Front Cover by Ward Schumaker
Golem Likes a Pretty Face, 2011
COLORED PASTE ON PAPER, 48" X 38"
courtesy George Lawson Gallery, Los Angeles
Volume 53, Issue 3
THE MOST COMMON MEANING today of “magazine,” and perhaps the thing itself, is thought to be an English invention. It dates to 1731, and the first issue of Samuel Johnson’s first regular employer, the Gentleman’s Magazine. Earlier collections were either subject- or audience-specific; from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, the OED cites the Militarie Magazine, the Mariners Magazine, the Penman’s Magazine, the Negotiator’s Magazine, and the Spiritual Magazine. Each of these publications, like their miscellaneous kinfolk, worked a common figure on an earlier sense of the word, derived, through early modern French and Italian, from the Arabic makhzan, a “storehouse or repository,” of either goods and merchandise generally, or more specifically arms and munitions. Hence the explanatory note to issue one of Gentleman’s: the editors propose their publication as “a Monthly Collection [which would] treasure up, as in a Magazine, the most remarkable Pieces” on a variety of subjects. The second common contemporary sense for “magazine”—viz., the receptacle that stores cartridges for a machine gun—didn’t flourish until the second half of the nineteenth century, when the weapons themselves did, and modern slaughter began in earnest.
These days, one frequently hears speculation that literary magazines—with their glorious miscellany of forms, interests, genres, and audiences—are not long for this world. In these pages, we have argued the contrary, most effectively perhaps, in MR 50.03, where Eric Lorberer evokes the “New American Renaissance” brought about by the “viral proliferation” of “well-edited and vibrantly alive print journals and on-line publications alike.” In an MR podcast (http://www.massreview.org/interviews), Peter Stallybrass and Dan Visel agree that contrary opinions stem from ignorance of the real history of reading, and not any prophetic understanding of the present or future of the book.
I’ve lately found myself wandering through back alleys on Europe’s eastern fringes, and thus the etymological flowchart linking literary reviews to the agorae, bezistans, and casbahs of the so-called Orient has come to seem particularly resonant. Store after store, one shop followed by another, and another, row upon row of purses, sunglasses, and tourist trinkets spread out on display, each of these apparently hawking much the same assortment of goods. How can they all survive, you wonder? Probably they don’t. And yet Turkey, India, China—the very places most known for this chaotic, commoner form of capitalism—are each today also a model of economic strength and a source of envy for the aging and ailing Occident. No doubt we should spend more time strolling through our homegrown, cultural casbahs.
With this Fall issue, our own glorious miscellany will perhaps appear a menagerie. Barring a few strays, this issue wrangles together a butterfly, horses, dogs, a wooly mammoth, sheep, a falcon and a heron, snakes, bees, buffalo, raccoons, baboons, alligators, as well as a squirrel and a parrot ... oh yes, and a rumpelstilt from Jen Fawkes, somewhere out on the furry borders of humankind. Jacques Derrida once commented that, since philosophical knowledge deprived itself of poetry, its thinking about animals has generally been asinine, and any real work on the subject would have to be done by poets. As it has been here. The striking Ostriker salvos which open the issue set terms for what Derrida calls a “veritable war of the species,” and there are several installments to come, among them poems by Kathy Davis, Luke Johnson, Matthew Brady Klitsch, and Jenna Le. Behavior from our so-called humans, as is often the case, provides no grounds for distinction, categorical or otherwise. Sex and death, love and war: stories by Margot Demopoulos, Giulio Mozzi, and Lindsay Sproul, a novel except from Muriel Rukseyer, as well as thoughtful meditations from Laure Katsaros and Lia Purpura each explore the terrain of human society and evolution, without mistaking it for progress. The issue also includes the last installment of Richard Greeman’s three-part investigation of Victor Serge’s Russian heritage, as well as a memorial tribute to Jerome Liebling from Alan Trachtenberg. Magazines, and menageries as well, are defined by what they enclose, as well as what they leave out. And so we leave you with a poem from Mark Irwin, “Laughing,” an apocalyptic sort of miscellany, all on its lonesome.
