Vol. 59 Issue 04
TABLE OF CONTENTS
“I Live Here”
We live by waters breaking out of the heart.
Minna Zallman Proctor
Over the past year, I found it harder and harder to think of “I live here” as dissociated from “stand your ground.” The question of territory—over land, one’s body, one’s privacy—started to feel argumentative rather than metaphysical. One week, “I live here” means “I live here, too.” Another week, it means “get off my property.” …read the full letter here
The bull died suddenly and the owners wanted to know why and so my husband sent the lab a tissue sample. In the meantime, the owners butchered the bull and gave my husband the head and some meat from the flanks but I will not serve the meat.
C. Morgan Babst
At the Time When Kings Go Off to War
Talia held the bow in her left hand, the quiver strapped against her side, and when I held back for a second to watch her, the world reeled. It was almost the same feeling I’d had when Ray had redeployed
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
It was a Saturday. The guests at the Green House were fanning charcoal and slabs of slowly charring meat with squares of cardboard, and the cats were going berserk.
It was the worst spring in years. Old snow and blackened ice covered the town of Vrbitza, Yugoslavia for months, and then one midnight in March of 1964, the south wind rippled the grass across the plains, carrying the scent of other worlds
Woman in a Picture Hat, Looking out into the Water
A woman was on the deck, standing too close with her bouquet of flowers, and Liv told her gently, in so many words, to get lost.
He’s relieved to find both that he remembers the shortcut and that it is actually still there. It’s been a long time since he’s last taken it, an alarmingly long time. Is it thirty years?
The Temptation of Saint Ravine
Before I moved to the house by the ravine, depressed folks would wander to the edge and stare ten stories down at a weave of Blacktail Creek so pure and flame-blue, they could practically taste the lithium content. Every spring, one or two of these pilgrims would take the ten-story plunge and break upon the rocks.
from In the Country of Absence
My love wanted a glass of water
so I pulled an old, plastic, dirty cup
[read the whole excerpt here…]
Christian Anton Gerard
Whiskey Called. She Said
her name. Christian Anton Gerard can still
taste his tongue the last time
he had her: at the walnut table,
Translated from Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Up the Mountain
I put on a sweater as soon as I can
Riding a bicycle outside, avoiding shadows
from both sides as much as possible
Translated from Chinese by Dong Li
small town, 1984
scorching summer not yet over, old locust leaves
curl in sunlight; in mother’s arms
i close my eyes, faking sleep
If it were not for the other girl running her hand
down the shoreline, breaking off
crumbs to leave behind, I’d be dragged under.
In Hungarian, the word for tomato is the same
as the one for paradise. Paradise is overabundance
It could have been a pipe, or a whistle.
I hold it with my lips
to read your latest translation
the water is joy
my love. dearest. my pain & hangman. i have no longer a home
i have no longer a language. i have not a desert, a denomination. a devil
You’re all wood and no lead.
You’re all tar and no feather.
You’re all ranger and no power.
Terrible Emmanuel, Fugitive
The house doesn’t know of the termite. The body doesn’t know its cancer until too late. The upper part of the shoe doesn’t know that the sole is wearing.
I spy with my little eye my father the spy
not looking like a spy.
In the movie the dog on Earth lives
while the dog in space stays in space.
Waiting, barking. Licking in silence
The Thing Is (The Poem Isn’t the Thing)
The thing you want to write a poem about
is probably not what the poem is about.
The Invasive Thing
In a typical poem by myself, a woman is sitting alone doing absolutely nothing.
When the law terrifies us
with its emptiness, we go looking
for stones on the earth—let’s pretend
He collapses on the floor. He’s crying from the pain.
On the telephone, on the train, there is nothing I can do.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle
Of Gods and Eels
My father and I are prone to anxiety. Our gene for patience is recessive, and we are always in a hurry. It is a corrosive hunger.
Children in ripped tee shirts play by the road. One group beats sticks against a banana tree: some kind of game? Behind them, a great valley falls away. Above them, a bird of prey swoops and rises, looking for food. If it’s a vulture, it’s searching for the dead; if it’s a hawk, the living.
C. Morgan Babst (“At the Time When Kings Go Off to War”) is a New Orleans native. Her debut novel, The Floating World, will be published in 2017. Her essays and stories have appeared in such publications as Guernica, LitHub, The Harvard Review, and The New Orleans Review.
Jennifer Bartlett (poetry) is the co-editor of Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. She is the author of three books of poetry and an op-ed writer for the New York Times. She is currently writing a biography on the poet Larry Eigner.
Jessica Cohen (translation) is a freelance translator born in England, raised in Israel, and living in Denver. She translates contemporary Israeli prose, poetry, and other creative work. Her translations include critically acclaimed writing by David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Nir Baram, Amir Gutfreund, and Dorit Rabinyan.
Jorge Comensal (“Of Gods and Eels”). His fiction and essays have appeared in a range of publications in Mexico. His first novel, Mutations, was published recently by Antílope and is a tragicomic exploration of cancer and silence. He lives in Mexico City.
Josh Dugat (poetry) was born and raised in Austin, Texas. He has taught high school science in New Orleans, worked as a ranger for Louisiana’s state parks, and served on Forest Service fire crews in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. He now lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he goes dancing with his wife, Nicole.
Erica Ehrenberg (poetry) has been a Stegner Fellow in poetry and a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems have appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies including The Paris Review, The New Republic, Guernica, Slate, and Harvard Review Online.
Jamie Fisher (“Woman in a Picture Hat, Looking out into the Water”) is a freelance writer and Chinese translator. Primarily she writes criticism for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, LARB, and Vice. She is working on a collection of short stories and a novel. She languishes in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Christian Anton Gerard (poetry) is the author of Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella and the forthcoming Holdfast. He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships. Gerard is assistant professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith.
