Still Life with Half a Coconut Cake, a Golden Retriever, and The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor & The Worst Peanuts in Town

Jack, today I played fast-and-loose with a bottle 

of Prosecco and a coconut cake, and now, 

an hour later, I’ve got my knees tucked to my chest  

because it feels like someone’s mistaken my head 

for an oyster and is

Emily Nason is from Columbia, South Carolina, and is a junior at Kenyon College in Ohio. Her poetry has also appeared in the Kenyon Review.

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 …

Albert Goldbarth is the author of more than twenty-five books of poetry, most recently Selfish (2015), Everyday People (2012), and The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems, 1972–2007 (2007), all from Graywolf Press. He has twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry.

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 …

Brandon R. Schrand is the author of Works Cited: Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem & Misbehavior (Bison Books, 2013) and The Enders Hotel: A Memoir (Bison Books, 2008), the 2007 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize winner and a 2008 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. His work has appeared in Sports Illustratedthe Dallas Morning News, ShenandoahEcotone, and numerous other publications. The recipient of Shenandoah’s Carter Prize and a Pushcart Prize, Schrand teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Idaho.

“For as long as I wish”: Paul Zimmer on Solace and Oblivion

John Brown Spiers: From the outset of “Secret Information,” you inform us that you’ve written the essay because “I feel obligated to relate something about that ominous place I had been taken to under the Nevada desert, and the abyss …

Time, Story, and Lyric in Contemporary Poetry

After reading recent books of poetry by Patricia Smith, Robert Wrigley, David Kirby, and Cathy Park Hong, one might be surprised to know that even the best of contemporary critics tend to devalue narrative poetry in favor of the lyric. …

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. 

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 


Kyoko Uchida’s poetry, prose, and translations have appeared in The Georgia Review, Manoa, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals on three continents; her poetry collection Elsewhere was published by Texas Tech University Press in 2012. Uchida works for a nonprofit organization in New York City.

The Dead

Miles Wilson is the founding director of the MFA program at Texas State University. He is the author of three prize-winning books: Fire Season (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2014), Harm (2003), and Line of Fall (1989). His previous story in The Georgia Review (“Everything,” Winter 1987) was one of three cited when The Georgia Review was named a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction in 1988.

Jules Verne Seeks Dreamers for Long-Distance Travel in Time

My father was on his long taxi journey when my mother said she might have a crush on someone. “Someone who doesn’t do quixotic things for quick money,” she flounced. In the year before the little shuttle I had been …

Mary O’Donoghue, who grew up in County Clare, Ireland, is the author of the novel Before the House Burns (Lilliput Press, 2010). She began writing “Jules Verne . . . ” during a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She teaches in the Arts and Humanities division at Babson College and is completing a short-story collection.

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 …

Paul Zimmer lives on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin. In the fifteen years since his retirement from a long career in university publishing, he has published two books each of poetry and essay-memoir. His first novel, The Mysteries of Soldiers Grove, is forthcoming from Permanent Press in early 2015, when he will be eighty years old—which surely makes him, he believes, one of the oldest first novelists ever.