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Date: 12/18/2017
Abby MacGregor

“I sipped my ice water like a martyr. The ballast to all of it, of course—the thing that kept me from contentment—was envy. I was jealous of everybody, for everything. I was jealous of the couple for their house, their jobs, their drinks, each other. I was jealous of Bors for his skills, his apartment, his confidence to get controversial tattoos and play contro­versial songs. I was jealous of Lilah for her tired, lived-in life, which at least suggested a sort of thick-skinned competence.”
—from “Pat’s, Geno’s”, Fall 2017 (Volume 58, Issue 3)

What other professions have you worked in?
I was a dishwasher for a catering company for a couple years, which is something I share with the protagonist of “Pat’s, Geno’s.” Then, I was in charge of documenting incidents of vandalism for a property management company for a little while. That...

Date: 12/15/2017
Michael Thurston

(photo from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

They don’t seem to care about truth in anything else, but Republican legislators should consider a forthright and honest name for their “tax reform package.” Senators passed their enormous tax cut for corporations and the wealthy in the wee hours of a Friday night, after House Republicans passed a similar bill two weeks before. This morning, the conference committee working to reconcile these monstrosities will release a bill that will almost certainly become law before Christmas, ushering in the Dickensian misery nostalgically recreated in various versions of A Christmas...

Date: 12/11/2017
Abby MacGregor

You fuss in the hospital
bed one vein sharp
across your forehead
is a rill. . . .
—from “What Color”, Fall 2017 (Volume 58, Issue 3)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember—I remember writing a poem about the sun when I was in the first grade that my teacher wrote on poster paper and posted in the hall outside our classroom. It was strongly influenced by Shel Silverstein.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
This is simultaneously an easy and an impossible question, because there are so many things that have influenced my work! I remember reading The World According To Garp and Sometimes A Great Notion in high school—both books passed down to me from older relatives—and thinking, yes,...

Date: 12/05/2017
Kira Archibald, Alex Raz

"Her father handed her to us. “No kiss,” he said, a few times. “No touch.” The diminutive old man, bent from hard work, gave his daughter a stern look that I couldn’t quite decipher except that it made me vaguely uncomfortable. However, the promise of no kissing was easy to give. “No kissing and no touching,” I said solemnly. I gave the man a cash advance and said we’d start filming in another ten days. We would call on Laksmi on a Wednesday." —from "The God Girl," Fall 2017,...

Date: 12/03/2017
Jim Hicks

One day, during the years I hung out in Paris, Gilles Deleuze opened his lecture with a brief comment about the death at age sixty of his friend and colleague, the philosopher François Chatelet. Along with Foucault and Deleuze, Chatelet had founded the department of philosophy at Vincennes; he had also launched, with Jacques Derrida and a pair of other visionaries, the Collège international de philosophie. Deleuze didn’t say much that day; he simply reminded us that the works of Chatelet had survived their author, and that, as his students, our job was to study them.

Today, as I return to the works of the Bosnian artist and designer Anur Hadžiomerspahić, after the news of his sudden death this week at age forty-six, one feature of his art strikes me as crucial—something that one cannot not see differently now, sub species aeternitatis, as the saying goes. Though his work masterfully manipulated—and took the piss out of—every digital platform worthy of notice...

Date: 11/27/2017
Elizabeth Mikesch

Almost immaterial
                             in the way of paper

animals folded fireside — haloed and almost-
burning,            a branch of sun lit starlings. . .
from "CLosure" (Volume 58, Issue 3, Fall 2017)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Although I’d written short fiction since childhood, I was twenty-one when I composed my first poem. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading poetry and had certainly never considered writing one. It was summer in New York and I was sitting by a lake with my feet dragging through the current caused by small boats when suddenly, without my knowing what I was doing, I began writing something that obviously wasn’t a story. What was it? Impressions. Colors. Emotions. Strange images. I didn’t have...

Date: 11/21/2017
Emily Wojcik

"We pored over several more boxes, then I followed her into a windowless chilled room lined with open metal trays that pulled out of the wall, like trays at a bakery. Instead of pastries, the trays held dozens of 'skins'—birds preserved for study, their soft organs removed. To say that my spirit lifted might sound odd, but the beauty of the dead can awe as much as the living."
—from Keepers of the Ghost Bird (Working Title 2.4 Setpember/October 2017)

What were the influences behind writing this piece?
It was my first trip to Bermuda, and I was riding in a taxi van driven by an exuberant woman named Foxie. At the time, I had chronic pain, and was looking for something to do while my husband (I was married back then), was working...

Date: 11/15/2017
Amal Zamam

On the 1st of October, a gunman using a series of semiautomatic rifles modified, legally, to fire like machine guns, killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others in what is now being called America’s deadliest mass shooting. When lawmakers once again pleaded for stricter gun control measures, the White House responded that it was wrong to politicize tragedy. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called any discussion of such legislation “premature”. “There's a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” Sanders said.

At the end of the same month, on my favorite day of the year, the 31st of October, a New Jersey truck driver mowed down 8 people...

Date: 11/13/2017
Kira Archibald

After the third bite
Adam found himself suspended
between two cities and understood them to be parched
by the contagion of time. . .

—from "Cosmogeny of Shame," by Filippo Naitana, translated from Italian by Ann Lauinger (Fall 2017, Vol. 58, Issue 3)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
The first thing I translated, long before I had any idea of wanting to write poetry myself, was a short ode by the Latin poet Horace. Not a great success!

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Probably Ben Jonson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and W. H. Auden are the poets who’ve gotten most under my skin.

What other professions have you worked in?

Date: 11/08/2017
Kira Archibald

Dopo il terzo morso
Adamo si trovò sospeso
fra due città, e le seppe arse
dal contagio del tempo. . . . 
—from "Cosmogonia del pudore," Fall 2017 (Volume 58, Issue 3)
What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Because this is my first published poem, I’ll simply blush and mention some of the authors I keep coming back to: Alda Merini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Billy Collins and Vijay Seshadri. 
What other professions have you worked in?
The one profession to which I have been truly committed is that of teacher and scholar. But I have also worked as a grape picker and tended bar. Throughout my undergraduate years in Florence, I was a day-laborer assistant to roadies,...