No. 11

Mercè Rodoreda at Carnival; Francis Spufford on the Soviets and the story of an idea; Stephen Burt on new American poets; Julian Gough explains how to fall in love properly; Geoffrey G. O'Brien catalogs three years; Annie Coggan makes a home for Ulysses Grant, and Rachel Cohen takes a tour; Allan Gurganus's Lair and Refuge; Ian Chillag, Maud Casey, Brian T. Edwards, and Aviya Kushner on laughter; and reintroducing Charles Newman.

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If You See Something

Falling and Laughing

No. 11 Julian Gough

Comic writers laugh at the folly of humanity (“Poor, sufferin’ Hugh Mannity,” as Flann O’Brien put it).
If You See Something

Wanting to Be a Fact

No. 11 Maud Casey

In Max Frisch’s strange and beautiful little novel Man in the Holocene, an old man named Geiser is trapped in his home in an Alpine valley in southern Switzerland by the collapse of a supporting wall that blocks the highway to the tiny village.
If You See Something

You Had to be There

No. 11 Brian T. Edwards

No one jokes with me when I go to Tehran.
If You See Something

I’m Not Crazy About That Part

No. 11 Aviya Kushner

One of my biggest fears is that I will die because I have talked too much.
If You See Something

I Was a Microagent of the Body Guard

No. 11 Ian Chillag

Red blood cell. For twenty-five years, every time I’ve heard or read the term, I’ve thought of Arby Sea.

How to Fall in Love Properly

No. 11 Julian Gough

Slowed a little by a stone in my shoe, I arrived in Galway City a while after dark. Galway City, the Sodom of the West!

Julia Grant’s Opera Shawl and All That it Suggests

No. 11 Annie Coggan

The Grants moved into a brownstone on East Sixty-sixth Street—financed by the general's supporters—in 1881.

Interiors and Exteriors in the Life of Julia Grant

No. 11 Rachel Cohen

The house at 3 East Sixty-sixth Street was the third from the end in the Grants’ lives together.

Three Years

No. 11 Geoffrey G. O’Brien

Toying with a gun as a train goes past / June is what I’d imagined, dark / intermittent woods set off / by the whiteness of a collar, a book / I can’t believe we’re left alone with.

The Dentist’s Chair

No. 11 D. Wystan Owen

On the morning of his ex-wife’s appointment, Kenneth Rivers still owed her an RSVP.

On New American Poets

No. 11 Stephen Burt

Poems routinely solicit—they may even include outright—generalizations about everything from barbecue methods to categorical imperatives, but they raise special puzzles, or paradoxes, when they solicit generalizations about themselves, since good poems try to be as unlike one another as possible.

The Old Testament

No. 11 Jericho Brown

This is the book of three diseases.

Small Philosophies

No. 11 Jennifer Chang

Now the fever root, / the marsh weed, the marigold.


No. 11 Arda Collins

Incandescent, black body / your soul is on the floor.

I Was Married and You’re Supposed To

No. 11 ​Katie Degentesh

Do you think everything you’re supposed to think?

Anything You Want

No. 11 Matthew Dickman

My living brother / is treating us to dinner.


No. 11 Michael Dickman

The beautiful invisible music falling from the speakers in the other room / is Mahler imitating the snow

The Science of Parting

No. 11 ​Carmen Giménez Smith

You’re a wet thing in my throat: oyster.

Praise Song for the Donkey

No. 11 ​Aracelis Girmay

Praise the Mohawk roof / of the donkey’s good & grey head


No. 11 Jennifer Kronovet

The ice encases the branches / of trees as if beauty can just.

Gun Show

No. 11 David Lau

The earliest writing in Golden City / left turn-signal sensors / trafficking / in Variegated Solomon’s Seal


No. 11 Chris Martin

(April 3) / Not often is it that I grace / my own eyes

No Vehicles Beyond This Point

No. 11 Joseph Massey

Tape unspools from a cassette, / collects—a nest—between two / pieces of driftwood

From Film Two

No. 11 Anna Moschovakis

I don’t know a thing about paradise || In my house nobody ever brought it up

From Block Chapel

No. 11 Fred Moten

the way orchestra sounds in birmingham / that’s my sound.


No. 11 Meghan O’Rourke

I was lost before I returned.

Heart Set: The Antique Sun

No. 11 ​Zach Savich

Having fixed the typewriter, / eaten the oranges and eggs / the house’s owner left, I sat / at the white table and tried to tend / to the need for deepening sacrifice / without upsetting my urge / for everything to be responsible / and pure.

Lair and Refuge: I Work at Home

No. 11 Allan Gurganus

Imagine a happier Miss Havisham.

Ecorche (Flayed Man)

No. 11 Melissa Pritchard

The Collector—wearing an oilcloth hat, overcoat, and soaking-wet boots, slogged through rain, a fish-shaped basket of gray willow sealed by a flap of leather across his shoulders.

On Charles Newman

No. 11 Joy Williams

The 1970s were Charles Newman’s decade.

Blues for Charlie

No. 11 Paul Winner

A decade ago, I was Charles Newman’s student in St. Louis. A celebrated novelist came through that fall to read a list of current faculty when she stopped at a name. “Newman? Charles Newman?” she said. “God, he’s an icon.”By the time I came into his life, he drank too much and ate too little.

The Five-Thousandth Baritone: A Masque in Five Parts

No. 11 Charles Newman

All that we know definitely about Purcell’s history as a choirboy is that his voice broke in 1673... beyond that lies the territory of invention.

Midsummer Night, 1962

No. 11 Francis Spufford

It had all taken longer than it needed to, of course.
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