Posts Categorized: Online Feature

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” by Ha Jin

The IU Arts & Humanities Council was lucky enough this week to host the Chinese-American writer Ha Jin for China Remixed, IU’s first Global Arts & Humanities Festival.

Indiana Review is proud to share a story he originally published with us in Indiana Review 17.2, Fall 1994. 

“Winds and Clouds Over a Funeral” well exemplifies Ha Jin’s enduring subject, the ways in which the individual grapples with the state. In this story, he, with a sharp, unsparing eye, examines how the state encroaches on even the most personal of matters, how to bury your dead mother. — Anna Cabe, Web Editor

*

Sheng arrived at Gold County to work as a junior clerk in the military department at a large textile mill. Five days later, he was informed that his grandmother had passed away. The departmental chief gave him three days to attend the funeral at home. Sheng went to the bus station at noon and got on a bus bound for Dismal Fort.

He used to enjoy seeing the landscape outside the county town, especially the long reservoir that supplied water for six counties, and the large concrete dam that blocked the gorge of a valley and connected two rocky hills. In the middle of the dam stood a small house like a pillbox with loopholes. When the bus crept on the winding road along the bank, the water would flash like large fish scales in the sun. But today Sheng had no appetite for scenery. He closed his eyes and tried to take a catnap. He didn’t feel very sad, though he loved his grandmother.

Read more…

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Quotidian” by Corey Van Landingham

A friend calls me crying, again, and, wanting to describe
her taste in men, I look up poor vs. bad. Language
is changing, the internet declares. The rules don’t hold.
It’s a poor and a bad time to be dating, I tell her.

A questionnaire asks how many nights a week do I have
difficulty falling asleep. Five nights is labeled as Always.
Those two extra nights in the ether. Nights that would
nudge always toward infinity, spin out into some other

ineffable arsenal. When the therapist asked why I stopped
cutting myself, I told him vanity. The multiple choice
wavering inside my forehead, good enough. The options
on the questionnaire so perfect in their circles, making

time eerily check-offable. Like when I see the man
in the hardware store, who, years ago a boy, told me
to take my pants off as he drove me home, and,
because I was young and in love with my body

for the last time, I did. I tell my friend to be patient.
Before we had words for the days of the week, humans
still were touching each other, holding each other’s faces
between their hands, lifting their eyes up to the stars,

which will never be loosened from language, for us,
so much a part of the body that we almost, now,
forget it. Maybe I stopped sleeping with scissors
out of boredom. Maybe it was that each person

pausing beside me in the paint aisle I checked off
as Better. That two lost nights might separate Better
from Best, and what’s beyond that? What happens
when you choose something, someone, because,

for two nights a week, it could be worse? If my ass were
never bare on the leather for that man, buying a ladder
right there in front of me, then maybe I wouldn’t be still
shivering next to boxes of sharp objects, trying to decide.

*

This poem appeared in Indiana Review 37.1, Summer 2015.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): Corey Van Landingham is one of the coolest, smartest voices in contemporary poetry. I read her collection, Antidote last autumn and it swept me up. “Quotidian” is a gorgeous piece, exploring matters of friendship, sex and romance, self-harm, wellness. Van Landingham interrogates here what a “good” life traditionally looks like, about what it could look like. This poem leaves me unsettled in the best of ways.

*

Corey Van Landingham is the author of Antidote, winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry. A recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2014, Boston Review, and The New Yorker, among many other places. She is currently a doctoral student in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati.

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Disappearing Rabbits” by Anne Owen Shea

There are things your mother will do for you that no one else will: cut crusts off your bread, sew together two soft scraps of cloth to make a blanket for your bed. She will allow you to stay home in the house when you get older because she likes having you around. Mothers want you to be close to them. They buy you gifts, a rabbit that you think is female at first but then turns out to male, a cross necklace for your first communion, a music box with a ballerina on a spring that twists in circle when you wind it up. There is a time in your life when anything is possible and then later on a time when nothing is. Eventually the music box stops playing music, and one of your rabbits disappears. And then you lose track of the box completely; the barbed wire cage becomes home to another rabbit that your parents buy to make you feel better. And then eventually the replacement rabbit disappears and there is just an empty cage, a few tufts of fur in the yard after the dogs run away.
Read more…

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Isabelle” by George Saunders

The first great act of love I ever witnessed was Split Lip bathing his handicapped daughter. We were young, ignorant of mercy, and called her Boneless or Balled-Up Gumby for the way her limbs were twisted and useless. She looked like a newborn colt, appendages folded in as she lay on the velour couch protected by guardrails. Leo and I stood outside the window on cinder blocks, watching. She was scared of the tub, so to bathe her Split Lip covered the couch with a tarp and caught the runoff in a bucket. Mrs. Split Lip was long gone, unable to bear the work Boneless required. She found another man and together they made a little blond beauty they dressed in red velvet and paraded up and down the aisle at St. Caspian’s while Split Lip held Boneless against him in the last pew, shushing her whenever the music overcame her and she started making horrible moaning noises trying to sing along.

Read more…

Article Thumbnail

Online Feature: “Midwest Still Life, In Motion” by Karyna McGlynn

you are still/rushing toward me

 

    unhinge the following:

 

                                                                                plum gut

                                                                                blue bells

                                                                                white rose

                                                                                yr wet mouth

                                                                                a silencer

                                                                                suckling pig

                                                                                in attic dark

 

you are hurdling/through the anonymous country

 

on the phone you sound like a man standing still

 

& despite your movement through the night’s           raw flank

 

your voice is weirded with cobwebs & cannot           move me

 

 

I stare at the space where I’ve opened           the door

I can see the night commute coming on           thick:

 

a long train full of few glossy fruits

                                                                                purple patch

                                                                                wax leaf

 

Texas is a tall stranger walking away from me           on the street

But you keep coming/I want you to remain           standing still:

a man frozen in action, who never arrives:           a still life

of his own best intentions while I enact my           sweet recoil:

 

                                                                                blue in the lip

                                                                                divisive cherry

                                                                                sour rotgut

 

You are still/the man who goes to long

romantic lengths to assure his death &

you are the train who comes to repossess           my trunk

to sand back the dark where I’ve turned           my old globe

                                                                                on its axis

*

This poem appeared in Indiana Review 32.1, Summer 2010. 

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): Earlier this year, I fell in love with Karyna McGlynn’s work after reading I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl. This poem embodies much of McGlynn’s playful voice and form on the page, the precision of imagery, the way she builds a world with sensuality and rich texture. This is the kind of poem that transforms each time you read it—it is a travelogue, a painting, a movie, a letter. I cannot wait to read McGlynn’s next collection Hothouse, forthcoming from Sarabande Books next year.

*

Karyna McGlynn is the author of Hothouse (Sarabande Books 2017), The 9-Day Queen Gets Lostmcglynn%20tin%202 on Her Way to the Execution (Willow Springs Books 2016), Alabama Steve (Sundress Publications 2014), I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande Books 2009), and Scorpionica (New Michigan Press 2007). Her poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, AGNI, Ninth Letter and Witness. Karyna earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and was recently the Diane Middlebrook Fellow in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry and Translation at Oberlin College.