Features

Two Characters in Search of an Essay

1. JK

He was always the smallest, in any room, “an Atom of a man” somebody said (the word existed then, although not in our later sense); but spunky, quick to rise to a righteous indignation and to support it with a whirligig of fists.

“Terrier courage,” one of his schoolfellows called it. . . .

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Finding Emily & Elizabeth

My garrulous neighbor, Walter—a red-nosed U.S. Army Major (retired)—gives me books, volumes that he snatches up at the occasional library inventory purges at the University of Idaho, where I teach. Some are good, others not as good. Some I park on my bookshelves, others I recycle or use as doorstops. . . .

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White Peaches

The white peaches announce themselves on the kitchen counter, 

quick scent flinting alight the worm-eaten dawn, 

the clean-edged note almost mineral, so unlike 

the vague, pulpy yellow of girlhood:

 

the backyard peach tree bowed down with too much 

sun-bruised fruit, . . .

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Secret Information

The other day, for no particular reason I can think of, I mentioned to my middle-aged daughter in conversation that I had been cleared for “secret” when I was in the army. Surprised, she commented, “I never knew you had any secrets.” But it is true, sixty plus years ago I was authorized by the government for “Secret Information.” 

Why had this happened? . . .

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Chew on This

When we asked Christopher Merrill—a portion of whose prose collaboration with Marvin Bell appears in our Winter 2013 issue—to tell us what he had been reading as of late, he gladly agreed, and then surprised us over the holidays when he sent along this single photograph from his cell phone, . . .

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Goodness in Mississippi

—After Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool,”
    with thanks to Terrance Hayes

 

My friend said I wasn’t fat but she was, and we

would go on that way, back and forth. She was my first real 

  . . .

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Dead Last Is a Kind of Second Place

Jell-O Pudding Pops that preserve the wavelike peaked shape of your lips. Little Debbie Fudge Brownies that break in half along a groove in the frosting. Summer sausages like No. 2 pencils, cling-wrapped together on a Styrofoam platter. Strawberry Fruit Wrinkles that scent your fingers if you don’t pour them directly into your mouth. . . .

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Maxine Kumin: Making Contact

The Concord Monitor recently ran a two-part interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Maxine Kumin—here are parts one and two—and we were reminded of the wonderful package of photos Maxine sent us to go through when we were preparing to print her essay in our Winter 2012 issue, . . .

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Reading The Purpose Driven Life, with Schopenhauer

                                                                                                           —December 2012

Really—I don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is. But it looks exactly as if something were meant by it.
—Carl Jung

 

i.

 

The Truth will make us miserable, . . .

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