from “If & When”

Marvin Bell’s recent books include Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2013 )and Whiteout (Lodima Press, 2011), a collaboration with photographer Nathan Lyons. The selections from “If & When” in this issue continue Bell’s poetic correspondence with Christopher Merrill, earlier exchanges from which were collected in After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts (White Pine Press, 2016).

Christopher Merrill has six poetry collections; many works of translation and edited volumes, among them The Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature (1991) and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon (1993, reissued 1998); and six books of nonfiction, most recently Self-Portrait with Dogwood (Trinity University Press, 2017). His work has been translated into nearly forty languages and his honors include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government. As director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries.

Bosch in the Burning World

At the joining of the Dommel and the Aa in the southern part of the Netherlands, a town was built and called “Bosch” after its forest. It prospered, rivaling Utrecht. In its churches there was music. In town there was …

David Oates writes about nature and urban life from Portland, Oregon. He is author of four books of nonfiction, including Paradise Wild: Reimagining American Nature (Oregon State University Press, 2003). His work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Orion, Earth Island Journal, High Country News, and elsewhere. The Heron Place (2016) won the 2015 Poetry Award from Swan Scythe Press. Peace in Exile: Poems was published in 1992. He won the Dovid Heersche Badonnah award from Bitterroot Poetryand last year he convened a group of writers to create the collection Come Shining: Essays and Poems on Writing in a Dark Time (Kelson Books, 2017).

The Novelist’s Event: Fact, Fiction, and a Writer’s Search for a Universal Subject

On November 18, 1978, an event unique in human history took place. In a remote region of Guyana, an elemental, disintegrating country just above the equator in South America, 913 followers of a captivating American preacher named Reverend Jim Jones

James Reston Jr.—novelist, nonfiction writer, and playwright—has published eighteen books and written for publications such as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and Esquire, has been a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, a fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. His most recent book is A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam Memorial (Arcade Publishing, 2017).

Pocketable Breviaries: The Very Short Poem

Jane Hirshfield’s most recent books are The Beauty (Knopf, 2015), longlisted for the National Book Award in Poetry, and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf, 2015), winner of the Northern California Book Award. A chancellor emerita of the Academy of American Poets, Hirshfield has had work in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Review of Books, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry.

on Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane

When I was fourteen, about a year after being assaulted by a volleyball coach, a feminist teacher introduced me to women’s poetry. She gave me Adrienne Rich and Ai; Sylvia Plath and Audre Lorde; Nikki Giovanni, Rita Dove, Erica Jong, …

Kate Ballantyne holds an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was awarded the first-year creative writing fellowship and acted as associate editor of Blackbird. She also holds an MA from Western Washington University, where she served as a poetry editor for the Bellingham Review. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, Harpur Palate, and MiPoesias, among other journals. Currently, she works as the associate creative director for Providence St. Joseph Health.

on When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

A necessary tension in memoir is that between the individual at the center of it and the broader context—the cultural or historical moments shaping the author’s trajectory into our lives. Patrisse Khan-Cullors’s When They Call You a Terrorist, co-written …

Rachel Kincaid lives in Minneapolis, where she is working on and off at writing about ghosts.

on Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

In Oceanic, her luminous fourth collection of poems, Aimee Nezhukumatathil concludes with the image of “a child stepping / out of a fire, shoes / still shiny and clean.” 

I encountered this mysterious image on a day in mid-February, …

Tamiko Beyer is the author of Last Days (2021) and We Come Elemental (2013), both from Alice James Books. Her poetry and articles have appeared in places such as Denver Quarterly, Idaho Review, DUSIE, Black Warrior Review, Lit Hub, and The Rumpus. She has received awards, fellowships, and residencies from PEN America, Kundiman, Hedgebrook, VONA, and the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, among others. She is a queer, mixed race (Japanese and white), cisgender woman and femme, living on Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Pawtucket land. A social justice communications writer and strategist, she spends her days writing truth to power. 

on I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider

Maura Mandyck, several of whose reviews have appeared previously in our pages, holds degrees in English from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Georgia, and in library science from the University of Alabama. She has worked as a librarian for the Nashville Public Library and for Athens Academy, and is now an instructional librarian at Spring Hill College, where she also teaches in the English department. She lives in Mobile, Alabama, with three dogs, two cats, and lots and lots of books.

on What Is Poetry? (Just Kidding, I Know You Know): Interviews from The Poetry Project Newsletter (1983–2009), edited by Anselm Berrigan

Nick Sturm’s poems, collaborations, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Brooklyn RailASAP/JBlack Warrior Review, the websites of the Poetry Foundation and PEN America, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. His first book of poems is How We Light (H_NGM_N BKS, 2013). His scholarly and archival work can be traced at his blog, Crystal Set. He is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses on poetry, visual art, and multimodal composition.