In this hopeful issue, we interview South African Breyten Breytenbach, the prolific poet, playwright, essayist, and painter who was imprisoned under the apartheid regime and who now continues to create work in France. Lorrie Moore, one of our nation’s most astute and sliest writers, talks to Tin House senior editor Michelle Wildgen about the subversive uses of humor and wordplay. If the goal of an artist is to solve the problems of being alive, Abigail Thomas, in her fiction and memoirs, does so succinctly and powerfully. Here, “Nana’s” well-earned comfort and complacency are threatened by an old friend. We also include the poetry and journal entires of Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian poet and national hero who passed away last year, but whose singular, global voice will continue to resonate now and, hopefully, through time. We live in hope.
If you’re not seized by dread you’re not paying attention. So, eyes forward. There is much to dread in this issue. Embracing the side of fear and loathing, Ander Monson and Nick Cave wallow in the fictional depths of despair and depravity, while Matthea Harvey and Deborah Landau plumb the poetic dark heart. It is the job of the artist to show things as they truly are, and, even having someone in the White House who can spell, it is truly a dreadful time to be alive. So, please, take a deep breath and brace yourself for the dreadful truth
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