Front Cover by Ward Schumaker, Hate Is What We Need, 2017. METHYLCELLULOSE AND ACRYLIC PIGMENT. Courtesy of the artist.Order a copy now
Volume 59, Issue 3
"POST-APOCALYPTIC FICTION has been moved to our Current Affairs section.” Written on a chalkboard outside the Bookloft bookstore in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on Wednesday morning just after the last U. S. presidential election, Zazu Galdos-Schapiro’s witticism was instant meme material. Like all good jokes, her line flashed electric between id and insight, a short-circuit buzz that made us chuckle. A couple of years later, we’re no longer laughing, yet the challenge remains: if speculative fiction has indeed sublimated into document, critique, and analysis, well then, it’s high time to take it seriously. Peer publications like the Boston Review, with their “Global Dystopias” issue, have already begun such work; in these pages, the prose we publish offers a panoply of spec fic, mostly mixed blends of fantasy and sci-fi. Lit mags have a reputation for snobbery when it comes to genre, we know, but the best have always been interested in everything. I know I am (and, after all, teaching in a department that long had the honor of employing Samuel R. Delany does confer certain obligations). We perhaps read and write dystopian fiction mainly as scaramanzia: knocking on wood, we say it so it will not happen, even if it’s happening now. And it is happening now.
Our fall issue also features an amazing triptych: nine translations from Catalan, of which three shrewd fables by Pere Calders, elegantly rendered by Mara Faye Lethem, connect most clearly with our speculative theme. Currently confronting its own form of dystopia, Catalonia has both a history and a present of resistance; selections from the Civil War journals of C. A. Jordana give us an unforgettable glimpse into this past, and three excerpts from a novel by Najat El Hachmi illuminate life as an immigrant in its troubled present. Once again, we have contributing editor Peter Bush to thank for bringing these two masterful storytellers into English. Together with the magic of Lethem’s Calders, we see how, within a single literary tradition, imagination, history, and identity fuse in a twenty-first-century nation.
Anthropologists have long sorted cultures on the basis of kinship practices; thus, it stands to reason that family relations are at the center of most writing of dystopia or utopia. In this issue, Eric Schlich’s 391 “Journal of a Cyclops” and Caitlin O’Neil’s “Gen XX” focus on family directly, and related themes arise in stories by John Baum and Jill Maio, and in a lovely coming-of-age tale by Laura Willwerth. A tale by Gabriella Kuruvilla (brought to us from Italy, in a translation by Giovanna Bellesia and Victoria Poletto) offers an intimate, realist view of mixed-race parentage in an era of resurgent white supremacy. Essays by Laure Katsaros, on the Fourier-loving pharmacist who modeled for Flaubert, and Robert Crossley, on the woman warrior at the heart of Scandinavian saga, demonstrate the depth and breadth of utopian imagination within the literary canon. Finally, GennaRose Nethercott’s fantastic menagerie of beastly creations and Mika Seifert’s incisive tale of unrelenting enlightenment offer unblended examples of fantasy and dystopia, something for those who prefer their genres pure.
So where are the poets in all this? Taking care of business, as they should, and founding our fictions in close observation. As Stuart Greenhouse comments, “it is a political act to simply observe the body politic and the environment. . . for what it is.” Michael Lavers offers two Pascalian meditations, and Leah Poole Osowski pens one of three poems published here with a colon in the title (genus: species may have itself become a genre of poetry). Elsewhere Chen Chen manages, once again, to merge the everyday and the marvelous, whereas Emma Bolden takes her inspiration from the headlines, unrelentingly awful as they are. In times like these, it’s hard to say if we’ll have more need of Jody Winer’s guardian angel school or for Henry Lyman’s pugilist.
One thing we do know, however: it can’t continue like this. Ward Schumaker’s stunning, stenciled compilation of vile, adolescent POTUS talk makes that clear. What art claims it also transforms, and as it does, it rises above. Schumaker, it would seem, has taken a lesson from the Sarajevan FAMA art collective, learned during that city’s darkest days. One of their Sarajevo Survival Guide’s most cited lines reads: “Don’t hate, despise.”
After all, we’re not on their level.
