Resonance, Dissonance, and the Iraq War

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This year marks fifteen years since the initial US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In Rachel Kushner’s and Lisa Halliday’s newest novels, the war lurks, ever present, in the background.

An Interview with Joshua Whitehead

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One could refer to Whitehead as a poet, fiction writer, and critic, and yet, Whitehead’s work also exists without such easily defined boundaries.

The Boatbuilder by Daniel Gumbiner

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There’s something so gentle about Berg, in his awareness of the world and the people around him. He cares. He has a sense of humor. He wants to turn his life around.

“Positive Comments” by Owen King

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The previous day, Jon Kearns had emailed for an extra day to turn in his assignment, swore that he was out of town and couldn’t get a ride back until the next day.

All That Remains: The Lasting Images of a William Trevor Story

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Excerpt: William Trevor almost always describes a character early in the story, using only a sentence or two, but getting at the essence of the character in a way that feels intimate and true. The descriptions are highly visual, often focusing on the face, but always gesturing towards characterization.

A Valentine to the Best American Poetry 1993

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Before social media helped readers discover poetry, the world seemed smaller. In the early 90s, when I was a preteen starting to figure out that not all great poets were dead, I had little to go on.

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

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Gabel studied cello for years and her experience is evident as she spools out the plot, repeats motifs and varies the story's tempo and dynamics. Music dictates the structure of the book, too, which is arranged in four parts, like a concerto, with a short coda at the end.

The Cocoon and the Vista: Rebecca Solnit and Czeslaw Milosz on Vastness

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Both Solnit and Milosz transform picturesque vistas into fully alive places on the page. Their methods are instructive not only for writing about place, but as tools for toggling between any set of Big Questions and the particulars of moving as a body through streets.

Writing Trauma and Tarfia Faizullah’s Registers of Illuminated Villages

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Two adjacent poems in Tarfia Faizullah’s new collection reckon with the ways in which others—readers, peers, and perhaps mentors—respond to and even challenge the traumatic subjects about which a poet writes.

Night Beast and Other Stories by Ruth Joffre

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Joffre achieves fluidity by refusing labels, marrying concrete sensory details to emotions, and using elements of fabulism and magical realism. Taken together, the effect is dreamlike, but never serene.