Head, Perhaps of an Angel | Debora Greger
limestone, with traces of polychromy, c. 1200
limestone, with traces of polychromy, c. 1200
. . . Once, a Swede—a baby—declared that he loved Papua New Guinea.
We sniggered. It had been his first post after graduate school; he’d only ever been there and here; it was too soon in his short career for him to realize that he was lying, most especially to himself. The rest of us understood that saying you loved Papua New Guinea was like saying you loved it here, in this country with its clay roads naked children ran about and shat in, its miles of tin shanties you averted your eyes from whenever you took an air-conditioned car to or from the airport. Saying you loved Papua New Guinea was like saying you loved this place where you couldn’t buy a decent loaf of bread much less a bottle of Bordeaux; where you lived and worked behind high walls and locked yourself behind bars, fastening them over the windows and doors of your home at night, and found yourself eyeing the guard at the gate, the gardener and housekeeper and cook, wondering if one of them hadn’t been responsible for the disappearance of the opal pendant you’d inherited from your grandmother or the fifty euros you’d sworn you left in your trousers last Saturday night when you’d come home from the disco drunk and reeking of other expatriates’ sweat.
Lenore Myka‘s short story collection, King of the Gypsies, was the winner of the 2014 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction (BkMk Press, 2015). Her fiction has been selected as a notable short story by Best American Short Stories and Best American Non-Required Reading. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, West Branch, and Massachusetts Review, among others.
Please join us in Middlebury on October 23rd, 7 p.m. at Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe for the next reading in our series, featuring Emily Arnason Casey, Kathryn Davis, and Diana Whitney.
Emily Arnason Casey‘s writing has appeared in Mid-American Review, Sonora Review, the anthology Please Do Not Remove, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the 2014 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize. She earned an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing at the Community College of Vermont. An editor at the online journal Atlas & Alice, Emily lives in Burlington with her husband and two sons, and is working on a collection of essays about loss and longing.
Kathryn Davis is the author of seven novels: Labrador, The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf, Hell, The Walking Tour, Versailles, The Thin Place, and Duplex (Graywolf, 2013). She has been the recipient of the Kafka Prize, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2006 Lannan Award for Fiction. She lives in Montpelier and is Hurst Senior Writer-in-Residence in the MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis.
Diana Whitney‘s first book of poetry, Wanting It, was released in August 2014 by Harbor Mountain Press. Her essays and poems have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Crab Orchard Review, Puerto del Sol, Numéro Cinq, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, and elsewhere. She graduated from Dartmouth College and Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and attended the Warren Wilson College MFA Program. A yoga instructor and lifelong athlete, Diana lives in Brattleboro with her family.
Fiction writers Steve De Jarnatt, Sands Hall, and Lou Mathews, and poet, essayist Charles Hood will read from their work published in the current and past issues of the magazine.
Steve De Jarnatt (NER 34.1) grew up in the small logging town of Longview, Washington across the Columbia River from where Raymond Carver was born. He recently “broke out” of show biz after a long career writing and directing film and television, (the cult feature Miracle Mile is among his many credits), and he received his MFA from Antioch Los Angeles and is now pursuing the lucrative world of short fiction. Steve’s work has appeared in many journals, and one of his stories was among the 100 Distinguished Stories for Best American Short Stories 2013.
Sands Hall, whose story appears in the current issue, is the author of the novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine) a Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writers Craft. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and a second MFA in Theatre Arts. As a graduate of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre’s Advanced Training Program, Sands has worked extensively as actor and director. A singer/songwriter, Sands recently produced a CD of her tunes, Rustler’s Moon. She teaches creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA,
Charles Hood recently published a piece in NER Digital. He is an essayist, poet, and photographer and a Research Fellow at the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art. He teaches English at Antelope Valley College. A graduate of U.C. Irvine, he studied under Charles Wright, Louise Glück, and James McMichael. His awards include a Fulbright in Ethnopoetics, an NEH, an Artist-in-Residency with the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, an Artist-in-Residency with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship to Antarctica. His most recent book, South x South, won the Hollis Summers prize from Ohio University Press. He is finishing three manuscripts, including a poetry book about all 150 moons in the Solar System.