Jim Hicks, for the editors
by Chen Chen
Pere Calders, translated by Mara Faye Lethem
Najat El Hachmi, translated by Peter Bush
by Gabriella Kurvilla, translated by Victoria Offredi Poletto and Giovanna Bellesia Contuzzi
by Michael Lavers
by Laura Willwerth
Table of Contents
The Pugilist, a poem by Henry Lyman
from Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart,
stories by GennaRose Nethercott
Morning, a poem by Sally Rosen Kindred
from Blitz on Barcelona, nonfiction by C. A. Jordana, translated by Peter Bush
Domain: Eukarya, a poem by Leah Poole Osowski
Gen XX, a story by Caitlin O’Neil
The Pharmacist’s Dream. Where Charles Fourier
Meets Gustave Flaubert, an essay by Laure Katsaros
In the Other Window and That Which is Only Visible
When the Wind Brings It, poems by Concha García,
translated by Allison Hutchcraft and Juan Meneses
Departure: Phoenix, United States of America, 2019,
a poem by M. L. Martin
Hate Is What We Need, paintings by Ward Schumaker
Cached, a poem by Rosa Lane
Portrait of the Woman as Blood and
The Blood and the Lamb, poems by Emma Bolden
The Test: Western Civilization,
a poem by Devon Miller-Duggan
Alone at the Center: Brynhild and Brünnhilde,
an essay by Robert Crossley
Walking her into the beautiful night,
a poem by Dennis Finnell
Everything Is Fine, a story by John Baum
Thanksgiving at Mom’s, That,
a poem by Benjamin S. Grossberg
Ephemeris, a poem by Stuart Greenhouse
Journal of a Cyclops, a story by Eric Schlich
Ownership of Sight, a poem by Christopher Kondrich
Yesterday I Saw a Small Snake Holding Still,
a poem by Christopher Citro
Chalice, a poem by Michael Hurley
Only Light, All the Time, a story by Mika Seifert
All Ink and Metal, a story by Jill Maio
Welcome to Guardian Angel School,
a poem by Jody Winer
Notes on Contributors
JOHN BAUM'S work has appeared in Blue Mesa Review, Booth, Whiskey Paper, Saint Ann’s Review, and elsewhere. He is an English teacher in Atlanta and recently completed a short story collection.
EMMA BOLDEN is the author of three fulllength collections of poetry: House Is an Enigma (forthcoming from Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations, and Maleficae, and four chapbooks. The recipient of a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Best Small Fictions, Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Indiana Review, Shenandoah, Greensboro Review, and The Journal. She currently serves as associate editor-in-chief for Tupelo Quarterly.
PETER BUSH’s translation of Teresa Solana’s The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories is out this fall from Bitter Lemon. He is currently finishing his translation of Barcelona Tales and the biography of a Catalan composer residing in the USA since 1956, Leonardo Balada: A Transatlantic Gaze. He is well into Josep Pla’s Salt Water and Quim Monzo’s El perqué de tot plegat.
PERE CALDERS(1912–1994) is one of the most beloved and widely read Catalan writers of the twentieth century. Also an editor, journalist, and cartoonist, he is best known for his short stories. The three featured in this issue are from the collection Chronicles of the Hidden Truth, written during his twenty-three-year exile in Mexico, and first published in 1955.
CHEN CHEN is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers Award, and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. The collection was also longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry and named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He is the 2018–2020 Jacob Ziskind Poet-inResidence at Brandeis University.
CHRISTOPHER CITRO is the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy. His awards include a 2018 Pushcart Prize for Poetry and first place in the 2015 Poetry Competition at Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. His work appears in or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, Best New Poets, Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Boulevard, Quarterly West, Florida Review, Passages North, and others.
GIOVANNA BELLESIA-CONTUZZI is professor of Italian Language and Literature at Smith College. Her research has centered on modern Italian women writers and migration studies. Along with her colleague Victoria Offredi Poletto, she has translated several short stories, Dacia Maraini’s Un clandestine a bordo, and two novels: Cristina Ali Farah’s Madre piccolo and Gabriella Ghemandi’s Regina di fiori di perle.
ROBERT CROSSLEY, emeritus professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is the author of Imagining Mars: A Literary History. His recent essays have appeared in Southwest Review, Sewanee Review, and The Hudson Review.
