Literature

Maybe When They Say Get Over It

They mean climb the foothills of your hometown. The tallest one, where some teenage boys stuck one of their mothers gardening sticks into the summit, a torn jersey as a flag.
Sit there, dry mouthed, and think of the only boy who has made you feel safe, a kid who was always ashamed of the children around him, and himself.

Perfect Bodies

I watch you Suzanne, in ways—with such depth—you will never know. Standing here, toes bare and soles blackened by the highway side with our thumbs pointing to the sun, I watch you. Inches away is your hair and its subtle mixture of ash and lilac sails into my nose. Step back Suzanne. Let your hips melt with mine as we watch the oncoming afternoon motorcade. Let your muted yellow poncho—which never ceases to render you angelic—scratch my skin. Gain an extra inch by standing upon my feet and add to our hope of hailing down a passerby; if you do, I’ll lace my hand within the pocket of your bellbottom jeans, holding you close. I’ll wait with you at this highway side until we reach our destination. I’ll wait; and sail and hold you close and feel your poncho scratch me; even if a thousand stars die before we make it. Suzanne, I watch you in ways, with such depth, I’ve never known before.

Review: To Make a Bridge, Antonia Facciponte

Review: To Make a Bridge, by Antonia FacciponteJeanne Polochansky, Associate Editor To Make a Bridge by Antonia Facciponte is a collection of poems that is a recipe book, a diary, and an opera programme all wrapped up in one. It opens with a piece that commands the...
Tomayto, Tomahto: Poetic Variations on a Cultivar

Tomayto, Tomahto: Poetic Variations on a Cultivar

Tasted soups are sweet, but those untasted
Are sweeter; therefore, fair Campbell, can on!
Wine-hued to the darkling gaze, free of stain
Upon the borders crisp. Logo pasted
Tight on metal sheer, caught by steely yawn
Of factory saw to rend the gourmet pane.

The Case of Fanfiction

The Case of Fanfiction

If you’ve spent any time online interacting with popular books, movies, TV shows, or many other types of media, you have probably run across the concept of fanfiction. At its simplest, fanfiction involves taking already-established aspects of fictional universes, including characters, settings, and items, and employing them in new stories. Writers get to take the age-old question of storytelling – “What if?” – to the next level. What if Kylo Ren were a sullen closing-shift worker at a coffee shop? What if an adult Harry Potter went on a begrudging buddy-cop-style mission with his school rival? What if Sherlock Holmes – and you’d have to be specific about which incarnation of the character – had joined up with Moriarty to form a mob? Plot holes or gaps in storytelling are also creatively addressed; if a particular character wasn’t on screen, where were they and what were they doing? If they are introduced as an adult without much backstory, what was their childhood like?

Are We Living in a Dystopian Novel?

Are We Living in a Dystopian Novel?

‘Dystopian’ is often defined as “relating to or denoting an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.” To say that we are threatened by becoming this version of ‘dystopian’ would be to say that the society we live in now is not violent or full of injustice. But it is. So, under the vague dictionary definition, we are living in a dystopia. But the key word that jumps out in this definition is ‘imagined.’ For me, ‘dystopian’ conjures up images of a dark grey filter overlaying a desolated, toxic wasteland or slums full of leather-clad teenagers who team up against the gaudy, corrupt, and wealthy leaders. It’s specific, a reality that makes permanent the injustices already present in our world, taking away any possibility of progression or change. This imagined version of a dystopia isn’t quite our reality.

Looking Behind The Autobiography with St. Augustine and Ayad Akhtar

Looking Behind The Autobiography with St. Augustine and Ayad Akhtar

The portrait was once a primary tool for the shaping of public perception. You can argue with me about the competing roles of banquets, weddings, coronations, and edicts but the point is that a picture, an artwork, has a historical sticking power. Images, like the distinctive visage of Henry VIII (wide, smug, magnificent), echo across time. But fashions change and the inception of the photograph has somewhat depreciated the value of a painting. It is more and more common to see the autobiographies of politicians and celebrities published, almost as a formality of fame.

Review: Unfinished Murder Ballads, by Darren C. Demaree

Review: Unfinished Murder Ballads, by Darren C. Demaree

The title of Darren C. Demaree’s newest poetry collection, Unfinished Murder Ballads, beautifully sets the haunting tone of his work long before you can turn its first page. A murder ballad, as the name suggests, tells the story of a violent death; what does it mean to leave such ballads unfinished? All at once, the collection’s title blends death, stories that are passed down as folklore, and an overarching sense of loss. These persist through the entire work, which is made up of moments that build up into a portrait of isolation, violence, intimacy, and perhaps above all, humanity.

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