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Spring 2010

The Chinese Chekhov: the letters of Shen Congwen; Yiyun Li on kindness; Tim O'Sullivan's Father Olufemi; Mary-Beth Hughes's widow of Combarelles; Samanta Schweblin's brother Walter; David Potter's Dr. Kreutzer; Lawrence Weschler on Alec Soth's Las Vegas birthday party; Jenny Davidson, Graham Foust, Paul Glimcher, and Amy Leach on tomorrow; and poems by Cynthia Lowen, Jennifer Moxley, Ed Roberson, John Yau, and more.

If You See Something

All Came to an End

Issue 10 Grant Wood

In 1931, in the throes of the Great Depression, Grant Wood made a chronological list of thirteen prior economic depressions, beginning with 1819.
If You See Something

To the New Year

Issue 10 Graham Foust

Comes upon and at me / does your gone-tinged promise.
If You See Something
Public Access

Donkey Derby

Issue 10 Amy Leach

Usually all we have to do when we go a-conquering is to build a boat, find a benefactress, recruit a ribald crew, and wear radiant glinting helmets.
If You See Something

Rachet Rachet Rachet

Issue 10 Jenny Davidson

I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said.
If You See Something

Whose Fault Is It?

Issue 10 Paul Glimcher

Since the time of Descartes, Westerners have seen their core identity as a feature that stands apart from the physical world.

The Woman Who Lived in the House

Issue 10 Salvatore Scibona

He learned of Sergei’s arrest and imprisonment when a waiter switched the television to CNN.
Public Access

Father Olufemi

Issue 10 Tim O’Sullivan

There seemed to be a fellow feeling between the priest and bus driver, each too slight for his uniform.

My Brother Walter

Issue 10 Samanta Schweblin

My brother Walter is depressed.

Las Vegas Birthday Book

Issue 10 Alec Soth

My wife took me to Las Vegas to celebrate my fortieth birthday.

On Alec Soth’s Las Vegas Birthday Book

Issue 10 Lawrence Weschler

Alec Soth’s spare volume of documentation culminates in that deliciously inspired last-minute stab at monetary redemption.

The Widow of Combarelles

Issue 10 Mary-Beth Hughes

Patty promised her old friend Coren she had the very best cure for heartache: the shrewd and pitiless French.

Dr. Kreutzer

Issue 10 David Potter

At night, alone in the greenhouse, Dr. Kreutzer listens to Bach.

Think Your Way Out of the Rain

Issue 10 Matthew Rohrer

I got to meet my heroes / and have dinner with them

Two Poems

Issue 10 Giampiero Neri

In that part of the field / near the woodpile / had arisen an indistinct figure, / like a deeper blotch / in the evening darkness, / a seeming dog flying over the roofs.

Parable of the Children

Issue 10 Cynthia Lowen

If it is better to be feared / than loved, best of all / pitied—obeyed not out of threat / but an understanding / the inability to harm / makes benevolence / a moot point.

Bidwell Park

Issue 10 D.A. Powell

When the previously withheld faces grew tough as flax / or softened into pliant pine in the umber wood, inclined / together, numerous, when the cobble crushed underfoot, / and pistachios cracked in their shells, grown heavy, / grown consummate among the nibs of leaves, then curious / seemed the stars, those nether eyes which scrutinized / each shape that stirred against the unlit trunks of trees.

Psalm Made of Silk

Issue 10 Christopher Janke

The psalm is a door / that tears me.


Issue 10 Stephen Dunn

No more the lovely ease of it all, / and many years removed / from those languorous afternoons / where, together, they seemed / to create their own air

Going in Circles

Issue 10 W.S. Di Piero

Here’s a George Raft rat speeding above the subway’s sacred hot rail

Two Poems

Issue 10 John Yau

Behind the hill / overlooking our tiny enclave / dwells a giant known far and wide

Two Trees

Issue 10 Eamon Grennan

Wintering Beech / Tabernacle of green light green shade, summer space / of beechen green and shadows numberless, / that’s now but a bony show of itself, all its / ornaments and nest-hiding glad rags / wind-torn and let go where silence opens / its stony arms.

Each Gets So Shamefully Little

Issue 10 Mary Crow

Each gets so shamefully little, only half a face, honed to a fine point, like swallow shadows dipping after mosquitoes

Not That, Disappointment

Issue 10 Jennifer Moxley

I am inappropriate I feel it / in every said thing in every / enthusiasm desire wish / but mostly in every / unsettling ambition

Moon Jar, Century Unclear

Issue 10 Ed Roberson

Part of the pearlescent surface is gone / from the glass back to sand

Two Poems

Issue 10 James Schuyler

The turrets, self-conscious and vulgar, / the doors, so functional, / the tinted windows, lovely and perhaps unreasonable.


Issue 10 Yiyun Li

I am a forty-one-year-old woman living by myself, in the same one-bedroom flat where I have always lived, in a derelict building on the outskirts of Beijing that is threatened to be demolished by government-backed real estate developers.

An Irrelevant Writer: Yiyun Li Introduces Shen Congwen

Issue 10 Shen Congwen

Great books are never abandoners—they don’t betray us; they don’t turn away from our candid admiration or criticism; they don’t die.

Letter to the Editor

Issue 10

The “historic” novel is, for me, condemned even in cases of labour as delicate as yours, to a fatal cheapness, for the simple reason that the difficulty of the job is inordinate and that a mere escamotage, in the interest of ease, and of the abysmal public naiveté becomes inevitable.
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