Lou Mathews, who also has a story in the current issue, is a Los Angeles based journalist, fiction writer, playwright and a fourth-generation Angeleno. Married at 19, he worked his way through U.C. Santa Cruz as a gas station attendant and mechanic and continued to work as a mechanic until he was 39. His first novel, L.A. Breakdown, about illegal street racing, was picked by the Los Angeles Times as a Best Book of 1999. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, a California Arts Council Fiction Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize and a Katherine Anne Porter Prize. His novella, The Irish Sextet, won Failbetter’s Tenth Anniversary novella contest. His story in the current New England Review “Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others” is from a new manuscript Hollywoodski. He has taught in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 1989. He was also a contributing editor and restaurant reviewer for L.A. Style Magazine for seven years and 43 pounds.
New England Review and the Middlebury College Creative Writing Program are pleased to present author Lindsay Hill, winner of the 2014 PEN USA Literary Award for Fiction.
He will read from and discuss his new novel, Sea of Hooks at Middlebury College’s Axinn Center, Abernethy Room at 4:30 p.m.
New York magazine and Publishers Weekly both named Sea of Hooks a top 10 book of 2013. Excerpts of its opening chapters are featured in New England Review (34.2). Publishers Weekly describes the book as “an almost impossibly sustained performance from beginning to end. Nearly every paragraph astonishes, every moment rich with magic and daring.”
Lindsay Hill was born in San Francisco and graduated from Bard College. Since 1974, he has published six books of poetry and his work has appeared in a wide variety of literary journals. Sea of Hooks is his first novel, the product of nearly twenty years of work. His other writing and editorial projects include the production of a series of recordings of innovative writing under the Spoken Engine label, and the co-editing, with Paul Naylor, of the literary journal Facture. Since leaving a career in banking, he has worked in the nonprofit sector. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, the painter Nita Hill.
For more about Lindsay Hill, see the McPherson and Company website.
As many of our online readers already know, at the end of this summer NER’s poetry editor C. Dale Young will be leaving his post after nineteen years on our masthead. His last issue as poetry editor, due out in October, will feature 20 poems he selected over the years and highlight the range of work and joy of discovery he brought to the magazine. C. Dale began reading poetry for NER as a medical student in the mid-nineties, continued on as associate editor, and then became poetry editor in 2000. We have been incredibly fortunate to have had such a passionate and discerning editor selecting work for our pages for so many years, and we salute C. Dale for his versatility, reliability, and dedication. We will miss him in ways we can’t yet imagine!
But we are equally fortunate to be able to announce that our new poetry editor will be Rick Barot. Rick is not only an accomplished poet but he is also a devoted reader and teacher of poetry with wide-ranging taste and vision. He served as a reader for NER for a number of years, in between publishing his poetry and essays in our pages. (Read his most recent essay, The Image Factory.) He begins as poetry editor in September.
Rick has published two books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Threepenny Review. He lives in Tacoma, Washington, and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University, where he is also the director of The Rainier Writing Workshop, PLU’s low-residency MFA in creative writing. Sarabande will publish his third book of poems, Chord, in 2015.
We look forward to working with Rick in his new role, and to bringing our readers an ambitious and exciting selection of poetry in the issues to come.
NER was pleased to host its fifth annual Reunion reading on Saturday, June 7, with Michael Collier, Langdon Cook, Benjamin Ehrlich, Kristen Lindquist, and Emily Raabe. A crowd of more than 60 came in from the sun to hear about mushroom hunters, lost islands, furniture scrounged from the street, the lure of Red Sox radio, and the sometimes tiresome use of birdsong. Read more about these writers and their books.
New England Review is pleased to present a gathering of alumni and faculty authors during Middlebury’s reunion weekend on Saturday, June 7, at 2:30 p.m. Michael Collier, director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference; Langdon Cook ’89; Benjamin Ehrlich ’09; Kristen Lindquist ’89; and Emily Raabe ’94 will read from their work in Middlebury College’s Axinn Center, Room 229.
Michael Collier, director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, has published six books of poems, including The Ledge, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and, most recently, An Individual History. With Charles Baxter and Edward Hirsch, he edited A William Maxwell Portrait. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim Foundation and Thomas Watson Foundation fellowships, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2001–2004, he teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Maryland and lives in Maryland and Cornwall, Vermont.
Langdon Cook ’89 is a writer, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. His books include The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, winner of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award, and Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager, which the Seattle Times called “lyrical, practical and quixotic.” His writing appears in numerous publications, and he has been profiled in Bon Appetit, Outside, Salon.com, and the PBS TV series Food Forward. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children. At Middlebury, he studied writing with Jay Parini, John Elder, and David Bain.
