Inside: Amy Peterson on the literature of the Anthropocene. Amy Leach’s lyrical meditation on the pros and cons of materialism and immaterialism. Khaled Mattawa on groundwater pollution, Syria, and Japanese formal poetry. Extremely short stories by Diane Williams, master of that form, and much more.
The Glen Workshop
Registration is now OPEN for the 2020 Glen Workshop (July 26 – August 1) in Santa Fe, NM!
When photos of a million horrors
made the papers, a million eyes stopped
and stared, the way a glass of water stares,
and the railcar around it coming to rest.
The shooter was a loner—they always are—
but to the bullied and confused, he just
might be the one who understands . . .
Why pray for the dead if not for this,
for God’s speed on their journey, home,
beneath the burden of the proof they bear.
We’re the seeds our mothers have been planting. If
X marks the spot, let’s dig up the whole alphabet.
When I tilt the cup
it drains like a face.
Of course complicating considerations can occur with the immaterial, too, as you might be into time and gravity but not augury or angels—or you might be into some angels, like the six-winged amber ones, but not the messenger of death.
This silence before
love pulls itself
the current of its own
longing, is the most terrible
silence I know.
The kettle begins to sing
the one note of its one song.
The day becomes itself beyond
the glass of the kitchen window.
not in weakness, but in tender
resolution to give way, be broken. . .
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New Year met me somewhat sad:
Old Year leaves me tired,
Stripped of favourite things I had
Baulked of much desired:
Yet farther on my road to-day
God willing, farther on my way.
There was the DC of my dreams. More specifically, there was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It opened before my ninth year; I was anxious, even impatient, to tour it and view photographs of the event that had captured my imagination ever since my mother had pressed a certain young girl’s diary into my hands.
“You once said that if you didn’t write, you’d wash your hands all day. This is true for me too, though it manifests itself in other ways: list-making, organizing, cleaning until I see disorder in every inch of my house. Writing becomes a compulsive behavior too, a way of finding clarity, of moving through the pain into something beautiful.”
On praying with the grandmothers of Florence: “I suspect that they have mostly accepted their religion as something like an arranged marriage to a nice-enough guy—a situation they didn’t choose but that nonetheless offers its comforts—rather than how I tend to conduct my relationship with God: like a tanking romance with a guy who can’t understand what I’m so worked up about, again.”
In Sonja Livingston’s latest essay collection, The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion, faith feels more like a long, slow undertow than a lightning bolt. She spoke with Steven Wingate on how essays find their form, helping students find their material, and making her way back to church.
A poet, Christle is pleasingly roving and idiosyncratic as she assembles and parses, ponders and distills the science of tears, the length of a cry, Sylvia Plath, elephant emotions, Ovid, Kent State, Ross Gay, Silas Mitchell, and the Bas Jan Ader film, I’m Too Sad to Tell You (among other things) into miniature packets of white-space interrupted prose.