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 visions, the apathy.
—Fleur Jaeggy, These Possible Lives
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editor’s Letter by Minna Zallman Proctor
We are living a feverish moment. Politics are heated to the point of being carnivalesque. The planet is overheated and threatens to extinguish. Tempers are high, mores are in a freefall of correction.
A Hint to Plotinus
… like the saints whom we’ve refused,
She comprehends the inward of breath
Dag T. Straumsvåg, translated from Norwegian by Robert Hedin and Dag T. Straumsvåg
Digging for Icicles
I’m prisoner 1964, my birth year. My cell number is the same as my phone number…
(My) American Journal
(My) American journal catalogue of grievances and valentines
condolence archive store of sudden joy my continuum
Mónica de la Torre
Unlike nostos, algo is unspecified.
nunca sé por dónde empezar, así que decido hacerlo al comerme una fresa
incontable la cantidad de semillas
can you say I’m of two minds? …
Dmitri A. Prigov, translated from Russian by Simon Schuchat
If you take two tables and put them together, and put a chair on top of them, you get a throne.
If you take the throne, flip the tables onto one side, and put a chair behind them, you get a machine-gun nest.
Click Here To Resist
is my ex-wife’s birthday a door
closed like so many doors I think
Poem Excluding Cancer
New Yorkers snack through their
denouements. And there’s always
been a businesslike quality to the air….
Making out inside a Richard Serra
Strikes me as the right way to take in art…
Timothy B. Dodd
A pilot’s hat doesn’t help one fly.
Gripping the rake doesn’t constitute farming.
Giovanni Pascoli, translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock
There’s something new under the sun today,
or perhaps ancient: I live here, but feel
violets around me sprouting far away.
Hatched from the wet egg of a sculptor’s eye
a quarter century ago, it grips
its squat stump, …
What do I know, but a fugue of pleasures and failures that evaporate, come morning? What do I know, but trouble left glistening?
Jasmine Dreame Wagner
Assault with Butterflies
1. on a plate
2. in the café
3. a snow globe statuette
C. Dylan Bassett
The power’s down.
It’s been going down
since the downpayment
Says the River to Her Patriarchy
The Name Game
We play this cloak-and-dagger
called don’t speak his name.
People move there for the space, or not at all.
Through green and umber wheeling, going stiff
Adam O. Davis
If you were you, you would be yourself by now,
myopic & blonde, patriotic as ozone yet pitiful
Showering During a Lightning Storm
Last night I felt the thunder in the bathtub
floor, March’s anxious quivering, myth
The Husband & I stand next to each other: not speaking, sometimes speaking…
No Aerial Experience Required
Everything she owned fit into a yellow cab. A year living on Avenue B and all she’d accumulated were calluses from barefoot turns, the bottom of each toe hardened and ridged like the edge of an almond…
We shop like days of yore, until all the fabrics and styles we pick out appear in piles at the register. When we were left at home as children, our mother did this same kind of wild shopping and had boxes of merchandise sent back…
That morning Pearl’s mother, Wen Hua, told her that visitors were coming to the house and ordered her to wear one of the playsuits she’d bought Pearl for their trip. Pearl’s normal attire was a rock band tee shirt, and cut off jean shorts…
Özlem Özgül Dündar, translated from German by Mónica Cristina Muñiz Pedrogo
yes it’s awful how she jumped out of the window with the child in her arms and then you try to imagine try it go on try to imagine i try to simply imagine it after all it’s always being described in the news media and you try to imagine how the mother jumped out of the window with her small child…
I wore a red bow tie. A rented blazer. I gripped peppermint Binaca tight in my fist like a talisman and spritzed whenever a girl came within twenty feet. Life started at thirteen in the basement of the Revere Jewish Community Center on a duct-taped foul line on the parquet floor.
Pickett Moon and the Mystery of Ants
Pickett Moon was fatty. He was not a fatty. He was not fat. Rather, he was somewhat greasy, and somewhat blubbery, and he was bloated most of the time.
