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Touch and Go
Issue #21, Fall 2004
Repression equals inspiration. So, it stands to reason that given the current climate in America, memorable art is bubbling up through chaos and anger. At Tin House we are seeing it in the crispness in the writing, in the newfound urgency of work that deeply cares about the meaning of words. A few examples: Amanda Eyre Ward's story "Why the Sky Changed" delves into the personal aftermath of 9/11, while "End of the Line," Aimee Bender's harrowing and darkly comic tale of a miniature person kept as a pet by a normal-sized man, could be read as an imperialist fable. Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Sophocles's Antigone eerily resonates today, over two millennia after it was written. And Mary Yukari Waters's "Caste System" beautifully captures the subtle interpersonal politics of a modern Japanese family. George Saunders, in an illuminating interview, talks of trusting the "hot spots" in his fiction.
Stacey Richter, Mary Yukari Waters, Andy Mozina, Marshall N. Klimasewiski, Wendy Rawlings, Aimee Bender, Carol Anshaw, Amanda Eyre Ward
CHRIST, THEIR LORD • Outside in the street, I can hear people caroling--caroling, the most odious of verbs.
CASTE SYSTEM • She still remembered her childhood here, how it had felt to board a bus or walk down a street: the baleful stares of children, the frank curiosity of vendors.
THE WOMEN WERE LEAVING THE MEN • The worst thing was no one pitied the men enough. They tried to pity each other, but they repelled each other.
THE THIRD HOUSE • He said, 'I'm making toast here, Henry, and we have some apple butter--will you join me?' but it was as if he had said, 'My sons died young, Henry, and my wife is an invalid--can you imagine?'
BERRIES ON THE VINE • She claimed to love a woman named Pattie. Pattie had a husband, too. It was ludicrous.
END OF THE LINE • 'You're mine now,' he told the little man. 'I paid good money for you.'
TOUCH AND GO • If she finds out that Diane has a hobby or a vacation time-share, the fantasy will collapse in on itself; it is not a weight-bearing structure.
THE WAY THE SKY CHANGED • I had heard about the rib, of course, but I did not expect it to be at the Smiths' Christmas party. Yet there it was, on the mantel, sandwiched between a bowl of cinnamon-scented potpourri and a holly sprig.
Julianna Baggot, Philip Metres, Amy Barlett, Jeffrey Skinner, Erik Campbell, J. David Stevens
POETRY DESPISES YOUR ATTEMPTS AT DOMESTICITY
TERMITES: A CAUTION ON LOVE POETRY
ON THE OBSERVATION DECK OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
BONE MARROW HARVEST
FROM MY WINDOW
Dan Frazier, Michael Loughran
'THE EMPRESS AND THE ELEPHANT,' A NOVEL EXCERPT • She had always resisted feelings of loathing toward her family, even when they were justifiable. Here, though, Karen's hatred felt momentarily curative.
Noted story writer George Saunders talks to James Schiff about imitating his own early work, trusting the 'hot spots,' and the literary role of humor.
AN EXCERPT FROM 'THE BURIAL AT THEBES: A VERSION OF SOPHOCLES' ANTIGONE' • What are creon's rights when it comes to me and mine? The ancient question still matters.
Adam Zagajewski • Translated by Clare Cavanagh, Lucia Perillo
POETRY AND DOUBT • Polish writer Zagajewski compares the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz and the diaries of Emil Cioran--two contemporaries whit profoundly opposing philosophies.
SICK FUCK • The body fails everyone eventually, but some more spectacularly than others. What happens to sex when there are machines inside and out?
Lost and Found:
David Lehman, John Rowell, Frank Bures, Montana Wojczuk, P. Genesius Durica
On David Goodis's Black Friday
On Iris Owens's After Claude
On Pramoedya Ananta Toer's Whispered Stories on Buru
On Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner
On Angela Carter's translation of The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
IN A CROWDED KITCHEN: A CULINARY AND LITERARY PORTRAIT OF GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE • The poet and Lucullan epicure banished at least one lover from his Paris garret over an inferior risotto.