on Monsters I Have Been by Kenji C. Liu

Of the many monsters that walk the landscape of Kenji C. Liu’s second poetry collection, Monsters I Have Been, perhaps the most terrifying are those that have blended into everyday life. Godzilla and Ultraman are featured prominently in the …

Muriel Leung is the author of Bone Confetti (2016), winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award. Her writing can be found in The Baffler, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships to Kundiman, VONA/Voices Workshop and the Community of Writers. Poetry co-editor of Apogee Journal and a member of Miresa Collective, Leung co-hosts the Blood-Jet Writing Hour podcast with Rachelle Cruz and MT Vallarta. Currently, she is a Dornsife Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California

on Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li

The novel Where Reasons End was written, as many people know by now, in the year after the suicide of the author’s sixteen-year-old son, Vincent Kean Li. Noting tonal and stylistic departures from her previous works, reviewers have praised it …

Nan Z. Da is an assistant professor in the department of English language and literatures at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Intransitive Encounter: Sino-US Literatures and the Limits of Exchange (Columbia University Press, 2018) and the editor of Thinking Literature, a series dedicated to literary criticism housed at the University of Chicago Press.

on All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer by Karen Babine

All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer is a collection of essays by Karen Babine about feeding her family while her mother dies of cancer. The book covers the dark winter months in Minnesota, from the moment …

Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she’s an associate professor of English at Muskingum University. Her work has appeared in Muse/A Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the Atlantic, Narratively, Zone 3, and many other publications. She is the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel, 2010); a full-length poetry collection, Raising (Clare Songbirds Publishing, 2018); and three poetry chapbooks, including Making (Origami Poems Project) and Curiosities (Unsolicited Press), both published in 2018.

on Wild Milk by Sabrina Orah Mark

Reading the wry, surreal tales in Sabrina Orah Mark’s short-story collection Wild Milk often feels like navigating an anxiety nightmare dreamt by a wittier half-sister of the Brothers Grimm. The stories are narrated with a matter-of-factness that could be misconstrued …

Lauren Russell is the author of the poetry collection What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press). A 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in poetry, she has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, VIDA / The Home School, and others. Russell has published work in the New York Times Magazine, boundary 2, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, the Brooklyn Rail, jubilat, and elsewhere. She is a research assistant professor and is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Necessary Impossibilities of Poetry (on Terrance Hayes’s American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin; Dorothy Barresi’s What We Did While We Made More Guns; Analicia Sotelo’s Virgin; and Kevin Prufer’s How He Loved Them)

Kevin Clark’s several books of poems include the forthcoming The Consecrations (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2021). His first collection, In the Evening of No Warning (New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2002), earned a grant from the Academy of American Poets, and his second, Self-Portrait with Expletives (2010), won the Pleiades Press prize. His poetry appears in the Southern Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Gulf Coast, and Crazyhorse. A regular critic for The Georgia Review, he’s also published essays in the Southern Review, Papers on Language and Literature, and Contemporary Literary Criticism. He teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop. 

My Own City (on Donna Masini’s 4:30 Movie; Jennifer Franklin’s No Small Gift; and Lee Briccetti’s Blue Guide)

Jonathan Blunk is a poet, essayist, and radio producer. His works include the authorized biography James Wright: A Life in Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) and the essay “ ‘Living Toward That Voice’: James Wright Transfixing and Transfixed,” which appeared in The Georgia Review (Winter 2017). Blunk’s work can also be found in such journals as the American Poetry Review, Poets & Writers, and FIELD magazine.

“What I Find Funny Is Too Dark to Say Out Loud” (with an interview by C. J. Bartunek)

INTRODUCTION

I laugh because I must not weep—that’s all, that’s all,” Abraham Lincoln reportedly commented, echoing Byron’s Don Juan. “Humor is just another defense against the universe,” said legendary director and comedy-writer Mel Brooks. Versions of this idea have been …

Dhruvi Acharya, who lives and works in Mumbai, began exhibiting her works professionally in the United States, where she lived for ten years, after receiving her MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1998. Since then, she has had solo exhibitions with Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai, Nature Morte in New Delhi, Gomez Gallery in Baltimore, and Kravets/Wehby in New York, and participated in group shows at the San Jose Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, and the Queens Museum of Art in New York, among many others.

Underwater Falsetto

Tiana Nobile is a Kundiman fellow and the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. A finalist in the National Poetry Series and for the Kundiman Poetry Prize, she is the author of a chapbook, The Spirit of the Staircase (Antenna / Press Street Press, 2017). Her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, the New Republic, Guernica, and the Texas Review, among others. 

Among the Losses & Poetry Class, Ash Wednesday

 

Among the Losses

 

My lamentations have shaken loose locusts.

They whir in the burned-out nave of my body.

 

In the shower, whole decades wash from my body.

A girl’s hairless limbs emerge naked from the spray.

 

Anya Silver (1968–2018) published four books of poetry, and her work has appeared widely. In 2018 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. The poems in this issue are from “Saint Agnostica,” a manuscript Silver completed just before her death in August 2018 after more than a decade of battling breast cancer.