Savor and Sip
Phil the mailman came down the front path. It was the first week after the anthrax scare and we were about to bond. All this happened more than a decade ago.
Two angels on the thread of summer drink a bottle of cheap Chianti at the highest point of a famous scarlet bridge. They’ve known each other practically their whole lives, since before they were angels…
We Will Cleanse Our Wounds with the Blood of Liars
Noelle was cold-cocked by a homeless guy on the subway. She called me after the cops drove her home. Nothing was broken. Some other passengers restrained the man who assaulted her until the cops came.
Mandy was forty when her husband left her. Their child had died the previous year, and he said that he was tired of caring for Mandy in her grief. The husband said, “There comes a time when we all need to take care of ourselves….”
Michel Vachey, translated from French by S.C. Delaney and Agnès Potier
First it was two false incisors falling on his plate. In the past he might have laughed…
Matthew H. Nagel
My roommate, Andy Steve, calls our place a bungalow. He has these runt arms and a perverted disposition. He spouts doom questions, weird cosmic riddles.
Summer always brought more people to touch the Lucky Girl. The line curled around the church and stretched into the parking lot an hour before we’d open the doors.
During our trip to Ghana when I was seven, my father took my sister and me to the stool house of the Oyoko clan—my father’s clan—on the outskirts of the Ashanti capital, Kumasi. The trip coincided with the Harmattan—the dry season during which a dusty wind blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa…
Jeannine M. Pitas
There are aliens living on top of Toronto’s CN Tower. They are attempting to send you a message. They want to spy on earthlings before they make their final invasion and start a full-out war…
I was eighteen when I heard the expression “a former life” in a context that wasn’t about reincarnation. My teacher at the time, Peggy Rambach, spoke it offhandedly in the course of running a class.
William Zander, 1938–2019
Bill was unique, unlike any other friend I ever had; multiply talented, consistently witty, frequently zany, with a distinct way of speaking that matched the meter of his poetry.
One Foot in the Grave
Dragging it around
like a bear trap,
limping with an ugly,
C. Dylan Bassett’s translation, A Failed Performance: Short Plays & Scenes by Daniil Kharms was published in 2018. He’s a PhD student in creative writing at UC Santa Cruz.
Geoffrey Brock has new poems out in the Yale Review, Copper Nickel, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas.
Tina Cane serves as the poet laureate of Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband and their three children. She is also the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI and is an instructor with the writing community Frequency Providence. Her poems and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including Two Serious Ladies, Tupelo Quarterly, Jubilat, and The Common. She also produces, with Atticus Allen,the podcast Poetry Dose. Cane is the author of The Fifth Thought, Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante, poems with art by Esther Solondz, Once More With Feeling, and most recently, Body of Work.
John Cotter’s work has appeared, or will soon, in Guernica, Electric Literature, Raritan, Catapult, The Indiana Review, and Georgia Review. He is the author of the novella Under the Small Lights. He lives in Denver, where he teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.
Walter Cummins has published seven short story collections—among them Witness, Where We Live, and Local Music. His essay collections are Death Cancer Madness Meaning and Knowing Writers. More than 100 of his stories, memoirs, essays, and reviews, have appeared in magazines such as New Letters, Virginia Quarterly Review, Arts & Letters, West Branch, in book collections, and on the web. With Thomas E. Kennedy he cofounded Serving House Books, an outlet for novels, memoirs, and story, poetry, and essay collections. He currently teaches in the MFA in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. For more than twenty years, he was editor-in-chief of The Literary Review.
Adam O. Davis’ work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, The Laurel Review, and West Branch. He was the recipient of the 2016 George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and recently won the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize from Sarabande. He lives in San Diego.
Mónica de la Torre works with and between languages. Her most recent poetry book is The Happy End/All Welcome, a riff on the art installation The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s America, itself a riff on Kafka’s unfinished Amerika. It was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, which also put out her translation of Defense of the Idol by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres. She was born and raised in Mexico City and lives in New York City. A contributing editor to BOMB Magazine, she writes about art and frequently collaborates with artists. New work appears in Big Big Wednesday and A Public Space.