They Speak of Race
By Alicia Ostriker
Paw on Your Lap
By Alicia Ostriker
In War Time
By Alicia Ostriker
By Lindsay Sproul
After a Stroke, My Mother Imagines She is Bathsheba
By Tom Daley
The Seventh Day
By Roya Zarrin
The Seventh Day
By Kaveh Bassiri
A New World of Love
By Laure Katsaros
By Margot Demopoulos
By Muriel Rukeyser
See It, Don't
By Jessica Young
Narrative with a Green Sky
By Jennifer Luebbers
The News at His Back
By Uzma Aslam Khan
By Giulio Mozzi
By Elizabeth Harris
By Jean-Francois Bory
By M. Kasper
Demerol, Demerol, Benzedrine, Schnaps
By Jen Fawkes
Girls, She Falcons, Be Thin: Let Us Work Ourselves
By Kathy Davis
Blue Heron, with Black-Snake
By Luke Johnson
By Lia Purpura
Jerome Leibling Memorial, June 10, 2012
By Alan Trachtenberg
Myth and History: Victor Serge's Russian Heritage. Part Three: Deceit and Denial
By Richard Greeman
On Tender Hooks
By Carissa Halston
By Jenna Le
The Squirrel in Tank 12
By Matthew Brady Klitsch
Reasons for Return
By Heather Bryant
Van Gogh's Olive Orchard
By James Magorian
By Derek Henderson
By Mark Irwin
Table of Contents
Introduction, by Jim Hicks
They Speak of Race, Paw on Your Lap, and
In War Time, poems by Alicia Ostriker
Playing France, a story by Lindsay Sproul
After a Stroke, My Mother Imagines She
Is Bathsheba Thinking of King David,
a poem by Tom Daley
The Seventh Day, a poem by Roya Zarrin translated
from Farsi by Kaveh Bassiri
A New World of Love, an essay by Laure Katsaros
The Invasion, a story by Muriel Rukeyser
See It, Don't, a poem by Jessica Young
Narrative with a Green Sky, a poem
by Jennifer Luebbers
The News at His Back, an excerpt from
Thinner than Skin by Uzma Khan
Two Poems by Jean François Bory, translated
from French by M. Kasper
Demerol, Demerol, Benzedrine, Schnaps,
a story by Jen Fawkes
Girls, She Falcons, Be Thin: Let Us Work Ourselves
Asleep Agaist You, a poem by Kathy Davis
Blue Heron, with Black-Snake, a poem by Luke Johnson
Summer Problem, a story by Lia Purpura
Jerome Liebling Memorial, June 10, 2012,
an essay by Alan Trachtenberg
Myth and History: Victor Serge's Russian Heritage
Part Three: Deceit and Denial,
an essay by Richard Greeman
On Tender Hooks, a story by Carissa Halston
Transmigration, a poem by Jenna Le
The Squirrel in Tank 12, a poem by Matthew Brady Klitsch
Reasons for Return, a story by Heather Bryant
from The Deviil Be Familiar, a play by Lucy Marx
from Song 18, a poem by Derek Henderson
Laughing, a poem by Mark Irwin
Notes on Contributors
KAVEH BASSIRI was the recipient of Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency and Walton Translation Fellowship. His poetry won the Bellingham Review's 49th Parallel Award and was recently published in Best New Poets 2011, Virginia Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Mississippi Review.
JEAN-FRANÇOISE BORY is one of the world’s pre-eminent visual littérateurs. In addition to the influential anthology of verbo-visuals he edited in 1968, Once Again, which was published in the U.S. by New Directions, his own literary/artistic output is vast and various; of books, he’s turned out dozens since the early Sixties, most recently Looping (Redfoxpress, 2011).
HEATHER BRYANT won the 2009 Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction Contest. She was Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Randolph College, Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, and fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts’ Moulin à Nef residence in France. Her short fiction has appeared in The Southeast Review and online at www.womenwriters.net. She teaches writing in the English Department at Pace University, Pleasantville.
