Intelligence has one moral law – it is justified by results.
– “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”
After a briefly too-long period of agonizing over the matter, I’ve concluded that it’s impossible to artistically justify why we, at TLR, wanted to do a John le Carré issue, and nearly impossible to summarize how the magazine you’re reading is one. It all essentially comes down to the negligibly significant point that I happen to love reading John le Carré novels. They’re the literary equivalent of a great heist movie—sophisticated, set in the real world, overpopulated with anti-heroes who live or die by the puzzle. The intrigue, the treachery, the politics, the drinking and smoking, exotic locations, rambling plots, the spies, the double agents . . . none of which show up that often in literary magazines.
Obviously a literary magazine is an entirely different sort of project than a John le Carré novel, and one of the primary objectives of our project is to gather writers who specifically don’t sound like other writers. Which is to say that the farthest thing from our minds would be to publish a bunch of stories and poems that read just like John le Carré books. So to put this issue together we instead immersed ourselves in his sensibility and its component parts. We found plot-driven poems, narrators who are broken and gone dark, Eastern European cities, stories of betrayal, and many, many literary permutations of the double agent.
In other words, this issue is our tribute to a paragon and a different kind of genre-bending experiment.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
For Your Audience’s Consideration
The Several Ends of M. Aubert
The Rise and Rise and Rise of Thomas Sargis
It Takes All Kinds
The Perk Zone
A Week of Abalone
The Imaginary Widow
Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Vall de Núria
Prelude to Assassin
For the Mother of a Brother
Maya Catherine Popa
The Color Wheel Has Been Suspended
Love in the Age of Assange
Kimberly Ann Southwick
Near sonnet for my hometown
Lessons in Humility
Rings Inside Trees Are Counting
Computer Error vs. Alice in Chains
Our Solar System
Marosa di Giorgio
Excerpts from Magnolia
Excerpt from The War of the Orchards
Translated by Jeannine Marie Pitas
The Bawdyhouse for Beggars
Translated by Edward Gauvin
The Dark Twin
Translated by George Henson
COVER IMAGE: Klaus Nigge / National Geographic Creative (Philippine Eagle, 2008.)
Jennifer Acker is editor-in-chief of The Common. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have been published in n+1, Guernica, Slate, Harper’s, Ploughshares, and The Millions, among other places. She teaches at Amherst College.
Brandon Barrett (“For Your Audience’s Consideration”) is a practicing cardiologist, originally from Oregon and now living in Virginia with his wife and son.
Jean-Paul Clébert (1926–2011) was the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction. After joining the French Resistance and traveling Asia he frequented the Surrealist and Situationist movements, as well as reporting from Asia for Paris Match and France Soir. Prominent works include The Blockhouse and Les Tziganes. His later works were dedicated to the history, nature, and culture of Provence, where he spent his final years.
Marosa di Giorgio (1932–2014) was an acclaimed Uruguayan poet and fiction writer. Considered one of Latin America’s most unusual writers, her work draws on childhood memories to create a landscape that is both beautiful and terrifying.
Tamas Dobozy is an English professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has published three books of short fiction: When X Equals Marylou, Last Notes and Other Stories, and Siege 13: Stories, which won the 2012 Rogers Writers Trust of Canada Fiction Prize. He has published over fifty short stories in journals such as One Story, Fiction, Agni, and Granta, and won an O. Henry Prize in 2011. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
Bruce Ducker’s poems and stories appear in The New Republic, the Yale, Southern, Sewanee, Missouri, and Hudson reviews, Shenandoah, Pen/American Journal, Ascent, and Poetry Magazine. He lives in Colorado and is finishing his ninth novel.
Edward Gauvin has won the John Dryden Translation Prize and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award. Other publications have appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, Subtropics, and World Literature Today. The translator of over 200 graphic novels, he is a contributing editor for comics at Words Without Borders.
