the battle isn't lost yet


Vol.60 Issue 01
Cover Artist: Chris Steele-Perkins
Cover of TLR's "Uncle" issue

Forgive me but I’m going to keep talking about me who am unknown to myself, and as I write I’m a bit surprised because I discover I have a destiny. Who hasn’t ever wondered: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person.
—Clarice Lispector




Minna Zallman Proctor
Editor’s Letter

I haven’t been in much of a surrendering mood lately, though I’m sure that I thought of surrender as an intriguing and plausible emotion when we first settled on the theme of Uncle for this issue… [read more here]




Meiko Ko
A Question of Worth

By the end of August, when I saw how the guys fucked it up, I thought it was time to leave. We were all born in this camp, right, it’s called the Nation, it’s really small…

Fleur Jaeggy
Translated from Italian by Gini Alhadeff
The Heir

Hannelore, a girl without a fixed residence, is the only witness to a fire in the apartment of Fraulein von Oelix. A modest, gray afternoon. Vitreous.

Wah-Ming Chang
The Key to the Orphanage

By morning the town of Mule City would be flooded. The children of the orphanage had decided they would stay behind. They had no one to come for them, and knew they wouldn’t survive if separated…

Julia Butschkow
Translated from Danish by Peter Sean Woltemade
Honeymoon in Berlin

I have no idea why Christian absolutely wanted to spend our honeymoon in Berlin…

Taylor Lannamann
God of Nothing

“Well, today might be a good one,” she said. She said a meeting with Boss after three years can only mean promotion. I thought, Promotion to what? But she was already frying eggs and humming to herself, her ratty pink bathrobe dragging across the dirty kitchen floor…

Daniel Presley
The Last Joke

Deep in the night I hear the kid interviewing himself: “Jokes have made me who I am, historical forces notwithstanding. A good joke shapes the comedian, honors him or her…

Kevin Maloney
Horse Girl Fever

Poor Horse Girl. She was cross-eyed and flunking the fourth grade because she couldn’t stop drawing horses, big beautiful stallions that galloped across her math homework and into her English compositions…

Nathan Alling Long
A Stick and a Stone

When I saw him standing six foot six in the sunlight glare of the Texarkana Greyhound station, I thought, That must be how other people see me, so tall…

Frederik Willem Daem
Translated from Dutch by Jenny Watson
Over the Cliff

The first words I try to understand in Paris belong to an estate agent in a too-tight pinstriped suit. He sighs, trying to disguise the strain of the six flights of stairs we’ve just climbed…

Jess Arndt
Been a Storm

I must have been staring. I’d recently turned a bend in my life where staring was okay, unobjectionable. On subways, for instance. I no longer pretended not to look…

Karen Wunsch
Little Ghost Face

While Anita was waiting for the light to change, she noticed a familiar-looking man standing next to her. Thin, with dark hair and what looked like a deliberate five o’clock shadow, he had a big camera around his neck..




Wayne Miller
CNN Dialogue
Song from the Back of the House
The Rapture: A Sermon

We, the elect,
will be lifted

into the purity of our politics,
lifted like smoke

Bruce Bond
The Octaves

The song called “Lonely Woman” has no woman in it.
No song. No loneliness as pure as we imagine.

Sally Ball
Invitation if I Can Remember How
Rapid Naming

So: pace matters, the pace at which we see
and situate: the prefix, yes, and even before that—

Kirsten Andersen
The Score
The Big East
My Father’s Second Wife
[read the whole poem]

Drinking egg creams, eating malt balls,
she was solid Swedish stock—an athlete
for the ages with a steak in her mouth…

Idea Vilariño
Translated from Spanish by Jesse Lee Kercheval
Letter I
The Mirror
[read the whole poem]

Leave leave me to do it she says
and when she leans down
when she goes to drown her face gently…

Katherine Willingham
Laying Groundwork
Self-Portrait with Moving Truck

One year into the twentieth century, eight orchid hunters
  landed on the shores of the Philippines intent on wresting orchids
from their marshy homes. As soon as I could talk, I wanted…

Kaveh Akbar
Everything That Moves Is Alive and a Threat—A Reminder

Everything that moves is alive and a threat—a reminder
to be as still as possible. Devastation occurs

whether we’re paying attention or not…

Michael Judge
The Grace of the Stars

I guess I must have known you’d died
but forgot somewhere along the way…

Henry Israeli
Election 2016

Sound the trumpets. Let the foxes
run loose through the neighborhood…

Clay Cantrell
Here I Taste the Husk of Highway 79
Final Cutoff Notice
[read the whole poem]

