Reviews

When the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up onto the shore of Bodrum, Turkey, in September 2015, the photograph of him went viral, sending a shockwave through a part of the world that, until then, had largely ignored the civil war the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres has called “the […]

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From the Winter 2017 Issue

Whereas speaking itself is defiance. —Layli Long Soldier I. In the discourse of law the term whereas signals a recitation of the important context in a formal or contractual document—but it also represents non-binding language. In the discourse of a contract or a treaty, a whereas clause is an introductory statement that means something akin […]

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From the Fall 2017 Issue

According to the American Academy of Microbiology, the human body contains about three times more bacterial cells than human cells—to say nothing of viruses, fungi, or other protozoa. These invisible beings are not neutral inhabitants. Rather, they mold our moods, perceptions, actions. Studies of microbiota have found, in fact, that perhaps hope is not (as […]

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From the Summer 2017 Issue

In The Writing of the Disaster (1986), Maurice Blanchot argues that narrating disaster—global, national, local, or personal—is an impossible task because it cannot be articulated or explained. Writing about disaster, Blanchot argues, is at “the limit of writing” because it “describes.” This “de-scription,” this un-writing, is taken to its extreme in writing about radical loss […]

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From the Summer 2017 Issue

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. This formal device also asks the reader to immediately question what goes in and out […]

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From the Spring 2017 Issue

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 stuff swim trunks into a weekender bag and maybe a movie? We can watch as […]

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From the Spring 2017 Issue

Julian Barnes’s 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters includes an essayistic meditation on love in which he brilliantly considers the meanings and ramifications of history and our tendency to turn life into a narrative: The history of the world? Just voices echoing in the dark; images that burn for a few […]

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From the Winter 2016 Issue

Recent racial violence in the United States and abroad makes poetry books that take up social justice ever more urgent. Books with explicit political content often eschew the lyrical in favor of “documentary” materials, while others manage to twine them. In seeking ways to incorporate complex cultural/social information, some poets have developed hybrid forms, and […]

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From the Winter 2016 Issue

In Lighting the Shadow, Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ third collection, the poet sings a song of nonself. Varied sources—from news, visual art, poetry, and family—generate the current along which moves the speaker’s polymorphous permeable body electric, enacting her intention to “turn to every shadow I’ve ever been, stare at them until they form another / woman […]

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From the Fall 2016 Issue

We are enamored with the new. We exalt the original, the innovative, the experimental. See the proliferation of lists declaring the literary world’s next protégés: Muzzle Magazine’s “30 under 30”; Buzzfeed’s “20 under 40 Debut Writers You Need to Be Reading”; the New Yorker’s “20 under 40.” There is an ethic of disposability built into […]

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From the Fall 2016 Issue