Sheff: A Buddhist on Death Row (Simon & Schuster, 2020, Italian translation, Emanuela Alverà, Uniliber). Masters began practicing controlled breathing and meditation...

The Next Best Thing

Zen and the Art of Actualizing Fiction

- By Ruth Ozeki and Michael Thurston

Editor’s note: On Wednesday, December 7, in the Paradise Room of the Smith College Conference Center, Ruth Ozeki gave a lecture titled “The Book of Form and Emptiness: Zen and the Art of Actualizing Fiction.” Provost Michael Thurston introduced the speaker, and his remarks follow here, as does Ruth Ozeki’s sabbatical report, mentioned in the intro.


Good afternoon.

For the last few years, I’ve begun introductions of speakers by introducing myself as “Michael Thurston, Provost and Dean of Faculty at Smith.” I am still provost and dean of faculty, but today I think it’s important that I introduce myself as a faculty member in the Department of English. This is because it is my great honor to introduce...


Double-Digit 6-Pack: A Holiday Brew Review


Why settle for a beer cocktail when you can enjoy a boozy beer?

As the holidays come round again
And you gather with family and friends,
Boozy beers make us merry
With malt, chocolate, cherry,
And spice. Here are six I commend.

For a booze-infused brew you’ll repeat,
Try this toffee-hued ale for a treat.
From oak barrels it comes
To dispel the doldrums,
Dragon’s Milk: strong, yet caramel-sweet.

From Left Hand, this Imperial Stout
Is what blissfully boozy’s about.
Though it’s called Wake Up Dead,
You’ll feel festive instead
And start toasting in sweet roasty bouts.

Dessert in a glass? Well, why...

Our America

At Smedley Butler's Grave

- By W.D. Ehrhart

So here I am with Smedley Butler,
Major General, Maverick Marine,
Old Gimlet Eye, the Stormy Petrel,
two-time Medal of Honor winner;
me a sergeant with a Purple Heart
for doing nothing but getting hit.
(Don’t kid yourself, there’s nothing
heroic in that; just bad luck.)

Yet here I am at Butler’s grave. But why?
Well, we were both Marines, there’s that.
And he graduated in 1898 from the school
where I taught decades later for 18 years.
And he wrote a book called War Is a Racket
in which he concluded, “To Hell with War!”
How can you not love the guy for that?


W.D. EHRHART is an American poet, writer, scholar, Vietnam veteran, and active member of...

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