NAJAT EL HACHMI was born in 1979 in Beni Sidel in the Rif Valley. She emigrated from Morocco to Catalonia with her mother at the age of eight and was brought up in the town of Vic. She has a degree in Arabic Language and Literature from Barcelona University. Her first novel, The Last Patriarch, won the Ramon Llull Prize in 2008 and the Prix Ulysse. She has since published two more novels about the experience of migration—La filla extrangera and Mare de llet i meL; neither has yet been translated. A fourth novel, The Body Hunter, focuses on a young Catalan woman’s experience of love and sexual desire.
DENNIS FINNELL'S most recent book of poems is Ruins Assembling, winner of the 2014 Things To Come Poetry Prize. His book Red Cottage won the Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press. His next two books, Belovèd Beast and The Gauguin Answer Sheet, were selected for the Contemporary Poetry Series from the University of Georgia Press. He has received grants and fellowships from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, and the MacDowell Foundation, and teaches at Greenfield Community College, where he also served as codirector of Financial Aid.
CONCHA GARCÍA is the author of thirteen books of poetry, most recently Las Proximidades, El día anterior al momento de quererle, Acontecimiento, and Diálogos de la Hetaira. She has won the Premio de Poseía Aula Negra, Premio Gil de Biedma, and Premio Barcarola de Poesía. García is the co-founder of Aula de Poesía de Barcelona and the president of the Asociación Mujeres y Letras. Born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1956, she lives in Barcelona, which has been her home since childhood.
STUART GREENHOUSE is the author of the chapbook What Remains. His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in Boulevard, Notre Dame Review, and Tupelo Quarterly.
BENJAMIN S. GROSSBERG is director of Creative Writing at the University of Hartford. His books include Space Traveler and Sweet Core Orchard, winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. His chapbook, An Elegy, was recently published by Jacar Press.
MICHAEL HURLEY is from Pittsburgh. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Sycamore Review, New Delta Review, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, FIELD, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Wooden Boys, is available from Seven Kitchens Press.
ALLISON HUTCHCRAFT'S poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Cincinnati Review, Barrow Street, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other journals. A recent fellowship recipient from the North Carolina Arts Council, she teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
C.A. (CÉSAR-AUGUST) JORDANA (1893– 1958) did the first translation of Virginia Woolf into Catalan, Mrs. Dalloway, as well as translating a wide range of authors from D. H. Lawrence and Shakespeare to Voltaire and Mark Twain. A militant socialist intellectual and an activist on behalf of the Catalan language in the 1930s, he was forced into exile in 1939 and spent most of the rest of his life in Buenos Aires. He is credited with writing the first noir and the first erotic novel in Catalan. His work is now being rediscovered: his impressions of the 1938 blitz on Barcelona and his masterpiece, El mòn de Joan Ferrer, a melancholy fiction of exile in the Argentine capital.
LAURE KATSAROS is professor of French at Amherst College. She specializes in nineteenth-century French literature, culture, and material culture. She is the author of two books, Un nouveau monde amoureux: prostituées et célibataires au dix-neuvième siècle and New York-Paris: Whitman, Baudelaire, and the Hybrid City. In 2014–2015, she studied the history and philosophy of design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design with the support of a New Directions grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She has recently completed a manuscript entitled Glass Architecture: Charles Fournier and the Utopia of Self-Surveillence.
SALLY ROSEN KINDRED is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters and No Eden. She has received two Individual Artist Awards in poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in the Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, and Kenyon Review Online.
CHRISTOPHER KONDRICH is the author of Contrapuntal. He is the winner of the Iowa Review Award for Poetry and The ParisAmerican Reading Series Prize. His new poetry appears or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Third Coast, Typo, and Web Conjunctions. He is an associate editor of 32 Poems.
GABRIELLA KURUVILLA is a writer, journalist, and painter born in Milan to an Indian father and Italian mother. She has published the novels Media chiara e noccioline (as Viola Chandra) and Milano, fin qui tutto bene; the children’s book Questa non è una baby-sitter; and the story collection È la vita, dolcezza.
ROSA LANE is author of three poetry collections including Chouteau’s Chalk, winner of the 2017 Georgia Poetry Prize, forthcoming; Tiller North, winner of the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award; and Roots and Reckonings, a chapbook. Most recently, Lane’s work won the 2018 William Matthews Poetry Prize. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Chattahoochee Review, Cutthroat, Nimrod, RHINO Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere.