TOM DALEY serves on the faculty of the Online School of Poetry and teaches poetry writing at the Boston Center for Adult Education and poetry and memoir writing at Lexington (MA) Community Education. He is the author of Every Broom and Bridget, a play about Emily Dickinson and her Irish servants. He has published poems in a number of journals including Fence, Harvard Review, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Ireland Review, Diagram, and Rhino.
KATHY DAVIS lives in Richmond, Virginia and is a freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Oxford American and The Southern Review and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press 2007).
MARGOT DEMOPOULOS is a writer based in Los Angeles. She has just completed a novel set in Crete during the Nazi occupation. The novel includes an account of the abduction of General Kreipe, and Patrick Leigh Fermor appears as a fictional character.
ROWENA KENNEDY-EPSTEIN is currently editing Muriel Rukeyser’s Savage Coast (Costa Brava) (Feminist Press 2013). She is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
JEN FAWKES's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Shenandoah, The Southeast Review, Barrelhouse, and other journals, and has been nominated for a Pushcart. She holds an MFA from Hollins University and will soon enter the doctoral program in fiction writing at the University of Cincinnati. "Demerol, Demerol, Benzedrine, Schnaps" is part of a linked collection.
RICHARD GREEMAN is the translator and prefacer of five of Victor Serge’s seven novels, most recently Unforgiving Years (NYRB Classics, 2008). He is the author of Beward of Vegetarian Sharks: Radical Rants and Internationst Essays (Illustrated), and secretary of the Victor Serge Foundation in Montpellier, France.
CARISSA HALSTON is the author of A Girl Named Charlie Lester and The Mere Weight of Words. Her short fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Consequence, The Collagist, TRNSFR, and Curbside Splendor, among others. She currently lives in Boston where she runs a small press called Aforementioned Productions, edits a literary journal called apt, hosts a reading series called Literary Firsts, and is at work on a novel called Conjoined States.
ELIZABETH HARRIS has translated fiction by Italian authors such as Mario Rigoni Stern, Domenico Starnone, Giulio Mozzi, and Marco Candida. Her fiction translations appear in Words Without Borders, The Literary Review, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, and many other journals. Her translations have appeared twice in Dalkey Archive’s annual Best European Fiction anthology, with fiction by Mozzi (2010) and Candida (2011). Her translations of Rigoni Stern’s novel Giacomo’s Seasons and Mozzi’s story collection This is the Garden are forthcoming from Autumn Hill Books and Open Letter Books respectively.
DEREK HENDERON, co-author (with Derek Pollard) of Inconsequentia (BlazeVOX, 2010) and author of Thus &: An Erasure of Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets (if p then q, 2011), is alive and well in Salt Lake City. At present, he is glad that Barbara Guest was with us to observe “in the distance, / figure passing, / unworded distance at edge.”
MARK IRWIN is the author of six collections of poetry, two volumes of translation, and a recently completed book of essays on contemporary American poetry entitled Monster. His American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987- 2012) will appear next year along with a new, single volume entitled Large White House Speaking. He teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern California and in the MFA Low Residency Program at Ashland University.
LUKE JOHNSON is the author of the poetry collection After the Ark (New York Quarterly Books, 2011). His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Epoch, New England Review, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. His work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and has twice appeared in the Best New Poets anthology. He lives in Seattle, Washington, where he is working on a second collection.
MICHAEL KASPER, a longtime librarian at Amherst College, is also a translator (Gabriel Pomerand’s Saint Ghetto of the Loans, 2006, and Paul Scheerbart’s Development of Aerial Militarism, 2007, among others), and a book artist whose most recent is Open-Book (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010).
LAURE KATSAROS teaches nineteenth-century French literature and culture at Amherst College since 2002. Her book, Un nouveau monde amoureux: Célibataires et prostituées au dix-neuvième siècle (A New World of Love: Bachelors and Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century France), was published in Paris in 2011. Her new book, New York-Paris: Whitman, Baudelaire, and the Hybrid City is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press this Fall.
