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Our America

John Lewis's America

- By Tad Bartlett

Photo: Selma High School students (l-r) Grady Broadnax, Fatima Salaam, Tad Bartlett, Jacinta Lake Thomas, and Malika Sanders Fortier, on the steps of the Selma Board of Education building, January 8, 1990. Patricia Cavanaugh McCarter, photographer.  

I was six when my family moved to Selma, Alabama, during the recession that closed out the 1970s. My dad had gotten a job at a paper mill down in the piney woods of Clark County, and Selma, almost an hour north, was the big town, at the time almost 24,000 people, with grocery stores and a decent public schools system, so we settled in.

Selma’s public schools had finally integrated in 1970, just eight years before we moved there. The Selma we moved to was...


10 Questions for Eugenio Volpe

- By Edward Clifford

By the age of eight, I had heard all the horror stories about my father.

I had heard the one about him literally putting his fist through a cop's face. I had heard the one about him sending a badass Irish gangster into convulsions with a single jab. And who hadn't heard the navy tale about Tony Volpe punching his chief petty officer with a bottle of San Miguel in hand, punching him repeatedly, even after the bottle had burst, punching with the jagged end, again and again, disfiguring the man's face and permanently blinding one eye.
─from "Jesus Kicks His Oedipus Complex," from Volume 61, Issue 2 (Summer 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My grandfather immigrated from Abruzzo, Italy to Quincy,...


A Gaucho Novel for the Twenty-First Century

- By Manuela Borzone

(A Review of Gabriela Cabezón Cámara's The Adventures of China Iron, translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre. Charco Press, 2020)

Back in February, the International Booker Prize, which recognizes the best novel translated into English published in the UK or Ireland, announced its longlist of novels competing for this year’s award. The list included The Adventures of China Iron, written by the Argentinian Gabriela Cabezón Cámara in 2016 and translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre. In April...

Our America

His Way with Words

- By Ward Schumaker

Donald Trump finds some stiff competition in the words of former presidents:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident...” Thomas Jefferson
“A house divided against itself cannot stand...” Abraham Lincoln.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick...” Theodore Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear...” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“The buck stops here...” Harry S. Truman
“Ask not what your country can do for you...” John F. Kennedy

And so many others.

Yet Donald has a way with words, a way like no other. No matter how often we might assume we’ve already heard his best, he still manages to awaken us each day with some even more amazing statement on Twitter.

We may be...

The Next Best Thing

To Do Justice to the Experience

- By Jim Hicks

Melanerpes carolinus. Photo: Toni Herkalokoch, for the Audobon Society

To capture a life in words is not possible, especially when words were—more than anything thing else—the very stuff of that life. It seems to me, then, that only one way could pass for close to adequate in remembering the journalist, translator, and activist Frederika Randall: to pass along as many of her own words as possible. For those of you who knew her, her voice will be unmistakeable; for those not so fortunate, you will gain a least a bit of what we’ve lost.

I should start, then, by noting that I myself only got to know Frederika five years ago, in January 2015. Encouraged by Margaret Carson and Alex Zucker from the PEN Translation Committe, I wrote to...

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