Benjamin Ehrlich ’09 lives in New York City, where he is a coordinating volunteer at Word Up, a bilingual community bookshop and arts space in Washington Heights. His byline has appeared in The Forward, and he contributed writing and editing to Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, released this year by Simon & Schuster. He is a contributing editor for The Beautiful Brain, an online magazine for art and neuroscience, and a participating member of NeuWrite, a collaborative group for scientists and writers sponsored by Columbia University. He is now at work on a biography of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934), “the father of modern neuroscience,” some of whose writings he has translated from the original Spanish and published in New England Review. He is a staff writer for Covered With Fur, an online nonfiction magazine forthcoming from the Austin-based publisher A Strange Object, involving fellow Middlebury ’09 alums. He graduated from Middlebury in Literary Studies.
Kristen Lindquist ’89 works for a land trust in her hometown of Camden, Maine. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon and enjoyed many summers at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in Down East Magazine, Maine Times, Bangor Metro, Northern Sky News,and Bangor Daily News, as well as various literary journals and anthologies. Her publications include the chapbook Invocation to the Birds (Oyster River Press) and the book Transportation (Megunticook Press), which was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award. Garrison Keillor has read three poems from her book on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac. An avid birder, she has written a natural history column for the local paper for many years and maintains a daily haiku blog, Book of Days.
Emily Raabe ’94 lives in New York City with her husband, the filmmaker Paul Devlin. Her book of poems, Leave It Behind, was a runner-up for the 2011 FutureCycle First Book Award, and her novel Lost Children of the Far Islands was published by Knopf in April 2014. She is also the author of a monograph on the work of the sculptor Lawrence LaBianca, and her poetry has appeared in periodicals including Marlboro Review, Big Ugly Review, Indiana Review, Diner, Chelsea, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Crab Orchard Review, Antioch Review, AGNI,and Eleven Eleven. She has received fellowships from the Macdowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, Rotary International, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She graduated from Middlebury with a BA in English and is currently a candidate for the PhD in English at CUNY.
New England Review is pleased to present Ryan Kim, April Ossmann, Jay Parini, and Ryan Walsh, who will read from recent work as part of the NER Vermont Reading Series, this Thursday (Jan. 16, 7 p.m.) at Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe, 24 Merchants Row, in Middlebury.
Ryan Kim (Middlebury) is a native of Newport Beach, California, a graduate of the Putney School, and a senior economics major at Middlebury. He wrote for Middlebury Magazine and gave a TEDx talk about the Amtrak trip he took around America. His industrial design photography is currently on exhibit at the Burlington Airport. After graduation, Ryan will head west to seek employment on a dude ranch before moving to Mexico to write and teach English.
April Ossmann (West Windsor) is the author of Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2007) and the recipient of a 2013 Vermont Arts Council creation grant. Her poems have appeared widely in such journals as the Colorado Review and the Harvard Review, and in anthologies. The executive director of Alice James Books from 2000 to 2008, she is Editor-in-Residence for the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College and an editing and publishing consultant (www.aprilossmann.com).
Jay Parini (Weybridge) is a novelist, poet, biographer, and critic. His seven novels include The Last Station, Benjamin’s Crossing, and The Passages of H. M. His poetry includes The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems. He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. His nonfiction includes such books as The Art of Teaching, Why Poetry Matters, and Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America. His latest book is Jesus: The Human Face of God. He is Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College.
Ryan Walsh (Johnson) is the author of The Sinks, winner of the 2010 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest (Midwest Writing Center Press). His poems have appeared in Ecotone; FIELD; Forklift, Ohio; Green Mountains Review; Narrative; and elsewhere. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and was a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship finalist in 2011. He is Writing Program Director at the Vermont Studio Center.
As the year winds to a close, we hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible contribution to New England Review.
Your gift will directly support the creation of new literature, sustaining the writers, editors, and artists who make this journal “among the nation’s best,” according to the Boston Globe.
Recent NER contributors include U.S. and State Poet Laureates, Guggenheim and NEA Literature Fellows, and writers working towards their very first books. Work from New England Review appears every year in the Pushcart Prize anthologies, the Best American series, and the O Henry Prize anthology. Our print issues draw together established and new voices, and, between issues, the magazine’s web site presents new features and an original creative writing series.
We hope you will consider making a gift—of any size—that will help to support NER. We look forward to giving our readers another year of exceptional writing by authors whose work really matters.
You can give online, by phone at 888.367.6433, or by mail to 5 Court Street, Middlebury, VT 05753. All gifts are tax deductible.
Thank you, and happy holidays!
Volume 35, Number 3 Cover art by Katherine Minott