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Let Us Tell You a Story

Let Us Tell You a Story
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Podcast: Page-Turner May 2, 2014 Fiction Podcast: Joyce Carol Oates Reads Cynthia Ozick On this month’s fiction podcast, Joyce Carol Oates reads “The Shawl,” by Cynthia Ozick, which was published in The New Yorker in 1980. In the story, a woman called Rosa and Stella, a teen-age girl, are shipped off to a Nazi concentration camp. Rosa smuggles her baby, Magda, into the camp using a shawl that keeps Magda miraculously quiet, and which Stella envies for its warmth: It was a magic shawl, it could nourish an infant for three days and three nights. Continue Reading >> April 16, 2014 Poetry Podcast: Michael Dickman Reads Ellen Bryant Voigt This month on the Poetry Podcast, Michael Dickman reads “Cow,” by Ellen Bryant Voigt, which juxtaposes the pastoral aspects of farm life with its violent realities: a girl held out a handful of grasscalling the cow as you would a dog no diceso what if she recoiled to see me burst from the house with an axeI held it by the blade I tapped with the handle where the steaks come from

My Good Man | Boston Review “My Good Man”—that was what she called him. Good for what? was what most people asked, but all my ma would do was smile. He hung around a lot the spring and summer I was seven, and since he was strong enough to bring in a full kerosene can, she let him stay on through the winter. After a while, she willed the whole reservation to forget his real name. Everyone started calling him MGM, which eventually evolved into Gihh-rhaggs, the Tuscarora word for lion. My ma was off cleaning houses for white women in the rich village below the reservation five days out of seven and spent most Saturday nights serving guests at cocktail parties for those same women. I would stand on a dining-room chair and zip them both up after they’d gotten dressed in my ma’s bedroom, the backs of their white collars closing on my fingers like huge flower petals. Gihh-rhaggs generally stayed out of the way while my auntie was there. I don’t remember exactly when Gihh-rhaggs took over waking me. “Dave?”

Rickey Laurentiis’s “On Komunyakaa’s Surprise” | Voltage Poetry Cape Coast Castle by Yusef Komunyakaa “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” Frost declared, and though I find myself still ashamed to cry, something about this adage sings to me, familiar, as from my mother’s rough alto. Is it possible I forgot, but still anticipated, the second half of that instructive? I love the way Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Cape Coast Castle” begins here, startling with shock and surprise. Though Komunyakaa has made a career of marrying what one might call the loose, informal syntax of common English vernacular with his own wildly idiosyncratic, even gothic, logic, what could prepare me for that first line? The insistence of “it”—how, for example, virtually each sentence conforms to this spectral visitor—produces the poem’s haunted quality. Yet what delivers this poem from the merely successful and makes it, as I would say, truly great is not its insistence on this established structure, but on surprise itself. Where has the “we” of the first line gone?

The Sun Magazine | Free Rent At The Totalitarian Hotel by Poe Ballantine Poe Ballantine lives in Chadron, Nebraska, and is the author of five books, most recently the true-crime memoir Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere. His eleven-year-old son, Tom, reads books on his father’s iPad and deletes any that contain bad words, so Tom was happy to discover T.E. Lawrence’s clean-living opus Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which he faithfully refers to as “Seven Caterpillars of Wisdom.” ON MONDAY mornings I modeled for the painters at an old cannery converted into art studios in Eureka, California. After I dressed and picked up my sixty dollars, I went down the hall and knocked on Jim’s door. “Jim,” I said, “we could hear you shouting all the way down the hall.” “Was I shouting?” “Yes. “Come in, man. Jim’s eight-by-ten, brick-walled studio was furnished with a small fridge and a card table with a coffeepot and a boombox on it. “Is everything all right?” “The sleepwalkers!” “They’re going to call the police,” I said. “The sycophants!” “No, nah.”

Kei Miller I hate to admit this, especially as a queer black poet living in the UK, but I only discovered Kei Miller three years ago. It was a huge failing on my part as I had spent the last ten years searching for writers that would somehow speak to my experience growing up on an island far away, loving people of the same gender and the peculiar way this can colour the world, and what happens when that same person decides to pick up and move to a vitamin D depleted country in a northern sea. One evening at a dinner party of a fellow queer writer, she asked me if I knew Kei and/or his work; the shame set in at that moment, I was clueless. The three volumes were Kingdom of Empty Bellies (2005), There is an Anger that Moves (2007), and A Light Song of Light (2010). His collection A Light Song of Light seems to leap forward and Miller’s work takes on a new confidence and authority that binds the book together. Where We Might Fit In this country, a black man with dreadlocks Some days you want to forget

Yrsa Daley-Ward The Love That Will Be Ready Words by nayyirahwaheedWhen I first read this piece of work by Nayyirah Waheed, I immediately thought back to this past year, about how hard it was to give love to others while having enough left over for myself.And it gave me a lot of peace to read it. And to understand that the healing I have been working on for so long does not mean I am selfish has been revolutionary for me. To learn to love myself is revolutionary for me. Growing up in an Asian family, it has truly been a conflict to learn how to balance loving others while loving myself.I understand that having been left/abandoned means I was not ready. beautiful interpretation of this piece. beautiful artwork. i am both honored and eased, knowing that my words have brought this amazing artist peace. and that it has inspired their art. this is amazing.

14 Fantastic Stories From The New Yorker Archive You Should Read This Summer Miranda July the Man in the Stairs

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