MICHAEL LAVERS'S poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2015, Arts & Letters, 32 Poems, Hudson Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. He is the winner of the 2016 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize. He teaches poetry at Brigham Young University.
MARA FAYE LETHEM is a writer and translator whose work has been featured in Granta, Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, The Guardian, and El País, among others. Her translation of Patricio Pron’s Don’t Shed Your Tears for Anyone Who Lives on These Streets is forthcoming from Knopf.
HENRY LYMAN'S work has appeared in Dark Horse, The Nation, The New York Times, Poetry, and other periodicals. His poetry collection, The Land Has Its Say, was published by Open Field Press in 2015, and the Elizabeth Press published two books of his translations of the Estonian poet Aleksis Rannit. He edited Robert Francis’s new and uncollected poems, Late Fire, Late Snow, and an anthology of New England poetry, After Frost.
JILL MAIO'S work has appeared in Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Third Coast, among other journals. Her story “Tallying,” published in the Los Angeles Review, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a 2018 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowship in Fiction. Also a professional aerialist, she is the founder/ director of an aerial arts school in Boston.
M.L. MARTIN is a poet and translator whose recent work can be found, or is forthcoming, in DIAGRAM, Denver Quarterly, ANMLY (f.k.a. Drunken Boat), and The Literary Review. She is the recipient of the Theresa A. Wilhoit Fellowship, the Bread Loaf Translators’ Fellowship, and the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry, and is currently a Literary Fellow at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship in Tulsa, OK.
JUAN MENESES is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he teaches courses on global literature and visual studies, and is also a translator.
DEVON MILLER-DUGGAN has published in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, and Gargoyle. She teaches creative writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall, Neither Prayer, Nor Bird, and Alphabet Year.
GENNA ROSE NETHERCOTT'S book The Lumberjack’s Dove was selected by Louise Glück as a winner of the National Poetry Series for 2017. Her other recent projects include A Ghost of Water (with printmaker Susan Osgood) and the narrative song collection Modern Ballads. She is the recipient of a 2018 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. She tours nationally and internationally composing poems-to-order for strangers on an antique typewriter, and is the founder of The Traveling Poetry Emporium, an itinerant team of poets-for-hire.
CAITLIN O'NEIL'S short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Masters Review, Calyx, Calliope, Beloit Fiction Journal, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She won the Ninth Letter Prize in Fiction, the Women Who Write International Prize, and a fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
VICTORIA OFFREDI POLETTO was born and raised in England and Italy of Italian parents and has resided in the USA for the past thirty-five years. For twenty years she taught Italian as Senior Lecturer at Smith College. Since her retirement in 2007 she has collaborated with her colleague Giovanna Bellesia in translating a variety of works, both online and for publication, by immigrant women to Italy, more recently Cristina Ali Farah’s Madre piccola and Gabriella Ghemandi’s Regina dei fiori e di perle.
LEAH POOLE OSOWSKI is the author of hover over her, chosen by Adrian Matejka for the 2015 Wick Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Review, jubilat, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere, and her nonfiction has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, and Quarterly West. She has received fellowships from Image Journal’s Glen Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center.
ERIC SCHLICH is the author of Quantum Convention, winner of the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. His stories have appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Electric Literature, Redivider, and other journals. He lives in Dunkirk, NY, and teaches at SUNY Fredonia.
WARD SCHUMAKER is an artist known in particular for his hand-painted, one-of-akind books. An unintended and fortuitous viewing of one––a collection of quotes from the mouth of Donald Trump––resulted in the publication of Hate Is What We Need, available from Chronicle Books. Schumaker is represented by the Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco.
MIKA SEIFERT is a concert violinist and writer whose short stories have been published in Southern Review, Antioch Review, Image Journal, Chicago Review, and elsewhere.
LAURA WILLWERTH lives in Western Massachusetts and has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Massachusetts Review, and Cosmonauts Avenue, and her chapbook, Trump It: Words I Found on the Right, was published by Factory Hollow Press. She received a 2018 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
JODY WINER'S poetry has appeared in Epoch, Massachusetts Review, Open City, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Spoon River Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, South Carolina Review, and Mudfish. She has won fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.