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A Public Space

Bookstores are not a dependable resource in the suburbs.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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The 5 Best Childbirth Scenes in Contemporary Literature

So little fiction has been written about one of the most common of human experiences: childbirth.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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The Carnival of Kid Baseball

As folklorists will tell you, rituals associated with the life cycle are transformative, and these baseball chants steer the boys through a particular stage in life and sport. They seem, however, completely oblivious to their own growing up, to the ways in which this world of ours ushers them into the carnival and gives them a mask to wear. In the late afternoon, with another three hours to kill before bracket play begins, the boys stage their own subversive baseball game, a carnival within a carnival—far from the watchful authority of parents and coaches, who are, anyway, stretched out in low-slung chairs under open tents, sapped by the sun and the sheer noise of it all.

Posted in Essays

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We All Must Live by the Rules

Literature, read on the sly, gave the author her first taste of the strange world of that mysterious being, the adult.  From Issue 63, Rejection.  What I remember is a park in Boise, a summer picnic in the late 1960s, and my father lurching to a stop on the sidewalk to let a girl pass. […]

Posted in Essays, From the Magazine, From The Vault, General

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Six Ghost Stories

Ghosts in literature are often treated like hybrid elements: part character, part plot device, part setting.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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Shit from the Sea

This was the rancid sea slug at the center of Lindbergh’s beautiful, whorled book: this idea that somehow separation, an embrace of solitude is the path toward joy. For me, it was the source of my life’s greatest anguish. A Gift from the Sea gave best-selling bonafides to my mother’s notion that she was an island, an island too small for the two of us. Thanks to this goddamn book, I had been cast away.

Posted in Essays, Lost & Found

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The Divine Magnet: Melville’s Letters to Hawthorne

This month sees the release from Orison Books and editor Mark Niemeyer of a collection of Herman Melville’s letters to Nathaniel Hawhthorne, under the title The Divine Magnet. The ensuing epistolary bromance covers a range of topics, and in his introduction to the book, novelist Paul Harding pays a particular attention to faith in the lives […]

Posted in Essays, Excerpts

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Tonglen

Helpful Buddhist Practices for Mothers of Addicts

Posted in Essays

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A Witch is a Witch is a Witch

Yesterday was the first day of Spring, marked by the Spring Equinox, a complicated astronomical event and a perhaps even more complicated Wiccan holiday. What better time to dive along with Alex Mar into the history and personality of celebrated 20th century witch Doreen Valiente? The following essay appears in our current issue, Faith. One […]

Posted in Essays

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The Pork Chop: Navigating an Interfaith Marriage

We still get a Christmas tree. We still light the menorah. My husband continues to prepare pork chops with a sense of ritual and familiarity that must feel like coming home. The kids have grown up—now 23 and 19—one bar mitzvahed, the other a devout atheist–and are free to make religious commitments of their own.

Posted in Essays, General

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Unity, Faith, Discipline

The following appears in the current issue of Tin House, Faith. Writing about the subject of faith in a country named for faith, founded upon faith, with faith as the central word of its national motto, is, shall we say, a somewhat fraught endeavor. I have for the past six years again lived in Pakistan, […]

Posted in Essays, General

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The Hand Has Twenty-Seven Bones

As you may have noticed, we’re having some good old fashioned website problems. We’re working on restoring the content we lost (including the online excerpts from our new Faith Issue and the last few months of blog material. We’ll try to have your favorite recent Art of the Sentence, Lost & Found, and Flash Fridays posts up […]

Posted in Essays, General

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The Art of the Sentence: László Krasznahorkai, War & War

  “Seven children squatted in a semicircle surrounding him in the middle of the railway footbridge, almost pressing him against the barrier, just as they had done some half an hour earlier when they first attacked him in order to rob him, exactly so in fact, except by now none of them thought it worthwhile […]

Posted in Art of the Sentence, Essays

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The Art of the Sentence: Christopher Bram’s Gods and Monsters

Reading a novel, I like to live cradled not in the hands of characters but lying full out in their skins and their skulls, becoming them—though not through stream of consciousness, which has always felt to me more like the meaningless flicker of dreams than any consciousness I’ve ever known—no, I like to live in […]

Posted in Art of the Sentence, Essays

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Raising the Dead

In the story, it’s simply “the dark gaunt house on Usher’s Island,” the site of “the Misses Morkan’s annual dance.” Here, on a cold night near the end of the 19th century when “the snow was general all over Ireland,” Gabriel Conroy—a husband, a son, a father, a teacher, and an occasional book critic with […]

Posted in Essays

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Lost & Found: Cassandra Cleghorn on Kenneth Patchen’s Jazz Collaborations

For seventy-nine recorded seconds in 1957, poet Kenneth Patchen and a group of jazz musicians achieved a perfect melding of minds and biorhythms. A few years before, Patchen had begun a series of collaborations, performing and recording with the Chamber Jazz Sextet in San Francisco, the Bed of Roses Chamber Group in Seattle, the Alan […]

Posted in Essays, General, Lost & Found

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The Last Gift

January 20th, 2000, The Netherlands Believe it or not, nobody objected. Not one of us stood up in the bedroom and said, “Don’t kill him.” Neither did anybody else in the house for that matter, the cleaning lady, the unobtrusive nurse. We all accepted my father’s fate with eyes wide open and mouths shut. Imagine us […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

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Michael: An Essay

It so happens that Michael Woodcock, whose painting St. Joseph’s Day appears as the cover of The Sleep Garden, also designed the cover of my first book of poems, a lifetime ago. It’s my hope that what follows will let others know how important he was to me and to everyone who knew him.  * […]

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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Under the Aegean Moon

On the Aegean coast of Turkey, the sea casts rainbows at olive trees, and mountains stretch eagerly into the open water, creating sheltered coves. My American husband and I arrived in one of these inlets soon after our wedding in Istanbul—though we live in Brooklyn, we were married in Turkey where most of my family […]

Posted in Essays, Flash Fidelity

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On Pandering

This essay, which is featured in our forthcoming Winter issue, was originally given as a lecture during the 2015 Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop. It was met with enthusiastic applause.  Some Exposition fff Until recently I was a professor at a private liberal arts university in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, a little town located at the exact point […]

Posted in Essays, Writers' Workshops

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Sardines!

  They age well, too. Jeff Koehler on the briny pleasures of sardines, from Tin House #39: Appetites. Few things travel as well as canned sardines. The familiar flat tins end up on shop shelves in every dusty nook and far-flung cranny across the globe, as I discovered as a young, itinerate backpacker in some […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

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Haunted Reading

As I walked the eerily empty streets of downtown Spartanburg the evening before my reading, I imagined good old boys morphing into slimy reptiles, conducting human sacrifices, and wallowing in bloodbaths, their scales glistening with gore.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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Padgett Powell on Donald Barthelme

Don Barthelme once said to me, “The trouble with teaching is you spend all your time working on someone else’s rotten manuscript when you should be working on your own rotten manuscript.” This is signature Barthelme. It contains the making of a joke by repeating two syllables or two words or two phrases, at which […]

Posted in Essays, General

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St. Mark’s Bookshop

When I was 16 I discovered subculture and went at it voraciously.

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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Our Endless Numbered Days: A Summer Field Guide

How well do you think you would survive in the wild with only an axe and a knife?

Posted in Essays, Tin House Books

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