Looking Backward

  To celebrate a season of adjustment, TLR is looking backward and digging into its vast archive. Look here for everything old, and yet still vital, under the sun.         Vigil for Mother’s Day 2022 (May 1 … Continued

Turning Points and Revolution

Splayed before the white plastic table two hearts an orifice several ears a hue & a small cloud …And are we supposed to believe she can suddenly talk angel? Who thought this stuff up? … —from “Girls Overheard While Assembling … Continued

Hawks Do Not Share

              TABLE OF CONTENTS   Minna Zallman Proctor Editor’s Letter Inevitably, the road to clarity lies in allowing everything to get much more complicated. In the meantime, and along the way, the battle continues—messily, … Continued

Contents May Shift

All things become islands before my senses… Cesare Pavese           TABLE OF CONTENTS   Minna Zallman Proctor Editor’s Letter Today it seems absurd to say things like “the way things are,” or “these extraordinary times,” or … Continued

June 2020

This web-only series features work from the TLR archive that we think in varied ways speaks to this extraordinary moment of reckoning around systemic racism, Black Lives, and the American landscape.   TABLE OF CONTENTS   Jeffery Renard Allen Holding … Continued


No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife. —Zora Neale Hurston   TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Letter by Minna Zallman Proctor …a cluster of associations and ideas emerged from “granary”: plenitude, agriculture, resources, … Continued


The light was mocking and complicit; it shone a requiem between the girl’s stiffening hands. the boy set about writing. he dictated his memories to the airless quiet, to the ashes, to destiny’s whispering ways, this gloomy exclamation point, the … Continued

Babel Fish

TABLE OF CONTENTS   Editor’s Letter by Minna Zallman Proctor For those who aren’t familiar with Douglas Adams’s 1979 novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (originally conceived as a radio play for the BBC), a babel fish is a … Continued


  Editor’s Letter by Michael Morse It’s been a while since I’ve been in that kind of lab, but I’m still a student of composition and properties and how things are structured, even if the elements and compounds in question … Continued


EVERYTHING IS NOW TABLE OF CONTENTS When I was first in Czechoslovakia, it occurred to me that I work in a society where as a writer everything goes and nothing matters, while for the Czech writers I met in Prague, … Continued


  TABLE OF CONTENTS The chief danger about a conviction is the temptation to deny it. –Muriel Spark   Justin Taylor Editor’s Letter Here is a gallery of dreams and pictures, fictions, though some sit more easily in the genre … Continued


poetry, prose, fiction, none of it about actual uncles, and none of it about surrender on the playground…

I Live Here

  TABLE OF CONTENTS “I Live Here” We live by waters breaking out of the heart. —Anne Carson   Minna Zallman Proctor Editor’s Letter Over the past year, I found it harder and harder to think of “I live here” … Continued


TABLE OF CONTENTS The Heaven Issue Jessie Vail Aufiery Editor’s Letter For what is heaven but an antithesis to the chafing discomfort of living? What, but everything life is not? … [read the whole letter]     FICTION Jody Azzouni For … Continued

Big Blue Whale

TABLE OF CONTENTS Big Blue Whale Minna Zallman Proctor Editor’s Letter For their scope, songs, mystery and mythology, ferocity and vulnerability, whales have inspired writers from Melville to William Steig. Once you start thinking about whales, you find them (or … Continued


We stand our ground in these pages. Our writers are warriors. No fear. You run, we’ll fight. …from one end of the response spectrum, this is our FIGHT issue.


Flight brings to mind expansive images of migratory birds instinctively flapping southward and BBC camera crews filming wan, disoriented Syrian refugees debarking from inflatable rafts onto rocky Greek shores.

Street Cred

  Literature is so pathetic. We peddle fabric with a sun painted on it and no one even looks up. —Yoel Hoffman               TOC STREET CRED Editor’s Letter Minna Proctor Street Cred isn’t esoteric; … Continued

“Do You Love Me?”