When my father broke parole and went back to prison, my face widened
with red pimples of hearsay. For hours, I leaned on the refrigerator door,
tasting rotten food…

Translated by H. L. Hix
From the Carmina Burana: 120A; 121A; 183A; 184

A certain girl, innocent,
gathered twigs from the thicket…




Josip Novakovich
Café Sarajevo

In the Balkans, nothing vanishes completely…

Josefine Klougart
Translated from Danish by Alexander Weinstein
The Rushes

Dawn spreads itself without conscience over the morning, which, in turn, disappears almost entirely, becomes a thin film at the bottom of a pot, is cooked dry over the kitchen flames, again. The morning with that sun, which is morning light, stretches across the bed…

Rachel Hurn
White Water

I am attracted to people, men and women, who remind me of myself. Like, tall and thin. It’s funny how there is very much a type. And often I am also their type…




Kaveh Akbar (poetry) is the founding editor of Divedapper. His work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. His full-length debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is forthcoming from Alice James Books. A recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives and teaches in Florida.

The author of The Sun at Midday and Diary of a Djinn, Gini Alhadeff (translation, “The Heir”) has translated Patrizia Cavalli’s My Poems Won’t Change the World, in addition to Fleur Jaeggy’s new story collection, I Am the Brother of XX.

Kirsten Andersen’s poems have appeared in The Believer, Tin House, Alaska Quarterly Review, Canteen Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a former Wallace Stegner fellow and a recipient of a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her 2016 chapbook Family Court was published by Q Ave Press.

Jess Arndt (“Been a Storm”) was a 2013 Graywolf SLS Fellow and 2010 Fiction Fellow at the New York Foundation of the Arts. Her writing has appeared in Fence, Bomb, Aufgabe, Parkett, and Night Papers, and in her manifesto for The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual world tour. She is a co-founder of New Herring Press, dedicated to publishing prose and polemics. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Sally Ball (poetry) is the author of two poetry collections: Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis. She lives in Phoenix, teaches at Arizona State University, and is an associate director of Four Way Books.

Bruce Bond (poetry) is the author of seventeen books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand, Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize), and Gold Bee (Crab Orchard Award). Four new books are forthcoming.

Julia Butschkow (“Honeymoon in Berlin”) published her first book, a volume of poetry, in 1997. She has since published three novels, two volumes of short stories, and a play. She is the author of “Requiem,” a short story commissioned by the National Gallery of Denmark. She lives in Copenhagen.

Clay Cantrell (poetry) is from Tennessee and lives and writes in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He sometimes does environmental work and enjoys kayaking. He also likes to go camping at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with his wife, Rachel, and dog, Mimosa.

Wah-Ming Chang (“The Key to the Orphanage”) writes in New York City and photographs everywhere.

Frederik Willem Daem (“Over the Cliff”) is a Belgian writer and conceptual artist. He published stories in several leading Dutch magazines and is the co-founder of a quarterly on literature and arts called Oogst. In the Indian summer of 2015 he made his debut with the collection of short stories Zelfs de vogels vallen, which was awarded the Debuutprijs 2016.

H. L. Hix’s (translation, Carmina Burana) latest poetry collection is American Anger. He lives in “one of those square states” and writes in a studio that originally was a barn. Early mornings, he can hear the mice in the walls, and sometimes a raccoon walking across the roof.

Rachel Hurn (“White Water”) is the senior editor at A Women’s Thing magazine. Her nonfiction, criticism, and personal essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker Online, Interview Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. She lives with her husband in Greenwich Village.

Henry Israeli’s (poetry) collections are god’s breath hovering across the waters, Praying to the Black Cat, and New Messiahs. He is also the translator of three books by Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku. He has been awarded fellowship grants from the NEA, Canada Council on the Arts, and elsewhere. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, as well as several anthologies. He is also the founder and editor of Saturnalia Books.

Fleur Jaeggy (“The Heir”) was born in Zurich, Switzerland and lives in Milano, Italy. In addition to her own work, which includes the acclaimed Sweet Days of Discipline, she has translated the works of Marcel Schwob and Thomas de Quincey into Italian, and has written texts on them and on Keats. Two new translations of her work, I Am the Brother of XX and These Possible Lives are out now.