S.C. Delaney has translated, with Agnès Potier, Tony Duvert’s prose collections Odd Jobs and District. His work has been featured in, among other places, Black Sun Lit, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Paris Review: The Daily.
Timothy B. Dodd is from Mink Shoals, West Virginia. His poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Broad River Review, Ellipsis, and elsewhere; his prose in Yemassee, Coe Review, and Anthology of Appalachian Writers, among others. He is also an oil painter.
Özlem Özgül Dündar lives and works in Leipzig as an author and translator. She writes poetry, plays, and prose. Her first collection of poems, gedanken zerren (dragging thoughts), was published in 2018. She won the Kelag Prize in Klagenfurt and the Rolf-Dieter-Brinkmann Scholarship 2018. “turks/fire” is an excerpt from a novel of the same name.
Noah Falck is the author of Snowmen Losing Weight and Exclusions. He lives in Buffalo.
Sarah Jean Grimm is the author of Soft Focus and a founding editor of Powder Keg Magazine. She edits the small press After Hours Editions, and hosts Bank Holiday, a reading series in Catskill, NY. She lives in New York City, where she works as Publicity Manager at Catapult, Soft Skull, & Counterpoint Press.
Robert Hedin is the author, translator, and editor of two dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently At the Great Door of Morning: Selected Poems and Translations and The Dream We Carry: Selected and Last Poems of Olav H. Hauge (co-translated with Robert Bly). He lives in Frontenac, Minnesota.
Adalena Kavanagh is a writer and photographer in Brooklyn. She has published writing in Electric Literature and has work forthcoming in The Believer. Adalena’s photography has been exhibited at Asian Arts Initiative. In 2018 she was a NYFA Fiction Fellowship Finalist, and she recently completed her first novel.
Maggie Millner is a poet from rural upstate New York. Her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Gulf Coast, and Narrative, and she works in the writing program at Rutgers University.
A Minnesota native, Matthew H. Nagel is currently working on a PhD in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi. His work has appeared in Whitefish Review.
Mackenzie Nordahl is a fiction writer and substitute teacher who enjoys exploring themes of identity and isolation in her works. Nordahl lives in the Central Valley of California. This is her first publication.
Nadia Owusu is a Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner. Her first book, Aftershocks, will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2020. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her writing has appeared, among other places, in the New York Times, Catapult, and Electric Literature.
Giovanni Pascoli (1855–1912) survived a famously tragic childhood, including his father’s unsolved murder, to become arguably the best Italian poet writing at the dawn of the twentieth century. “The Kite” dates from 1897 and remains one of his most popular poems; it was the inspiration for Seamus Heaney’s poem “A Kite for Aibhín.”
Mónica Cristina Muñiz Pedrogo is a Puerto Rican fiction writer and translator who has published several stories in [IN]Genios, Our Word Zine, and elsewhere. She was granted the Margaret Nance Award at the University of Puerto Rico and was nominated for the Henfield Prize at Columbia University.
Maura Pellettieri is a poet, art writer, and hybridist. Their writing appears (or will) in The Kenyon Review, Denver Quarterly, Newfound, Fairy Tale Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Guernica, Apogee, Tammy Journal, and elsewhere. They live in California.
Jeannine M. Pitas is the author of the poetry collection Things Seen and Unseen and the author of several Southern Cone poems. Her latest translation, Echo of the Park by Romina Freschi, was just published. She lives in Iowa and teaches at the University of Dubuque.
Agnès Potier was born and raised in Paris and now lives in the Pyrenées. She is currently translating, with S.C. Delaney, the uncollected and unpublished texts of Michel Vachey, some of which may be found in Vestiges, Asymptote Journal, and Kenyon Review Online.
