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Online Feature: “Masks” by Yusef Komunyakaa

It was the mask engaged your mind,

And after set your heart to beat,

Not what’s behind.

— W.B. Yeats, “The Mask”

Upon first glance at Tyagan Miller’s gallery of troubling and troubled faces, you might wish instead for a few classical portraits garnered from the Schomburg Collection. You could even long for a glimpse of the rural poor captured in Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson’s And Their Children After Them. Or, you might squint, hoping to blur these “high risk” faces until they become the sardonic images of Life Smiles Back, LIFE magazine’s compilation of photographs. You may squirm and shift your feet to run; but the faces captured here cannot easily be outdistanced.

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Announcing the 2017 Blue Light Books Prize Winner!

We are thrilled to announce that prize judge Ross Gay has selected GIRL WITH DEATH MASK by Jennifer Givhan as the winner of the 2017 Blue Light Books Prize! We are honored to have read so many beautiful poetry collections for this year’s contest. Many thanks to all who submitted and made the prize possible. GIRL WITH DEATH MASK will be published by Indiana University Press in 2018.

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Online Feature: “Conversation with Thorax” by Alissa Nutting

It began as a blind date. I nearly didn’t approach the table when I saw him sitting alone at the table we’d agreed on—the one on the left wall next to the bathrooms. I always insist upon this table for blind dates in case I need to cut the night short by feigning diarrhea.

He was a pale and prominently jointed man, each of his bones exaggerated by thinness. As we chatted, I stared at the huge knuckles on his fingers—they made me think of doorknobs positioned in the middle of long, white socks. He moved them constantly, every digit on his hand, working them across the table’s surface as though he were typing. They were industrious. He made neat, geometric piles of the crumbs left by his soda crackers. Small bits of napkin were grouped to look like a hill of salt.

He was an entomologist. He studied bugs.

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Hoosier Journal Spotlight: Booth and “How to Make a Beginning” by Aubrey Ryan

This spring, Indiana Review conducted interviews with other Indiana journals. We were driven by a few questions:  What does it mean to be a Midwestern or Hoosier journal? What does it mean to be a member of a literary community? What are our Hoosier neighbors up to? What do they seek for their publications?

Robert Stapleton, Founder and Editor of Booth, which is published out of Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, was kind enough to answer a few questions for our final installment for the spring semester. We talked about Booth‘s namesake, the literary community in Butler University and Indianapolis, and enduring advice from William Faulkner. Be sure to check out a gorgeous poem, “How to Make a Beginning” by Aubrey Ryan, at the end!

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Online Feature: “The Parable of the Fish” by Marilyn Chin

The IU Arts & Humanities Council will host writer Marilyn Chin next week for China Remixed, IU’s first Global Arts & Humanities Festival.

Indiana Review is proud to share a story she originally published with us in Indiana Review 24.1, Spring 2002.

The delightful music paired with the matter-of-factness of the Grandmother explaining the history of oppression, takes us through a deep personal history. We land on the preparation of a delicious carp deftly, with a gut punch at the end of “The Parable of the Fish,” with a mastery of exactitude present in all of Marilyn Chin’s work.

 — Su Cho, Editor

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Grandmother, how do you know that the fish are happy? Irreverent polyp-of-a-child, how do you know that I don’t know that the fish are happy? Well, grandma, you’re not a fish. You cannot know what fish know. Well, my ignorant gnat-of-a-girl, you are not I, how do you know that I don’t know what fish know.

One day she fetched me from school and said, “Let’s take a stroll through our honorable mayor Willie Brown’s mansion. The Gold Mountain News said that he wants all of his citizens to visit his new Japanese water garden.” So we took the #25 bus and transferred to a #85 bus at the Montgomery station where she bought me a cold can of Coke from a machine. I knew that it was going to be a special day.
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