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Issue #5, Fall 2000
In this issue we feature Kevin Canty's haunting story "Red Dress," as well as an illuminating interview with Ha Jin, the Chinese emigré whose novel Waiting won the National Book Award and Nation Book Critics Circle Award. There are pilgrimages to Zanzibar and to "Little Audrey," a comatose teenager in Worcester, Massachusetts, whom many Catholics believe is a "victim's soul" and a saint. We also feature excerpts from the recently unsealed diaries of Sylvia Plath. There's also new work from China's leading dissident poet, Bei Dao, electrifying poetry discovery Ben Doyle, along with Frederick Turner's visceral retracing of Henry Miller's culinary Paris.
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Kevin Canty, Sarah Towers, Nancy Reisman
RED DRESS • But everything after that was in code, ambiguous, the silences full of unasked questions.
BLACK WIZARD • 'Gerard, what the hell are you doing?'
ILLUMINATION • The fantasies multiply, despite Lucia's long hemlines and safe necklines and careful office behavior.
Ben Doyle, Allison Dubinsky, Max Ludington
RECESS IN THE FOREST
THE WAR IS OVER
THAW • For the first time in about half a year the slow, muscular body of his addiction began to stir in him.
Donald Hall, Tomaž Šalamun, Gardner McFall, Julio Marzán, Bei Dao, Edward Nobles, Jane Hirshfield
SONNET OF A FACE
AUNT MERCEDES AND PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS
THE OLD CASTLE
IN PRAISE OF COLDNESS
Andrew Motion, Sylvia Plath
KEATS, THE PRE-RAPHAELITES AND THE TORIES
Long the subject of intense speculation, the poet speaks for herself in her unabridged journals.
The Chinese émigré and winner of this year's National Book Award for his novel Waiting talks with Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais about the uncertainty and risk of writing in an adopted language.
Ann Hood, Jane Avrich
LITTLE AUDREY • The 'Victim's Soul' of Worcester.
ZANZIBAR • It is here that he intends to find you again.
Lost & Found:
David Leavitt, Patrick McGrath, Adina Hoffman, David Ryan, C.M. Mayo, Jim Zug
WILLIAM PLOMER'S MUSEUM PIECES • David Leavitt celebrates E.M. Forster-mentor, William Plomer, a prolific writer of poetry and prose whose now-out-of-print books sell for as much as a thousand dollars each on the antiquarian market.
On Nigel Balchin's Darkness Falls from the Air, a suave British novel full of boozing, infidelity, and stiff upper lips in the face of the London Blitz.
On South from Grenada and The Face of Spain by Gerald Brenan, a keen writer-of-place and superb painter of verbal portraits for whom Spain was a constant inspiration.
On the literary elegance of British novelist Henry Green, a writer's writer as idiosyncratic and transcendent as Celine and Faulkner.
On Frances Calderón de la Barca's Life in Mexico, a 1843 memoir that reads like a novel, with colorful details that spill forth like candy from a just-broken piñata.
On the grand old lady of British writing, Doris Lessing, and the first of her 34 books, The Grass Is Singing, a tale of sexual tension and murder in apartheid South Africa.
A Readable Feast:
THE UNTAMED HEART AT LARGE: HENRY MILLER IN PARIS • Longtime Paris connoisseur, Frederick Turner, delves into the lowbrow Paris of Henry Miller, retracing the steps of the down but not out American writer who knew how to scrounge a good meal on the cheap.
BEAT THE HEAT • Rich King battles Manhattan's summer swelter, finding the ultimate relief in a spicy mix of fizz and julep.
The Last Word:
THE LAUGHING FISH • The noted essayist and translator on how fish just don't get the joke.