Spring 2006

The Debut Issue! Marilynne Robinson's argument for fiction; Charles D'Ambrosio's dead fish museum; Kelly Link's origin story; Lucy Raven digs a hole to China; Antoine Wilson eavesdrops; Ian Chillag on the Buffalo Creek flood; John Haskell on Bertolt Brecht; Peter Orner on Anton Chekhov; poems by Peter Gizzi, Katia Kapovich, Melissa Monroe, and others; Japan: America Inverted, a Focus portfolio; and introducing Tim O'Sullivan.


Letter from the Editor

Issue 01 Brigid Hughes

Over the course of the past year, the recurring debate over the value of fiction seems to have intensified. Why do we read it? Why do we write it? Does it still matter?
If You See Something

Gob Damned

Issue 01 Ian Chillag

Chances are, if you lived in southern West Virginia in the middle of the twentieth century, my grandfather had his hands on you, either on your way in or your way out.
If You See Something

In Boca

Issue 01 Antoine Wilson

Hungry from travel, we hit the hotel restaurant.
If You See Something

And the Women Are Tutsi

Issue 01 Anna Deavere Smith

Hope Azeda is a beautiful woman.
If You See Something

Inspired by a True Story

Issue 01 Rick Moody

“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

The Dead Fish Museum

Issue 01 Charles D’Ambrosio

“This key isn’t working,” Ramage said.

Origin Story

Issue 01 Kelly Link

“Dorothy Gale,” she said.

Two Poems

Issue 01 Matthea Harvey

A child glanced up at her father and they named that Buttercup.


Issue 01 Katia Kapovich

My CV would be incomplete without mention / of this Russian kid with the Down syndrome / whom I taught English.

Two Poems

Issue 01 Michael Palmer

You may wonder about the name of this city we are weaving through by tram, whatever city it is we are in.

Two Poems

Issue 01 Melissa Monroe

The whiz is dying. / Seems like no one's interested / in nailing a hide.

Two Poems

Issue 01 Jeremy Glazier

His brains was exceeding capricious, anxious / corpuscular

Two Poems

Issue 01 Michael Morse

Here comes Thelonious weather, all elbows and knees
Public Access

Three Poems

Issue 01 Eamon Grennan

Might words like relish, savor, endure be a way to end the year?

A Panic that Can Still Come Upon Me

Issue 01 Peter Gizzi

If today and today I am calling aloud / If I break into pieces of glitter on asphalt

No Light

Issue 01 Peter Orner

You find yourself in Act II of Three Sisters.


Issue 01 John Haskell

The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht was first performed in 1947 at a theater on La Cienega Boulevard, and Charles Laughton played the role of the famous scientist.

An Illustrated Guide to Copper Extraction

Issue 01 Lucy Raven

A closer look at one of the two manmade locations on earth astronauts can see from the moon (and a few things it has to do with the other).

Family Friend

Issue 01 Tim O’Sullivan

You haven’t been invited inside that house for three years because Sarah—and she mentions this often to Edgar—doesn’t like the way you look at their girls.

Focus: Japan—America Inverted

Issue 01 Roland Kelts

In the early eighties, my Japanese grandfather, a poet named Ikuro Saeki, sent me an LP by a Japanese trio called The Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Look, Here’s America: Part One

Issue 01 Roland Kelts

Well, we didn’t grow up to love who we are. We always wanted to become something else.

Look, Here’s America: Part Two

Issue 01 Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami on Salinger, The Great Gatsby, and Why American Readers Sometimes Miss the Point

The Maiden in the Manger

Issue 01 Kazushige Abe

With this trip looming over him, it was only natural that he should feel anxious about oversleeping.

Masaya Nakahara: Interview

Issue 01 Justin Simon

I mean, I never cared about prestige. I was much more concerned with making money.

Bloody Self-Portrait of a Beast

Issue 01 Masaya Nakahara

“Your play about the young aspiring boxer is getting glowing reviews, isn’t it? My sincere congratulations.”


Issue 01 Yoko Ogawa

Sometimes I ask myself: How many swimming pools have I encountered throughout my life?

You Need Not Doubt What I Say Because It Is Not True

Issue 01 Marilynne Robinson

We know that humankind has sat around its fires from time immemorial and told its tales, and told them again, elaborating and refining.
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