Michael Judge (poetry) has published poems in The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Sycamore Review, and Poet Lore, among other publications. A poet, editor, and freelance journalist, he lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with his wife, Masae, and son, Maximilian.

Jesse Lee Kercheval (poetry translation) is the author of fourteen books of fiction, memoir, and poetry including the poetry collections Cinema Muto and Dog Angel. Her translations include Invisible Bridge/ El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and Fable of an Inconsolable Man by Javier Etchevarren. She is also the editor of the anthologies América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets and Earth, Water and Sky: A Bilingual Anthology of Environmental Poetry.

Josefine Klougart (“The Rushes”) is considered one of Scandinavia’s most important writers. She has published five novels, two of which—One of Us Is Sleeping and Of Darkness—have been published in the US. She has worked as an art and theater critic and has published a number of essays for Danish radio and newspapers. Her translations have appeared in several American journals, including Salamander, Conduit, Fjords, and World Literature Today. Her work has been translated into ten languages.

Meiko Ko (“A Question of Worth”) is a Chinese writer living in New York. She writes experimental fiction and hangs out at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, whose community and work as the pioneer and frontier of Asian American writing and social justice have given her faith to believe in herself as a woman writer and artist. Her work has been published in the Blue Lyra Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Margins.

Taylor Lannamann (“God of Nothing”) lives in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Tin House’s “The Open Bar.” He is an editor of Poet’s Country and is currently at work on a novel.  This is his first story publication.

Nathan Alling Long’s (“A Stick and a Stone”) work appears in over fifty journals, including Tin House, Glimmer Train, and StoryQuarterly. A Pushcart nominee and winner of the Open Road Review fiction award, Nathan lives in Philadelphia. “A Stick and a Stone” is in his completed manuscript, Two Tales, Some Stories, and a Yarn.

Kevin Maloney (“Horse Girl Fever”) is the author of Cult of Loretta. His stories have appeared in Hobart, Barrelhouse, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and a number of other journals and anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his girlfriend and his daughter.

Wayne Miller’s (poetry) recent books are the collection Post-, which won the Rilke Prize; a cotranslation of Moikom Zeqo’s Zodiac; and the coedited book Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century. Wayne teaches at CU Denver and edits Copper Nickel.

Josip Novakovich (“Café Sarajevo”) grew up in the Central Croatian town of Daruvar, and he studied medicine in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad. He left Yugoslavia at the age of twenty. He has published a novel, three short story collections, two collections of narrative essays, and two textbooks. He is the recipient of the Whiting Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the NEA, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He is a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Daniel Presley (“The Last Joke”) is an American author and screenwriter living in Paris. His film Populaire was released in over thirty-five countries. His fiction has appeared in The Minnesota Review, Hunger Mountain, Wigleaf, Hobart, and elsewhere.

Idea Vilariño (1920–2009) (poetry), author of twelve books of poetry, is an essential figure in Latin American poetry. Vilariño and the Uruguayan novelist Juan Carlos Onetti carried on a love affair that is one of the most famous in South American literature. The poems in this issue are from Poemas de amor, her best known book, which is dedicated to Onetti.

Jenny Watson (translation, “Over the Cliff”) was born and raised in Sheffield, in the north of England. A literary translator of Dutch, her projects have included short stories, an app novella and the historical novel Midnight Blue (Nachtblauw) by Simone van der Vlucht. By day Jenny researches post-1945 German literature.

Alexander Weinstein (translation, “The Rushes”) is director of The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and the author of the short story collection Children of the New World. He is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and his fiction has been awarded the Lamar York, Gail B. Crump, Hamlin Garland, and New Millennium Prizes. He leads fiction workshops in the US and Europe.

Katherine Willingham (poetry) lives, writes, and practices qi gong in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her first collection of poems, Unlikely Designs, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press. You can find her poems in such journals as Kenyon Review, Southern Indiana Review, Third Coast, Grist, Adroit Journal, and others. She enjoys winter more than most, though her plant collection does not.

Peter Sean Woltemade (translation, “Honeymoon in Berlin”) is a translator of books, including Stefanie Ross’s Nemesis: Innocence Sold. His translations have appeared in Exchanges, K1N, Newfound, Storm Cellar, Columbia Journal, the Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. He lives in Copenhagen.

Karen Wunsch’s stories (“Little Ghost Face”) have been published in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Columbia Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, and many other publications. This is her fourth story published in TLR.