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10 Questions for Paola Bruni

- By Edward Clifford

What do we remember?
I read about a woman who could recall
the womb, who described it as a shiny, mirrored
substance, slick, the purplish hue of an eggplant.
Another suspended in anti-gravity, shuffled
along in a premature moonwalk.
—from "Birth," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My very first fiction piece was written when I was eleven years old. My Italian immigrant parents had just uprooted us, moved our family from an ethnic tumble of a neighborhood in the Excelsior District of San Francisco, to a white American suburb. I entered sixth grade terribly shy, a plump girl with acne and a strange name no one could pronounce. On the first day of class,...

After Us

The COVID-19 Mirror

- By Ljiljana Djukanović

Late mornings in Spain are particularly grim during the COVID-19 confinement. That’s the time of the day when the entire nation listens to the daily broadcast of the COVID-19 press conference. One hour of densely packed updates: new death and infection counts, modeled predictions, new confinement measures, social initiatives. . . Every day is deadlier than the previous one, and every day seems to bring more stringent isolation measures. By April 3rd, Spain had registered more than 10,000 COVID-19-related deaths and it had become the country with the highest number of infections.

During one of these press conferences, in mid-March, it was announced that the government had just bought 600,000 rapid COVID-19 tests from a Chinese company. These rapid tests were meant...

After Us


- By Erri De Luca

(Photo: Nicoletta Dosio in Torino, March 30, 2020. La Stampa)

March 31, 2020

My cousin Mario has told me about our Grandmother Emma’s memories of the so-called Spanish flu. Between 1918 and 1920, it killed tens of thousands of people across the world, a world that, at the time, had a total population of roughly two billion. Back then, head counts weren’t so precise and neurotic.

This viral form of influenza left young and old with...


10 Questions for Charlie Peck

- By Edward Clifford

(Author Photo by Simon Sahner)

Around the courthouse they've built orange and white barricades,
directed traffic to side streets to reduce heads craning from car windows,
and as I walk the dog this morning with Kate, she turns and asks,

What do you think? and I say, Must be a protest. When my dad gave
the eulogy at my granfather's funeral, one woman afterwards
was appalled that he quoted Grandpa's favorite phrase, Smiling like a cat

eating shit. [...]
—from "Barricades," Volume 61, Issue (Spring 2020)


Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote....


10 Questions for Nancy Miller Gomez

- By Edward Clifford

The dress bound my body
like a bandage staunching a wound.
Lace choked my throat.
My arms were cinched in tourniquets of tuelle.

I was a hand grenade of a girl
vacuum packed into a costume,
my fingers poised in the fuselage of my lap.
I'd chopped my hair short.
—from "My First Grade Picture," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I published my first collection of poems when I was ten. It was written in cursive on multi-colored construction paper held together with brass brads and filled with bad drawings of peace signs and flowers. The opening poem in that “collection” was called “Freedom.”

What writer(s)...

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