Posts Categorized: Online Feature

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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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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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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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Online Feature: “Property Lines” by Kathryn Nuernberger

A pink azalea is the kind of thing that bushes up into a wild mess if a generation passes without pruning, and then a zealous man can pick at it bough by bough until it’s just one more stump to mow over. It’s the kind of thing that would come springing back from such a stump though, if someone let the grass go again.

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Online Feature: “Remedies” by Talin Tahajian

You were the color of a dove & I don’t know what to do
about that. I have never understood how to cup my hands

& take communion. Like a faithful daughter, I carry this
with me. I stab it with feathers & pray until it is covered

in gems. I rinse it in the river that knows my blood, wring
it out beneath a full moon. I know nothing about bird calls.

I know nothing about meat. Bless the river & all the fish
we poisoned. Foreign fluids. Bless the red birches forced

to watch. I want to burn something, so I char the flesh
of a catfish & think of myself. Girl as carp. Small tragedy

with freshwater pearls. I baptize myself in this water
& I see myself float in this water. Somewhere, a flock

of crows & I don’t hear anything over the soft breath
of river fish as they touch me in places that don’t exist.

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This poem appeared in Indiana Review 37.1, Summer 2015.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): Talin Tahajian’s poetry is tender, melodic, and sensuous. I can never get enough of her writing, especially this poem—the way she explores faith through images of birds, water, fish. This poem sweeps me up like the river running through it. If you have not read Talin’s work, you definitely should—her poems are necessary and gorgeous and exactly what you need.

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Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014 & 2016, Salt Hill Journal, Passages North, Columbia Poetry Review, and Washington Square Review. She’s the author of two chapbooks, The smallest thing on Earth (Bloom Books, 2017) and Start with dead things (Midnight City Books, 2015), a split chapbook with Joshua Young. She edits poetry for the Adroit Journal and is currently a student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.