Liran Golod (“Hedgehogs”) was born in northern Israel, near the Lebanese border. Her debut novel Earthwork was published in 2014 to critical acclaim. In recent years she has lived in New York and is currently the artistic director of Jerusalem International Writers Festival. Her next novel, Tiger 3, is forthcoming.
Chris Haven (poetry) is working on a series about Terrible Emmanuel, a cranky, fallible figure who considers himself to be the supreme being. Other Emmanuel poems have appeared in Hotel Amerika, interrupture, failbetter, Newfound, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Prize. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Steve Healey (poetry) is the author of two books of poetry, Earthling and 10 Mississippi. He lives in Saint Paul.
Tristan Hughes (“Blackthorn Winter”) was born in northern Ontario and brought up on the Welsh island of Ynys Mon. He is the author of three novels—Eye Lake, Revenant, and Send My Cold Bones Home—as well as a collection of short stories, The Tower. He is a winner of the Rhys Davies Short Story Award and is currently a senior lecturer in creative writing at Cardiff University.
Dong Li’s (translation) honors include fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, German Chancellery-Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, PEN/Heim Translation Fund, Yaddo, and elsewhere. He has poems in Kenyon Review and Conjunctions as well as translations in World Literature Today, PEN America, and others. His book-length translation of Zhu Zhu’s The Wild Great Wall as well as a trilingual anthology of American, Chinese, and German poets are both forthcoming.
Born in 1972 in Lishui, Zhejiang Province to an impoverished family, Ye Lijun (poetry) worked as a secondary school art teacher and conservator for intangible cultural heritage. The author of three poetry collections, including the latest Flower Complex, Ye has received several literary honors in China.
Elinor Mattern (poetry) Elinor Mattern teaches creative writing and has had poems and prose published in literary magazines and newspapers. She is also a visual artist, has exhibited her photographs and paintings, and speaks to groups on many aspects of creativity, culture, and communication.
Yannick Murphy (“The Prescription”) is the author of two collections of short stories and five novels.
After years of traipsing from the East Coast to the West, with stops in the middle, Hannah Oberman-Breindel (poetry) has resettled in New York City, where she was born. She lives in a tree house in Brooklyn, teaches high school English in the Bronx, and writes lines of poetry in her head while riding the subway.
Mary Ruefle (poetry) is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently Trances of the Blast. She’s also published The Most of It, a book of prose, two of her erasures (A Little White Shadow and An Incarnation of the Now), and her collected lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey (finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award). She lives in Bennington, Vermont.
Mira Rosenthal (poetry) is the author of The Local World and translator of two books by Polish poet Tomasz Różycki. Her work has received numerous awards, including an NEA fellowship, a Stegner fellowship, a PEN/Heim translation grant, and the Northern California Book Award. She is an assistant professor at Cal Poly.
Nickalus Rupert’s fiction (“The Temptation of Saint Ravine”) appears in or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Passages North, Gargoyle, The Pinch, PANK, and others. Currently, he is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he works as assistant editor for Mississippi Review.
Jason Schneiderman (poetry) is the author of Primary Source, Striking Surface, and Sublimation Point; he also edited the anthology Queer: A Reader for Writers. He received the 2015 Jerome J. Shestack Prize. He is poetry editor of the Bellevue Literary Review and associate editor at Painted Bride Quarterly.
Brian Sneeden (poetry) is the senior editor of New Poetry in Translation. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. Translations of his poems have appeared in international magazines in both Greek and Serbian. He has served as poetry editor of Meridian.
Stinne Storm (poetry) is a Danish poet and translator. In 2012 she debuted with the poetry collections Mainland and Edens. Her third book of poetry Jämtska, is forthcoming. Among her translations are writings by Agnes Martin and the letters of Edith Södergran.
Mackenzie Streissguth (poetry) is a teacher and historian from the Pacific Northwest. Having previously been a janitor, bank teller, book seller, and florist, sometimes all at once, she is quite happy to write poetry on the side, as well.
Fiona Sze-Lorrain (translation) is the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Ruined Elegance. She is also a zheng harpist and a widely published translator of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poets. She lives in Paris.
Charlotte Whittle’s essays and translations have appeared in Mantis, Guernica, Reading in Translation, the Los Angeles Times, the Northwest Review of Books, and elsewhere. Her translation of Silvia Goldman’s No-one Rises Indifferent to Sorrow was published this year. She is an editor at Cardboard House Press and lives in Brooklyn.
Daniel Wolff’s (“From Ayiti”) most recent poetry collection is The Names of Birds. His most recent non-fiction book is The Fight for Home: How (Parts of) New Orleans Came Back. These poems and prose pieces were begun while working with Jonathan Demme on the documentary film, The Agronomist. With thanks to Edwidge Danticat.
Zhu Zhu (poetry) was born in Yangzhou, China. He is a poet, critic, and curator of art exhibitions and has published numerous volumes of poetry and prose, such as Drive to Another Planet, Salt on Wilted Grass, Blue Smoke, The Trunk, Stories, Vertigo, and Grey Carnival: Chinese Contemporary Art Since 2000. Zhu’s honors include Liu Li’an and Anne Kao national poetry prizes, the French International Poetry Val-de-Marne Fellowship, Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics, and Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center.
Aggie Zivaljevic’s (“Vrbitza”) writing has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Narrative Magazine, Joyland, Crab Orchard Review, and Speakeasy. She lives in California and curates Story Is the Thing, a reading series at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park.