UZMA ASLAM KHAN was born in Lahore and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of three novels, including Trespassing and The Geometry of God. Trespassing was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize Eurasia 2003. The Geometry of God was voted one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2009 and won a bronze medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2010. Her fiction and nonfiction have been widely published around the world. Her fourth novel, forthcoming from Clockroot Books in Fall 2012, is Thinner than Skin. “Ice, Mating,” an excerpt of Thinner than Skin, was featured in Granta’s hugely popular issue on Pakistan. Visit her at http://uzmaaslamkhan.blogspot.com/.
MATTHEW BRADY KLITSCH received his MFA in Poetry from Drew University. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in 5AM, The Dirty Napkin, and the Colorado Review, among others. He divides his time between work, writing, and volunteering at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.
JENNA LE’s first book, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011), was a Small Press Distribution Poetry Bestseller. Her poems and translations have been published by AGNI Online, Barrow Street, New York Quarterly, Post Road, Salamander, and Sycamore Review. She has been a finalist in the William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and a nominee for the PEN Emerging Writers Award.
JENNIFER LUBBERS was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She currently serves as Editor of Indiana Review at Indiana University, where she is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2011, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, Ninth Letter, and Washington Square, among others.
JAMES MAGORIAN's poetry has appeared in Connecticut Reivew, Denver Quartely, The Monterrat Review, and Southern California Review. His most recent novel is Hearts of Gold (1996). His most recent poetry collection is Geographia (2008).
LUCY MARX, a direct ancestor of Margaret Stephenson Scott, teaches writing at MIT. She is completing a novel based on the patriarchal narratives of Genesis. For further information concerning the play The Devil Be Familiar, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIULIO MOZZI (from Padua, Italy) has published twenty-six books—as fiction writer, poet, and editor—with presses like Einaudi and Mondadori. His first story collection (in which F. appears) is Questo è il giardino (This is the Garden), which won the Premio Mondello; “L’apprendista” (“The Apprentice”), from this collection, appears in Mondadori’s anthology of the top Italian stories of the twentieth century, I racconti italiani del novecento. Mozzi is also well known as a promoter of young Italian writers and for his literary blog Vibrisse Bolletino. With the artist Bruno Lorino, he has created the imaginary artist Carlo Dalcielo, whose work has appeared in public exhibitions and in book form. Carlo Dalcielo’s Carlo Doesn’t Know How to Read appears in Dalkey Archive Press’s Best European Fiction 2010. Mozzi’s work has appeared in numerous languages; This is the Garden (forthcoming in 2013 from Open Letter Books) will be Mozzi’s first volume into English.
ALICE OSTRIKERS's most recent collection of poems is The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011. Her old woman-tulip-dog poems keep surprising her. Ostriker teaches in the low-residency MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University.
LIA PURPURA’s collection of essays, Rough Likeness, was just published by Sarabande Books. She is the recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship.
MURIEL RUKEYSER (1913-1980) was a prolific American writer whose work engaged the political and literary movements of the 20th century. She published more than twelve volumes of poetry, as well as works of biography, fiction, theory and journalism.
LINDSAY SPROUL, originally from Massachuestts, is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University. Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Beloit Fiction Journal, Cream City Review, American Short Fiction, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Glimmer Train. She is currently a PhD student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
ALAN TRACHTENBERG field of research lies in American cultural history, including the history and criticism of photography. His books include The Incorporation of America (1982), Reading American Photographs (1989), and Lincoln’s Smile and Other Enigmas (2006). Recipient of numerous fellowships and visiting positions, he is professor emeritus of Engish and American Studies at Yale University
JESSICA YOUNG's full-length collection, Alice’s Sister, will be out in 2013 through WordTech; her chapbook Only as Body is through Bateau Press. She currently teaches at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA in poetry, held a Zell Fellowship, and received two Hopwood awards and the 2010 Moveen Residency. Her undergraduate work was at MIT where she received four Ilona Karmel prizes for her poetry and essays. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart.
ROYA ZARRIN lives in Iran. Her first book of poems, The Earth Needs the Lover’s Incantation, was a finalist for the Karnameh prize. Her third book, I Want to Swallow my Children, won the Khorshid prize, an annual award for the best poetry book written by a female author.