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Grow Your Own

Seeing as that it’s April 20th, we thought we’d celebrate with a preview of Grow Your Own, our forthcoming guide to understanding, cultivating, and enjoying cannabis.

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Imagine All the People: The Case for Utopian Writing in the Age of Trump

It is the worst of times and it is the worst of times. It is the age of foolishness, as well as the epoch of incredulity, the season of Darkness, the winter of despair. We have four long years before us, we have nothing before us. We are all going direct to Hell. In short, […]

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The Reincarnation of Snowball Dirty-Ears

When I was ten years old, my best friend Marika called my house on Easter morning to tell me that her pet rabbit had died.

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Lost & Found: Adam Wilson on John Berryman’s Recovery

What is it about Recovery that’s so scary? And why, in our voyeuristic culture, where buzzwords like suicide and addiction spell entry into Oprah’s Book Club and tortured genius is the stuff of Best Adapted Screenplays, is no one reading this novel?

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Two Scenarios Involving Manuel G. Villarreal, 1969-1970

Biên Hòa, Vietnam: 1969 After a week of trying to stomach the gnaw of a toothache, my father checks himself into the dental clinic on base. X-rays and an oral exam reveal an abscess rotting his back molar. The dentist refers to the defective tooth by a number and pumps a pedal to lower the […]

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Loud in the Time of Chaos

Noise. It’s killing.

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Lost & Found: Kate Schmier on Art and Laurie Pepper

“I realized from that moment on, I would be, if you want to use the word, a junkie,” wrote legendary jazz saxophonist Art Pepper of his first time using heroin in 1950. “That’s what I practiced; and that’s what I still am. And that’s what I will die as—a junkie.”

These words appear about a quarter of the way into Pepper’s explosive memoir, Straight Life, a 500-page tome that defies conventional narratives about addiction. Unlike so many tales of this genre—and I’ve read many—Straight Life offers no redemption. There is no grand epiphany. There is only the unsettling truth: Pepper’s awareness that he would be a dope fiend for the rest of his days.

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Lost & Found: Alex DiFrancesco on Stories from the Amazon

When I look deeply at mythology like that of Barbecued Husbands, or really much of the indigenous mythology of the Americas, as it wanders and takes abrupt turns and risks, I see a precursor to the works that resonate with me in modern writing. Their inventiveness is both deeply informed by and leaves behind the constraints of realism.

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When You’re a Writer Who Doesn’t Like Writing

I saw the event advertised at my local library and signed up before I could talk myself out of it.

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Bones

My parents go to Bogota and come back with an emerald and a child. I already have an older sister and a baby brother. The new child was supposed to be three but he’s seven like me. My mother tells us that during their first meal he ate a chicken leg including the bone. They didn’t realize until it was gone.

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Red Currants and “Gooseberries”

More recently, I’ve seen red currants, still attached in grapelike clusters to their delicate twiggy stems, at the farmer’s market, where they sell for the incredible price of seven dollars a half-pint. And I have bought the berries, two pints at a time, and stared at them in their green cardboard cartons, and willed that something, that enormous feeling, to come back to me: that emotion which is not quite happy and not quite unhappy, but a fragile mix of both.

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About the Cover: Yang Cao

This issue’s cover artist, Yang Cao, focuses his paintings on the capricious nature of human emotion. He abstracts his realistic figures with crowns of clouds or he removes their heads altogether. The results are at once unsettling and relatable as the tone of each painting is uncertain and the audience is left to decipher the mood. The mercurial […]

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Art in the Age of Apocalypses

Lately I have been thinking about what it means to be an artist, and what kinds of responsibilities an artist has to this world in which we live.

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Four Nan Goldin Photographs

I imagined that I could hear the clicking of the carousel, but really I couldn’t. I more or less felt it somewhere in my body though, like my heartbeat. Sitting in a dark room at the MoMA, I watched Nan Goldin’s slide show, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.” On either side of me my Art […]

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Lost & Found: Ralph Hubbell on Sabahattin Ali

No one has ever congratulated me for reading a book before, I suppose except for my first—that is not until last summer in Istanbul, when a few of my Turkish friends saw me toting around the new translation of Sabahattin Ali’s Madonna in a Fur Coat. I felt as if I was being congratulated for […]

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Abandon Me: An Excerpt

Here are the things I knew about my birth father

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There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé: A Playlist

Morgan Parker’s much anticipated poetry collection is out today, and we’ve got the tunes to go with it.

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Lost & Found: Rebecca Sonkin on Daniel Mendelsohn

I was living in Paris a few years ago when I happened into a prescient gig: videotaping interviews with adult children of child survivors of the Holocaust in France. For background, the professor overseeing the project urged me to reread The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. Reread The Lost? I had never heard of it. When […]

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Experts in the Field

“What I really want to say is that all of these things happened to me, that none of it was okay, that I didn’t deserve any of it, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. But the truth is it has all diminished me, silenced me, terrified me, and shamed me. We know, don’t we, that men, especially those in positions of power, try to hurt, tame and control what they fear, and cannot or will not try to understand. And we trust that women, individually and especially together, are tremendously powerful. If ever there was a time to disregard those who won’t believe our stories, now is the time to speak very plainly about the behavior of those men who assume we’ll be swept away by their poetry, or politics, before we understand what’s happened. Says James Baldwin: “The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim…she has become a threat.”

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In Praise of the Interweaver: An Essay

‘Multi-stranded’, ‘polyvocal’, ‘perspective-shifting’ – call it what you will, but to my mind, a novel that consists of various narrative strands braiding together to form a glorious, elegantly-crafted whole, will always be best-described as an ‘Interweaver’. I have just published my first ‘Interweaver’, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, and I decided to take the […]

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Lost & Found: Marcia DeSanctis on Graham Greene

I wasn’t officially banned from the Winchester Public Library in the spring of 1976, but for a few weeks, I stayed away. Mrs. Barger, who worked the checkout desk, had discovered me on the back stairs after hours with one hand dangling a Newport Light and the other inside Billy Doyle’s jeans. She knew and […]

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On Virtue

For a while, I sleep with a man from Uzbekistan, because he’s as far from the person my mother would choose for me—a Lutheran, Minnesotan farmer—as possible. We make polite conversation. He says his brother is a private investigator of murders, his favorite dish is horse meat, and his mother wants to arrange his marriage.

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Celebration #50

We sat, sipped from the same straw, and didn’t talk much except to wonder at the heat and puzzle over why the wine wouldn’t get us drunk, why nothing was strong enough anymore. I bought us one more bottle and that was it for the cash. “Happy birthday,” Sunny Dee said, and I gave her the last blue swallow.

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Topknots and Vaseline

I have these fantasies of an unknown flag draped around my shoulders— loyalty for the oblique, repping for the pre-defeated, running toward this pacing mercenary who has every intent to kill me. Someone is screaming my name and it’s the voice of my mother, or a dead friend. Doesn’t matter—they’re all looking for me now. Someone takes off my shirt because I can’t with gloves on. All around me, dark figures congregate. Someone is rubbing my eyes and blowing gently. Someone kisses my forehead. There is music. Chanting and opalescence. Bets are being made. My sister is there—she’s hanging onto the cage, yelling our family name. I never see who I fight, but I’ve felt her pace. I’ve tapped gloves on that heat and walked away.

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Some Form of Punishment

I know. It’s just an eating disorder. Or “disordered eating,” as I’ve been taught to say. But when women can’t choose what to do with their bodies, they find a way to choose.

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