The Rough-barked Cottonwood

Ballerina

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of some one hundred books in multiple genres, including the novel Little Bird of Heaven (2009), the story collection Sourland (2010), and the memoir A Widow’s Story (2011), all from Ecco. The 2010 recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement of the National Book Critics Circle, Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1978. Oates’s “Ballerina” appeared in our fortieth-anniversary retrospective (Spring 1986).

Parabolic

Immanence

Robert Penn Warren: Life’s Instancy and the Astrolabe of Joy

on Potted Meat by Steven Dunn

Steven Dunn’s novel Potted Meat begins with an unconventional table of contents under the guise of an ingredients list and instructions for consumption. This maneuver automatically subverts readers’ expectations of convention and brings to the forefront the idea of control. …

Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of the novels The Arson People (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015) and Our Prayers After the Fire (Blue Square Press, 2014). Other work appears in Ninth Letter, Washington Square Review, Flaunt Magazine, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. She serves as the fiction co-editor of DIAGRAM.

on My Father & Atticus Finch: A Lawyer’s Fight for Justice in 1930s Alabama by Joseph Madison Beck

Gary Kerley is a retired educator living in Bermuda Run, North Carolina. His reviews and articles have appeared in a number of publications and encyclopedias. An essay on the relationship between James Dickey and Pat Conroy and a review of Henry Taylor’s selected poems, This Tilted World Is Where I Live, will appear in the 2020 issue of The James Dickey Review. His articles on Alice Friman and William Walsh will appear next year on the online New Georgia Encyclopedia.

on Among the Gorgons by Michelle Boisseau

Alice Friman’s seventh collection of poetry is Blood Weather, forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in 2019. She’s the winner of a Pushcart Prize and is included in Best American Poetry. New work is forthcoming in PloughsharesPlume, Shenandoah, Western Humanities Review, and others. She lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she was poet-in-residence at Georgia College and State University.

on IRL by Tommy Pico

The text message that begins Tommy Pico’s 98-page-long poem is addressed to potential lover “Girard,” but I like to think of it as an invitation to the reader as well:

. . . do

u wanna come

over? Watch me

Mary-Kim Arnold is the author of Litany for the Long Moment (Essay Press, 2018) and the forthcoming The Fish & The Dove (Noemi Press, 2020). Awarded fellowships from the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, she holds an MFA from Brown University and now teaches there in the Nonfiction Writing Program.