Posts By: Anna Cabe

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Online Feature: “A Cuban Poet in New York” by Pablo Medina

A Tale of Two Cities

The word of my city is that word from of old.

— Walt Whitman, “Mannahatta”

As a child I fell under the spell of two great cities. Until November of 1960, when we left Cuba for good, Havana was my home. Never gray except in winter when a norther blew through it, it was almost always happy and clear, the antithesis of Dickens’ soulless London or Victor Hugo’s sordid Paris. Havana in those days might have had its terrors and sorrows, but it was, above all, a city of activity and hope. It was, besides, the place that first instilled in me an interest in human beings and sparked a curiosity for the physical world—the sun, the sea, the bay—of which it was so much a part. Read more…

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Online Feature: “Thumbsplitter” by Kerry Cullen

Mom brought home the mantis shrimp on Monday while I was at school. Dad had just last Wednesday, during visitation, bought me the video game that even most of the fifth graders weren’t allowed to play. The game disappeared while I was sleeping, but I guess Mom wanted to make absolutely sure she was still keeping ahead of her competition. “It can see more colors than we can imagine,” she said on the ride back from school, and then, “I don’t know if it’s bigger than a breadbox. Ask another question.”

I’d had eight fish in my aquarium. One of them, Benjamin, had lived there for almost two whole years. By the time I got home, the mantis shrimp had killed them all.

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Online Feature: “Doom is the House without the Door” by Jennifer Chang

More than once you wanted me to die.
I kicked the door until its hinges popped.

I collapsed in particle board dust.
I am a sort of door: I know how to swing open

and slam shut. I know how to lock.
You want the house. You want the last crumb

of soul I have left, but I don’t die. I don’t have a body.
I have an elm, fracturing limb by furious limb.

Our tornado summer. My weekly storm,
the heretic assailing the saint.

To swing open: 98º in the barn shade.
To slam shut: you sleep through my glory,

this dawn-constructed confession. To lock:
I do not know. I do not know how

to fill the smallest rooms. Once the sky
could forestall the revelation of the future,

but now I am an orchard forsaken. Ardent.
Ungovernable. Dead branch, fruitlessness, reach

for what I cannot. Not who you were or are,
but who you wanted to be. A wise thing

growing wiser. Ageless heart. To want
was the first survival. To be, the last.

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 34.2, Winter 2012. 

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor):  “Doom Is the House without the Door” gorgeously navigates the dissolve of a relationship and its aftermath. Like the repeated imagery of doors in the poem, Chang’s speaker hinges and stops, back and forth, ever reeling towards this feeling of disaster, loss, a storm to be survived.

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Jennifer Chang is the author of two books of poetry, The History jennifer-changof Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, which will be published by Alice James Books in October 2017. Her recent work has appeared in American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Orion, Narrative, and Poetry. She is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at George Washington University and lives in Washington, DC.

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Interview with 2015 Fiction Prize Winner Simon Han

Our 2016 Fiction Prize is open until October 31! While you’re preparing to submit, read our interview with 2015 winner, Simon Han, selected by Laura van den Berg. Here, he discusses his winning story, “Be Tanly,” the short story writers who inspire him, his current project, and advice for 2015 Fiction Prize entrants. Simon’s story will appear in our 38.2 Winter 2016 issue.

Simon Han was born in Tianjin, China, and
grew up in Dallas. His stories have appeared or will appear in Guernica, West Branch, Narrative, and The Texas Observer. He received his MFA from Vanderbilt University and will begin a 2017-2018 Tulsa Artist Fellowship in January.

 

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