Dmitri A. Prigov (1940–2007) was born in Moscow. Trained as a sculptor at the Stroganov Institute, he worked as an architect during the Soviet era. A founder of the Moscow Conceptual Art School, he wrote in almost all conceivable genres, was an active performance artist, produced videos, and, as a visual artist, created drawings and installations. He was eventually recognized as one of the most important literary figures of the late Soviet and early post-Soviet eras. In 2019, Ugly Duckling Presse will publish his selected writings, translated by Simon Schuchat.
Donald Revell’s most recent collection of poetry, The English Boat, was published in May 2018.
Ken Rumble is the author of the poetry collection Key Bridge and is currently working on a novel called The Accountant. He teaches classes on intuitive writing in Durham.
Carey Salerno is the executive editor and director of Alice James Books. She is also the author of Shelter and co-editor of Lit From Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books. You may find her poems—and articles and interviews regarding her other professional work—in print and online.
Simon Schuchat worked on U.S.-Russian affairs at the State Department in Washington and the US Embassy in Moscow. His poetry can be found in several rare books and anthologies, edited by the likes of Richard Hell, Michael Lally, and Andrei Codrescu, as well as in more recent journals including The Recluse and The Brooklyn Rail.
Pete Segall lives in Chicago. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, SmokeLong Quarterly, Necessary Fiction, and other journals. He has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Charlie Sterchi’s work has appeared in Subtropics, The Southampton Review, The Mondegreen, and elsewhere. He lives in Nashville.
Dag T. Straumsvåg was born in 1964 and raised along the sparsely populated coastline of western Norway. He is the author of three books of poetry. A respected translator of contemporary American poetry, he has been employed as a farmhand, librarian, and at a local radio station in Trondheim, where he has lived since 1984.
Terese Svoboda has published eighteen books of fiction, poetry, memoir, biography, and a book of translation from Nuer. Great American Desert, her second book of stories, appeared in March.
Michelle Turner lives in Fort Collins, CO. Her poems have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Adroit Journal, Slice, and elsewhere.
Elizabeth Urschel was born in Texas and has lived in Colorado, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New York. She resides with her family in Missoula, where she practices clinical social work. This is her first published work of fiction.
Michel Vachey (1939–87) was an experimental French artist and author. He was a founder of the Textruction movement, which sought to blur the line between image and text, and his writing likewise probes expectations of genre. His work includes poetry, novels, collages, and hybrid story-essays.
Jasmine Dreame Wagner is the author of On a Clear Day. Her work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, BOMB, Fence, Guernica, and Hyperallergic. The recipient of fellowships and residencies from Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Marble House Project, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Wagner lives and works in New York.
L.A. Weeks grew up on Virginia’s coastal plain and spent twelve years on the lower Mississippi, where she owned and operated a bookstore. She now lives near the Cape Fear River. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review Online, Colorado Review, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere.
Ani Weinstein was born in the North Country and lives in Brooklyn. This is her first publication.
Jonathan Wilson is the author of eight books including the novel A Palestine Affair, a biography of Marc Chagall, and most recently Kick and Run: Memoir with Soccer Ball. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, AGNI, Ploughshares, and Best American Short Stories, among other publications. His fiction has been translated into many languages.
Spencer Wise is the author of the novel The Emperor of Shoes. His work has appeared in journals such as Narrative, The Cincinnati Review, The Florida Review, and New Ohio Review. He has been awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction and a Vermont Studio Center fellowship. Wise is an assistant professor in creative writing at Augusta University.
William Zander (1938–2019) published poetry in many periodicals including Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazy Horse, New Letters, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Rattapallax, South Dakota Review, and Yankee. His books of poems are Distances and Gone Haywire and Other Old Sayings. He was a professor of English and journalism at Fairleigh Dickinson University; a part-time reporter, features writer, and editor for the New Jersey Herald; and a longtime contributing editor at The Literary Review.
Rachel Zucker is the author of ten books, including the forthcoming SoundMachine. She is the founder and host of the podcast Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People), an adjunct professor at NYU, creator of a new audio project also called SoundMachine, and mother to three sons. Her work also appears in TLR: INVISIBLE CITIES