Karl Harshbarger is an American writer living in Germany who has had over 90 publications of his stories in the Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, the New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. He has two “Distinguished Stories” in Best American Short Stories and thirteen Pushcart Prize nominations.
George Henson is a senior lecturer of Spanish at the University of Texas at Dallas. His translations have appeared previously in World Literature Today, and he has also published translations of Elena Poniatowska’s The Heart of the Artichoke and Luis Jorge Boone’s The Cannibal Night.
Michael Homolka’s poems have appeared recently in publications such as Antioch Review, Boulevard, The New Yorker, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Ploughshares, and the Threepenny Review. He grew up in Los Angeles and lives in New York City.
Susan Land’s recent fiction appears in Nimrod, Bethesda Magazine, and the Bellevue Review. TLR published one her first short stories, “Old Glass-New Glass,” many moons ago.
Scott Marengo is a writer and urban farmer living in San Francisco. Winner of the Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry, his poems and stories have appeared in numerous journals including Boston Review, Tampa Review, and Confrontation. He’s currently at work on his first novel.
Christopher Munde’s poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Massachusetts Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He is an Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, and was recently a finalist for the Robert Dana Prize. He lives and teaches in Jamestown, NY.
Andrew Nance’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Better, Colorado Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Narrative, The Volta, The Winter Anthology, and elsewhere. He is the editor of Company and currently lives in Athens, GA.
Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of two books of poetry: Heaven and The Ground. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and the GLCA New Writer’s Award for Poetry. He lives in New York City.
Jeannine Marie Pitas is a Toronto-based poet and translator. In 2006 she traveled to Uruguay on a Fulbright to translate Marosa di Giorgio’s The History of Violets, and she has been hooked on this astonishing writer’s work ever since.
Sergio Pitol is one of the leading Mexican writers of his generation. The recipient of the Cervantes and Heralde prizes, he is the author of over two dozen books and a member of the Mexican Academy of Language. He is also one of the Spanish language’s most accomplished translators, having brought into Spanish works by Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad, Lewis Carroll, Henry James, and Witold Gombrowicz.
Maya Catherine Popa has been published in Tin House, Kenyon Review, Poetry London, DIAGRAM, PN Review, and Narrative. She was the Editorial Raab Fellow at Poets & Writers for 2013–2014, and literary editor of All Hollow Magazine.
Ben Purkert’s poems appear in AGNI, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Fence, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. He is the founder of CityShelf, an initiative to support indie bookstores.
Christa Romanosky teaches poetry at a high school for the creative and performing arts in Pittsburgh, PA. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, EPOCH magazine, Crazyhorse, North American Review, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere.
Anjali Sachdeva loves all things weird and mysterious. When she is not writing she is teaching or hiking or thinking about how she should be writing more. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and daughter.
Kimberly Ann Southwick is the founder and editor in chief of the biannual print literary arts journal Gigantic Sequins. Her poetry chapbook efs & vees will be out summer 2015. She currently lives in Philadelphia.
Laura Spagnoli is the author of the chapbook My Dazzledent Days. Her poems have appeared recently in Bedfellows, Trinity Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly, and her story “A Cut Above” was published in Philadelphia Noir. She lives in Philadelphia and teaches French at Temple University.
J.R. Toriseva is a winner of the Mary Merritt Henry Prize in Poetry, and her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the Cincinnati Review, Descant, Nimrod, the Adirondack Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal.
Tim Waldron lives in New Jersey with his wife, their dog, and a daughter that has yet to be named. His work has appeared in the Atticus Review, the McNeese Review, The Serving House Book of Infidelity, Dogzplot, Necessary Fiction, Sententia, Monkeybicycle, What’s Your Exit?, and The Word Riot Reader. He’s a fiction editor with Best New Writing and the author of the short story collection World Takes.
Joshua Willey was born in Oakland, CA and lives in Bend, OR. He’s currently translating some contemporary Chinese poetry and working on a collection of fiction and photography.