TOC “DO YOU LOVE ME?”   EDITOR’S LETTER Minna Proctor The stories and poems collected here are largely about perspective, specifically the shifting perspectives of age. …read the whole letter here COVER ARTIST’S STATEMENT Gillian Laub I have been photographing … Continued

John Le Carré

Intelligence has one moral law – it is justified by results. – “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”   EDITOR’S NOTE Minna Proctor After a briefly too-long period of agonizing over the matter, I’ve concluded that it’s impossible … Continued

Women’s Studies

It’s times to mix up the conversation. We check in on the state of serious thinking about women and feminism—through our literary gaze. Featuring new work from: Paula Bomer, Kelly Cherry, Priscilla Becker, Brenda Shaughnessy, Anna Swir, and Alejandra Pizarnik

The Glutton’s Kitchen

THE GLUTTON’S KITCHEN: In which we decipher the psychology of eating too much, starving, lusting, indulging, restraining, famine, and feast. Tasty new work by Natalie Eilbert, Allison Gruber, Alex Lemon, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Robert Lopez and Katrin Tschirgi.

Game Theory

GAME THEORY: We subject literary values to the rigorous speculation of the science of game theory and discover that literature and game theory are both strategic and wonderfully random. New work by Bin Ramke, Lynn Potts, Jay Hopler, John Gallaher, and many more.

The Tides

Because literature mimics the symmetry of nature, and because nature couldn’t care less. This is our eddy, our tiny human biosphere: birth, death, marriage, madness, and the seismic legacy of Virginia Woolf. Featuring new work from: Christine Schutt, Mass Rasmussen, Molly Jean Reid, John Kinsella, Diane Mehta, Clay Matthews

Artificial Intelligence

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Nothing that matters is new or fake. Nothing can’t be controlled with a joystick. Buttons are original thought. Peripherals are unpredictable. Synapses are mythic, like the words we live by. New poetry from Okla Elliott, Charles Simic, Mark Bibbens, Maggie MK Hess. New fiction by Carlos Labbe, James Hannah, John McManus, Jesse Goolsby, Carol LaHines.

Cry Baby

Cry baby is the issue in which we consider whether loneliness is bad, and whether love hurts, and when expectations are crushed, and why happy endings always lead to tears. New fiction by James Hanna, Carrie Messenger, Jodi Azzouni, Ranbir Singh Sighu. New poetry by Kathleen Ossip, Mark Wunderlich, Eamon Grennan, Daniil Kharms, Dan Gutstein, Cynthia Cruz. And a literary dispatch from the war with a cameo by Mr. Roboto.


Are you in or are you out? Literature has room for you all. New poetry from Aleš Debeljak, Farrah Field, Erin Belieu, and Jennifer Kronovet, New fiction from: David Thomas, Giulio Mozzi, Matthew Vollmer, Sejal Shah. With new translations from the original lyric scenesters: Pablo Neruda and Federico Garccia Lorca.

Invisible Cities

INVISIBLE CITIES We explore the architecture, landscapes, new horizons of art. With new work by John Kinsella, Eric Barnes, Stephen O’Connor, Collier Nogues, Benjamin Sutton, Erica Anzalone, Geoffrey Nutter, Rachel Zucker

Loss Control

CONTROLLED baking temperatures, scientific experiments, hydroponics, test scores, dosage, serial commas, electrical current, quality. UNCONTROLLABLE puberty, democracy, God, sarcasm, addictions, balding, verb tense, large spills. OUT OF CONTROL feelings, language, nature, loss… New fiction from: Percival Everett, Ben Stroud, Christine Sneed… New poetry from: Alex Dimitrov, Donald Revell, Stephen Burt, Laura Kasischke, Will Schutt.

The Long Issue

THE LONG ISSUE. Join us as we indulge an entirely different pace… We let these words linger and mature, blossom and echo. Novellas and long poems from Kirstin Allio, Jesse Ball, Paula Bomer, H.L. Hix, and Joshua Weiner

Encyclopedia Britannica

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA Where do you get your information? These fairy tales are 100 percent factual. Our verse has been verified. Our scribes fly. Our poets buried the grail. Big words have many syllables. Small words are perfectly calibrated. Everything is made up here except what’s true or seems to be so. New work from Mary Jo Bang, Osama Alomar, Albert Goldbarth, Polina Barskova, Ales Steger, Renee Ashley, Martha Witt, Christian Barter, Michael Bazzett

The Lives of the Saints

Top ten martyrs. Brain voices: enlightenment or ailment? Beast beatification app. French horn playing birds survive stray cats. Killer horses! Collection agents lose faith. And then there’s Billy, “that suds-bustin, crackpot, stinks-like-a-righteous-oath, pig-eyed god.” No verifiable miracles here, but we’ll eat your kisses. New work from: Sherman Alexie, Eric Barnes, Danielle Blau, D. Foy, Derek Henderson, Chistian Nagle, Molly Reid, Adam Wilson.

