What matters most is private and vast and can’t be seen 

on the brain scan, though it may burn orange or blue 


or a toasty gold in the amygdala, 

a magnolia-green in the cingulum, the cinnamon 


or burnt

Judson Mitcham’s most recent collection is A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New (University of Georgia Press, 2007). He is the current poet laureate of Georgia.

Auto-Duet: Essays on Competence and Acoustics

“You dork!” my sister shouted the day I called to tell her
I thought I might be pregnant. “Haven’t you checked
yet? Go to the pharmacy and call me back! Sheesh.”



When we were in elementary …

Karen Hays received her BS in Geology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and her MS in Hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota. In 2001, she left her career in the earth sciences to turn her attention to raising a family. A Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award recipient, her essays are idiosyncratic and far-reaching and have appeared in the Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Passages North, and the Normal School. She has received the Iowa Review Award for Nonfiction and her essay, “The Clockwise Detorsion of Snails,” was a “Notable Nonrequired Reading” in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. She now lives with her family on California’s Monterey Peninsula. 

The One I Get and Other Artifacts

                                   Oil has seeped into
the margins of the ditch of standing water

and flashes or looks upward brokenly,
like bits of mirror—no, more blue than that:

like tatters of the Morpho butterfly.

—Elizabeth Bishop


How young were my boys …

Carol Ann Davis is the author of the poetry collections Psalm (2007) and Atlas Hour (2011), both from Tupelo Press. An NEA Fellow in poetry and a finalist for the National Magazine Award for work in our pages, she has an essay collection (The Nail in the Tree: Essays on Art, Violence, and Parenting) coming out in 2019, also from Tupelo. A professor of English at Fairfield University, Davis lives in Newtown, Connecticut, with her husband and two sons. 

on The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison puts her personal anguish on display in her debut book of essays, The Empathy Exams. She doesn’t shy away from the suffering of others, either. This focus on pain may be the collection’s most obvious feature, but it …

Elizabeth Trundle is a novelist, short-story writer, and blogger. She has published her work in Prairie Schooner, the Nervous Breakdown, Statorec, Local Knowledge, and the Brooklyn Rail. As Boo Trundle she has recorded three albums, released through Caroline Records. She gathers her thoughts and other fleeting things at

Stillness, Waiting

If the trout died it would not be

as motionless as it is now,

in a current a man cannot 

stand in and under which looser

stones go tumbling from their sockets.

Across its back it seems sunlight

is what’s

Robert Wrigley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho, lives in the high-mountain woods near Moscow. His eleventh and most recent book of poems is Box (Penguin, 2017).

Lands of Lost Borders

Tibetan Plateau

My obsession with borders was born all at once in three different countries, depending on who you ask. I was in my early twenties, biking with a friend across the parched soda plains of the Askai Chin. For …

Kate Harris is the 2012 winner of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and cited as a “Notables” selection in Best American Essays. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, she currently lives near the borders of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon, in an off-grid log cabin roughly proportioned like a haiku (5’ x 7’ x 7’), from which she reports on global environmental negotiations for the International Institute for Sustainable Development. She is working on a book about cycling the Silk Road and other practical experiments in soaring.

On The View from Saturn & More: An Interview with Alice Friman

Gina Abelkop: L is for Leaves,” your poem in our Summer 2014 issue, begins softly, with a meditation on daily routine and watching the leaves outside through a window, but ends with a darker finish with the narrator “not …

True Adventures in Modern Living

Nadine Boughton’s color-drenched, surreal photo-collages contrast the sterility of the modern American home with the explosive, often feral natural world to present unique portraits of mid-twentieth-century anxiety. The majority of the work in this portfolio is drawn from Boughton’s project…

Nadine Boughton currently lives in Gloucester, MA, where she independently teaches photography, collage, and creative writing. Educated at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, and the Lesley University Seminars in Cambridge, MA, Boughton was selected as one of the “Top 50” photographers in Photolucida’s Critical Mass competition in both 2011 and 2013. Her work has been exhibited widely at locations including Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson Valley, NY, Candela Books and Gallery in Richmond, VA, JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA, and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA.

Odd Objects, Discomfort, & Joy: A Conversation with Lisa Knopp

John Brown Spiers: Your essays are layered almost impossibly well. Not only are they never about just one thing (or even just a couple of things), they very rarely meander, or “essay,” in the sense of a journey without a …