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Last Summer of the City

- By John Gu

A Review of Gianfranco Calligarich's Last Summer in the City, Transl. Howard Curtis; Foreword by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2021)

Is there a more fertile experience for literary aspirants than to be poor in a great city? Every generation of young would-be novelists searches for their own version of the Lost Generation’s Left Bank in Paris, and a few are lucky enough to find it. Around the year 1970, a young Milanese journalist named Gianfranco Calligarich came to Rome on an assignment for a Milanese newspaper. After his assignment ended, he decided to stay in the city rather than return to Milan, and one product of this decision was a novel, L'ultima estate in città...


10 Questions for Christopher Schmidt

- By Marissa Perez

Aristotle imagined that red occured when "luminous transparency is covered by a thin burning smoke." In California, in the Amazon, wherever forest fires spread, visions of a red future multiply. "With all the dust and smoke in the air, the world will begin to look different," writes one reporter.
—from "Fugitive Reds," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In college I wrote a poem about the oboe. Or perhaps it was a poem that used the oboe as a metaphor. Clearly, the poem itself was trash. What remains indelible to me is the word I lifted—daedal—from a then unpublished poem by Elizabeth Bishop. As transgressions go, it’s mild stuff. Yet...


10 Questions for Carly Joy Miller

- By Marissa Perez

Meanness is not the only way to access it.

I grew adjacent to Christ: knew him purely by name and sight (limbs on the patibulum)

The crossbar—the patibulum—is an incorrect representation.
—from "A Humility Essay," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My second-grade teacher let me continue writing a Space Jam fan fiction after craft time was over! I also wrote Sailor Moon fan fiction in my early middle school years. And for poems, I remember an orange notebook I would carry with me—lots of song lyrics, flowers and investigating my feelings a la Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

What writer(s) or works have...


10 Questions for Alex Mouw

- By Marissa Perez

The manatee's strangest feature is she's always
working, seven straight ruminant hours pawing

shallow floors for mangrove leaves and pickerel weed.
Even sleeping half the day, each quarter hour
—from "Anxiety Medication," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In elementary school I wrote a story about a kid who gets lost at a candy store inside a strip mall. I don’t remember much else about it, but surely it was harrowing and sugary, and probably a troll was involved.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
I’m a serial imitator, so I can’t read a book of poems without trying to copy that person, mostly...

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