Posts Tagged: creative nonfiction

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Nonfiction Feature: “Common Tongue,” by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

CommonTongue

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This graphic memoire appeared in Indiana Review 37.1, Summer 2015.

Anna Cabe (Nonfiction Editor): One of my favorite forms in CNF is the graphic memoir, and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s “The Common Tongue” is a prime example of why. By telling the story of how Buchanan acquired different languages through whimsical, colorful imagery, the scope of what is ultimately a gift — the gift of opened doors— is rendered familiar and magical.

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Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of the novel Harmless Like You which was a New York Times Editors’ Pick and an NPR 2017 Great Read. She has received a Betty Trask Award and The Authors’ Club First Novel Award. Her short work has appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, and The Guardian.

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Online Feature: “Metamorphosis: Six Studies” by Eleanor Stanford

 

after Maria Sibylla Merian

 

What’s your urgent charge, if not transformation?

1. Ornate lory on branch of peach tree

 

After my second son was born, I slipped into a severe postpartum depression. I remember nursing the baby, staring blankly out the window at a cold gray April that refused to warm.

My best friend, who was living on another continent and whose first baby had been due the same day as my son, had lost her child suddenly—a full-term stillbirth—without explanation. I felt both lucky and ungrateful, unable to appreciate what I had and unable to console my friend.

There was a peach tree outside our bedroom window that, despite the cold, spread its fragile petals over the narrow city street.

One day, I watched a small green parrot land on a branch. It must have been an escaped pet; as far as I know, there are no wild parrots in Philadelphia. But in my melancholy state, I just stared, barely registering the strangeness. I saw it as a sign. A sign of what? I can’t remember now. Surely something dark. Dislocation? Alienation? The embattled natural world and its inevitable destruction? Something like that.

Later, I saw a reproduction of a painting by the seventeenth-century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian: Ornate lory on branch of peach tree. I felt an uncanny flash of recognition when I looked at it, this precise rendering of the beauty I had been unable to see when it sat in front of me.

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

 

Indiana Review Online seeks submissions of poetry, short prose (fiction and non-fiction), and art from undergraduate writers.* Indiana Review, in collaboration with Indiana University-Bloomington’s Literary Editing & Publishing class, will curate an online space for emerging writers and artists from across the country and around the world. We are open to a variety of styles–everything from realism and satire to the supernatural and experimental forms. We feel strongly about representing diverse voices and identities, including young writers of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and women. Give us your carefully strange writing: your nature poems and political poems, your dark humor fiction, your personal essays about pop culture, family, fairy tales, etc. We especially encourage previously unpublished authors to submit.

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