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Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See

Karen Joy Fowler is probably best known for her 2005 saucy, satirical bestseller The Jane Austen Book Club, published by Plume and made into a film, although her just published novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, has garnered fabulous reviews and should be headed for prizes. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is strange, dark and wondrous, qualities in […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

An Introduction to Athene Palace: Hitler’s “New Order” Comes to Rumania

The U.S. pub date for the new edition of R. G. Waldeck’s Athene Place was Sunday, September 15th.

Posted in Essays

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Eat the World: From Iceland to Amsterdam

The Reykjavik Airport at 6:15am, I sleep on and off against my backpack. Drool pools against the fabric of my jacket-made-pillow in the shape of what kind of Rorschach ink blot? Wings, it appears to me, or something that flies. My skin is soft from a dip in the Blue Lagoon: a sulfur and algae […]

Posted in Essays

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Just Above the Buttocks

This September marks the centenary of that seminal moment in English letters when E.M. Forster was goosed by George Merrill. It calls for celebration, parades perhaps. So much changes in that moment. A working-class man, Merrill found happiness as homemaker to socialist sage Edward Carpenter, and worked with him to create an Edwardian haven for […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 0

Outsideness, or: My Phone Says “Searching…”

The following is based on remarks delivered for the 2013 Oregon Legacy Author Series in Lincoln City, Oregon, January 2013. Speakers are asked, “How does the Oregon landscape influence your work?” One evening recently at a family gathering, I found myself alone in the living room, my four-year-old son asleep on my chest, while the […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Song of Myself: The Paradox of the Project

Song of Myself is what philosophers call a “performative” utterance (like a promise or an oath).

Posted in Essays, Poetry

Comments: 1

Grub Streets, Old and New

I thought, If the writing life is so miserable, we might as well do it in good company.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 3

My Wonder Years

In 1989, my family moved from Saigon to Quincy, Massachusetts, where I immediately began to learn essential lessons about being an American kid (hunks of stringy, dried squid were not the most appealing thing to trade during snack time at school). As I grew older, I began to foster an unconscious inclination toward narratives that […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 3

Fathers and Sons

“When I glance back at my life, all I seem to have done is chase after ridiculous things.” – Ivan Turgenev, in an 1856 letter to his friend Yelizaveta Lambert.

Posted in Essays

Comments: 4

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points

    Mrs. Finch, our born-again Christian neighbor who never gave up on trying to convert us, the only Jews she’d ever met in our militantly Protestant 1960s community, had a son my age named Kyle. When we were five, Kyle blindfolded me and took me to the outer perimeter of our back yard. He […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 13

Up Or Down: David Foster Wallace Does the Deathbed Scene

So here it is at last, the distinguished thing. —Henry James Endings matter, according to top authorities. “On whatever sphere of being the mind of man may be intent at the time of death, thither will he go,” Krishna counsels Arjuna. Dante concurs, relating in Purgatorio’s fifth canto the blessed end of Buonconte da Montefeltro, […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

Chocolates for Breakfast

This is the very best kind of story—a tale of imagined sophistication, of New York City apartments, of Hollywood has-beens, of family tragedy, of beatnik intellectuals, of private school crushes, of time traversed through fiction. Chocolates for Breakfast is an incredible novel, but the story of how it comes to exist in this form, to […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 3

Probably It’s Nothing Fancy

We cannot be in love, he tells me, because we were friends first and we have been friends for quite a long time. Since high school, he says, and I say, Eighth grade. He wore a Flogging Molly shirt to school every day and I always thought that was so stupid, because that band is […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

You Should Be Drunk Right Now

“It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.” –Charles Baudelaire For many writers, it is important to get drunk. There are many reasons for this, and I’m a strong advocate for […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

Tiny-Half-Pretend Rome Diary

September 10, 2012 Someone put my fiction in the hands of people who offered me this room in Rome, in a villa on a hill with thirty artists and scholars.  This is so removed from my experience that when I look from it—from Rome—over what I’ve known so far, my past feels almost geometric.  The […]

Posted in Essays

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Sheepshead

Continuing a weeklong celebration of some of our favorite staff contributions to the magazine over the years, Michelle Wildgen learns to play cards like sausage and discovers a Wisconsin tradition in the process. aaaa From our Games People Play issue. Something strange happened to me the second time I moved to Wisconsin. I’ve lived here […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

Comments: 1

Faces of Pain

Continuing a weeklong celebration of some of our favorite staff contributions to the magazine over the years, we bring you Cheston Knapp’s real stone cold stunner of an essay. From our Portland/Brooklyn issue (all photos by Scott Binkley). hhh Faces of Pain jjjjffff  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

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Sex & the Single Squirrel

Continuing our weeklong celebration of some of our favorite staff contributions to the magazine over the years, we get a little dirty with Elissa Schappell’s trip to a furrie convention. From our Sex Issue. *No animals were harmed in the making of this essay (we think).* hhhh Sex & The Single Squirrel gggg I have […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

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Homage to Homage

I’ve often done things backwards, not on purpose, just out of dumb bad luck.  I saw Star Wars: Episode I before A New Hope because that’s what was on TV at the time—I’m not sure if my Star Wars fan credentials will ever be entirely accepted.  Yes, I should have been better inoculated.  Similarly, I […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1

The Fiction of War

In March, the country reflected on the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq War and then moved on. As a veteran of that war, I’d like to think I moved on as well. I returned from Iraq in November 2007, left the Army in March 2009, and remained jobless for nearly a year after. I walked […]

Posted in Essays

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We Might As Well Leave Now, Fanny (An Excerpt from The Joker)

Love is the fart of every heart: It pains a man when ’tis kept close, And others doth offend, when ’tis let loose. Sir John Suckling (1609-1642) When I think of the women I have loved or almost loved, I remember the luxurious, almost lascivious, delectations of shared laughter.  When a woman and I moved […]

Posted in Essays

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Lydia Davis Dines Alone

10,000 cheers to Lydia Davis, who was awarded the Man Booker International Prize yesterday. Sir Christopher Ricks, chairman of the judges, said her “writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms […]

Posted in Essays, From The Vault

Comments: 1

Selling on the Street: The Writer as Hustler

While reading a collection of New York Times subway stories called Subwayland, I found the story of Adrian Brune. When the original article came out in 2003, Brune was twenty-seven, a recent graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and she was in the Times Square and Grand Central subway stations selling printouts of […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 2

On Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg

As I sit here at my desk in Northwest Portland, in a lime-green apartment full of skylights, sandwiched between Tin House Magazine and Tin House Books, reading the dynamic and very brave poems my grad students at Portland State are writing—I find myself thinking, in the most basic terms, about what it means to be […]

Posted in Essays, Poetry

Comments: 1

Crib Notes For Your Book Club

jjjjj As Stephen Sparks previously mentioned, a good number of us book lovers like to go around talking about novels we have never read. I mean, who has time to read The Flamethrowers when this is happening? Still, it can be a tad bit embarrassing to get caught with your literary pants down by someone […]

Posted in Essays

Comments: 1