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Issue #3, Winter 1999
Continuing our formula of having no formula, Issue 3 features a previously unpublished interview with the satirist Dawn Powell, the brilliant chronicler of bohemian New York from the thirties through the sixties. There are also profiles of blacklisted writer John Sanford and Mian Mian, mainland China's underground literary sensation whose transgressive writing about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll has caused her to be dubbed the Poster Child for Spiritual Pollution. Tin House 3 offers nothing millennial, but does contain profound meditations on mortality by poet Yehuda Amichai, a chilling story by Amy Hempel, and possibly the only thing that could unite Jane Austen, Alice B. Toklas and Erskine Caldwell—apple pie. The cover story, "The Devil is a Poet," is by one of this century's most fabulous poets and essayists, Charles Simic, who undertakes a pilgrimage into the heart of Hieronymus Bosch's Temptation of Saint Anthony, divining the comedy and horror inherent in art, poetry, and faith.
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Amy Hempel, Mian Mian, John Sanford, Lisa Zeidner, J. Robert Lennon
BEACH TOWN • 'I didn't have to hide to listen.'
AN EXCERPT FROM CANDY • 'I am every mother's nightmare.'
AN EXCERPT FROM A PALACE OF SILVER • 'But most painful, most piercing, was a sight of what she'd worn.'
CHOSEN PEOPLE • 'To commit a sexual act in the face of death was therefore not sacrilege but sanctimony.'
MAILMAN • 'Words like 'mail fraud' and 'mandatory sentencing' pass through his mind.'
James Conrad, Chin Ho Chong
ROAD • 'A high-school English teacher only has so many chances in life to get out, and I took mine the moment it came.'
Pattiann Rogers, Yehuda Amichai, Nicholas Christopher, Marge Piercy, Ed Ochester, David Lehman, Celia Gilbert
ALL THE MOTIONS AND POSITIONS
LIFE IS CALLED LIFE
AND WHAT IS MY LIFE SPAN?
MEMORIES OF GROUP THEATRE • The final, never-before-published interview with Dawn Powell, one of the greatest comic novelists of the twentieth century, on her ill-fated collaboration with Stella Adler and the Group Theatre in 1932.
Jonathan Napack, Neil Gordon
CRUEL CITIES • Jonathan Napack profiles China's 'Poster Child for Spiritual Pollution,' the Chinese Gen-X cult sensation Mian Mian, author of 'Candy' (excerpted on page 26), who is openly transgressive both in her personal life and on the page.
VISITING MR. SANFORD • Neil Gordon profiles John Sanford, the ninety-four-year-old contemporary of Nathanael West, a prolific realist and outspoken leftist known for his defiance of McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee.
Charles Simic, Lynne Tillman
THE DEVIL IS A POET • The poet ventures to Lisbon's Museu de Arte Antiga to lose himself in the surreal universe of the sixteenth-century triptych 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony.'
DESPERATELY SEEKING JANE AND PAUL BOWLES • Swirling sands, camels, vicious lovers, the Bowleses had it all going on. Tillman goes in search of father figure Paul Bowles.
Lost & Found:
Frank Bures, Gerald Howard, Robert Polito, John Frederick Moore, Sallie Tisdale, Eddie Little
On the lost brother, Shiva Naipaul. V.S. Naipaul won the war of sibling rivalry on the battleground of fame and letters. But was his younger brother Shiva the better writer?
On The Honey Badger, by Robert Ruark. This vivid portrait of a suave 1950s literary cad finds the author's self-important alter-ego, Alec Barr, gliding through life with enviable ease and panache.
On Michael Edwards' Priscilla, Elvis and Me: In the Shadow of the King. In his memoir, Edwards--a vainglorious ex-model and former Priscilla Presley boy toy--proves that his obsession with the King is as grand as his obsession with himself.
On David Bradley's 1981 PEN/Faulkner Award winner The Chaneysville Incident, which tells the powerful story of a black historian on a quest to uncover the buried evil of his hometown.
On Robert Paul Smith's Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. The charming, pitch-perfect 1958 children's classic is still as sharp and relevant as the day it was written.
On Alex Abella's The Killing of the Saints. Raymond Chandler with a Latin beat, this fast-aced, hard-boiled mystery follows two Cuban practitioners of Santeria accused of a cold-blooded massacre in Los Angeles's Hispanic community.
A Readable Feast:
THE APPLE OF THEIR EYES • Sara Perry finds that Jane Austen, Alice B. Toklas, and Erskine Caldwell all baked a mean apple pie.
The Last Word:
SICK ART • The author is truly revolted by art from around the world.