The Rat’s Nest

THE RAT’S NEST: This issue is dedicated to the challenges of collaboration. Sharing. Cooperating. Everything that is basically antithetical to writing and reading. Featuring new work by Priscilla Becker, Craig Morgan Teicher, Fani Papageorgiou, Chris Tarry. With conversations between Zachary Lazar and Dana Spiotta, and Alex Stein and Yahia Lababidi.

Emo, Meet Hole

Emo, Meet Hole: It’s not just a style, niche, or subculture. It’s a vision, a music, a way of life. It’s brain patterning. It’s transcendence. Featuring new work by Christine Sneed, Cam Terwilliger, Michael Morse, Kristina Marie Darling, Michael Homolka, Alex Lemon, John Kinsella.

The Rogue Idea

THE ROGUE IDEA flickers at the periphery of its custodian’s reach. Outlaw or fool? Bold genius, dreadful distraction, extraneous as neon blue? It’s a gamble for sure, a tumble off the pendulum, that shadowy promise of what? Come with us. Take a leap. Follow this uncharted trail. It may be your only, your last, chance. New poetry from Peter Shipper, William Zander, Steven Heighton, Geoffrey Nutter. New prose fiction from Yoram Kaniuk, Joyce Hinnefeld, Christopher Sorrentino, Jesse Goolsby. And Alex Stein interviews H.L. Hix.

Refrigerator Mothers

REFRIGERATOR MOTHER’S “Just happening to defrost enough to produce a child” …and other things we said that we wish we could take back. New work by Kelli Russell Agodon, Jessie Van Eerden, Matt Bell, Rebecca Wolff. Conversation on mothers and literature between Ceridwen Morris and Jenny Offill

The Worst Team Money Could Buy

THE WORST TEAM MONEY COULD BUY Features dreadful tales of hapless efforts, vexed ambitions, and impossible odds. Prosthetic legs, hot wings, spontaneous combustion, doppelgängers, spam, incest, the economy, aphorisms, ESPN, and an albatross. New poetry by James Richardson, Benjamin Paloff, Eamonn Grennan. New work from Lina Meruane, M. Eileen Cronin, R.A. Allen, and Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis.

How To Read Music

HOW TO READ MUSIC: Because the universe doesn’t always arrange itself in equal measures. New work from: Alex Abramovich, Marco Candida, Rachel Swearingen, Kelly Luce, Percival Everett, Kelly Cherry, James Richardson, A.P. Sullivan, Judy Rowe Michaels.

Machismo: A Field Guide

Steve Davenport’s drunken sestinas. Duff Brenna’s sodden marriage. Lance Olsen’s murderous toddlers. R.A. Villanueva unseats the father. THIS IS MACHISMO: A FIELD GUIDE. Adam Haslett admits he’s a teacup. And Zachary Lazar ruminates on satire, turkey wraps, and Sam Lipsyte.


The THERAPY! Issue: We promise, it won’t cure you. Featuring new work by Bruce Cohen, Mary Rose O’Reilley, Ersi Sotiropoulos, Chris Gavaler, Per Kocan, Renée Ashley, and a conversation between H.L. Hix and Frank Bidart

Manifest Destiny

MANIFEST DESTINY Politics, culture, self-invention, the determined combination of will and imagination, brute force, gale force, war, the inevitable, hybridity, plowing forward, skipping past, ideology, territory, visionary, guns, saints, a twitching heart. Featuring work by Kelly Cherry, R. A. Allen, Michiah Bay Gault, R. G. Evans, Nina Berberova, Erica MacAlpine.

50th Anniversary Issue

TABLE OF CONTENTS 50th Anniversary Issue   Walter Cummins Editor’s Letter  It may seem contradictory that an international journal of contemporary writing culminates its 50th anniversary year with an issue focusing on New Jersey. But consider it an homage to … Continued