Portland/Brooklyn

Issue #53, Fall, 2012

When we started Tin House fourteen years ago, we had the crazy notion to be bicoastal. Not in Manhattan and LA, as everyone then assumed, but in Portland and Brooklyn. We wanted to tap into the long-standing vitality of both cultural centers. Alive and vibrant with independent artists, writers, and musicians, they were also at the forefront of thinking about what it means to be a sustainable modern city. Nearly fifteen years later, to our delight and dismay, both places have become cliche cool. With this issue, we wanted to step back, cut through the hype and the ridicule, and give our readers a sampling of what attracted us to these places in the first place, and what continues to excite us. There is no one Portland, no one Brooklyn, and we don't intend for this to be the definitive record of their writing, art, and music. Our aim is not to memorialize, but to stop time briefly to show you the ever-evolving dynamism of these cities.

A note about the digital versions: If you read on a Kindle, use the Mobipocket edition; for all other e-readers, use the ePub edition. 

Print orders ship free by media mail.

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Vanessa Veselka

JUST BEFORE ELENA • Ten years of punk shows, basement parties, and having sex with all the same people should have been enough to break the ice

Adam Wilson

DECEMBER BOYS GOT IT BAD • Lawrence and I have lost our jobs. We walk the bridge toward Brooklyn, where it's cool to be poor

Hannah Tinti

BULLET NUMBER TWO • Behind his seat was a 20-guage Remington shotgun, a 9 mm Beretta, a Sig Sauer pistol, and seven thousand dollars

Ursula K. Le Guin

ELEMENTALS • We breathe air, but a very different element, the earth, gives us support. This might explain the apparent duality of human nature

CJ Hauser

THE SHAPESHIFTER PRINCIPLE • Joey lost his sight when he was eight, and if it weren't for Daphne and me he'd live without lamps at all

John Haskell

ALL TOO REAL • He feels that he knows her, and that they should know each other, and they run off down the beach, playing tag

Whitney Otto

CYMBELINE IN LOVE, OR THE UNMADE BED • It was flattering to be told that she understood him so well. She was an artist, he said. He said, You are my kind

Willy Vlautin

LORNA • Years passed before he got off the road and started falling apart outside of Phoenix, Arizona

Marina Weiss

AN IPSWICH OF SYLVIA PLATH'S CHILDHOOD

Crystal Williams

CANCER RISING
POINT OF IMPACT

Lisa Ciccarello

AT NIGHT, THE DEAD, THE PERFECT INSIDE IS OUTSIDE:
AT NIGHT, THE DARK HAS A SOUND:

Bianca Stone

SENSITIVITY TO SOUND
I SAW THE DEVIL IN HIS NEEDLEWORK

Mary Szybist

ANNUNCIATION CAST AS FARRAH AND MICHAEL

Jae Choi NEW VOICE

3' X 9.9999

Caitlin Vance

WINTER LANDSCAPE AFTER BETRAYAL
LETTER OF COMPLAINT TO A DEAD GRANDFATHER

Jon Raymond

THE BROADWAY GANG • Occupy Portland's odd couple, the buttoned-up NPR liberal and the city's grungy gutter punk, showed us some things never change

Evan Hughes

CONSIDER THE GENTRIFIER • Brooklyn's explosion of hipster hebetude has the hipster-haters trying to hate themselves a little less

Cheston Knapp

FACES OF PAIN • Hit the mat with Portland's premiere independent wrestling outfit

Charles D'Ambrosio

TRUE BELIEVER • No entry—no exit from Brooklyn

Pauls Toutonghi

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND • Investigating the (tall) tales told about Portland's Shanghai Tunnels

Dunja Jankovic

BREATHER

Sakura Mau

PIGEON BUMS BURNING BRIGHT

Paul Collins

ON STEFANA YOUNG'S Portland's Little Red Book of StairsGet lost! Explore some of the city's hidden and charming 'vertical thoroughfares'

Christopher Sorrentino

ON WALLACE MARKFIELD • The Brooklyn writer found infinite linguistic inventiveness in the syntax and cadence of Yiddish-inflected English

Ryan Healey

ON THOMAS GLYNN'S The Building'Brooklyn is like a guy I saw in Sunset Park getting his leg sawed off'

David Naimon

ON PHILIP ROTH'S My Life as a ManA feverish summer fling in Portland led to the evisceration of this forgotten masterpiece

J.W. McCormack

ON JAMES PURDY • The Genet of the jazz scene remembered by his amanuensis

Salma Abdelnour

HOME TO BEIRUT ON BROOKLYN'S R TRAIN • Hungry for a helping of mouthwatering man'ouche, the author ambulates around Bay Ridge

Karen Karbo

IN SEARCH OF LOST PANCAKE • A German pancake by any other name—a Dutch baby, a Mismarck, a Dutch puff, a Poffertje, or an Apfelpfannkuchen—would taste as sweet