My Mother, Gardening

From Joanne Jacobson’s essay, “My Mother, Gardening,” in the current issue:

511px-Alleged_location_of_Eden_crop“Can you see anything inside?” his companions cried out to the archaeologist Howard Carter when he opened King Tut’s tomb, secreted in the sands for thirty centuries. “Yes!” Carter called back, “Wonderful things!” It was November 4, 1922: two and a half years before my mother was born. Carter and the others dizzily wandered the chambers where the young pharaoh had been buried, his sandals exquisitely carved, braided in solid gold to simulate woven reeds. All of Tut’s organs, his heart and his liver, each kidney and his stomach, were embalmed and laid in stoppered canopic jars, then fitted into golden coffinettes. Coffers of fish and assorted meats, thirty jars of wine, four complete board games, one hundred thirty-nine ebony, ivory, silver, and gold walking sticks, fifty linen garments—for the Egyptians believed that earthly human affairs continued in the afterlife—were preserved in the airless, crowded rooms.

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Announcing the new NER: Vol. 34, #1

The new issue of New England Review has just shipped from the printer, and a preview is available here on our website. In this issue, Joseph McElroy turns his mind to the ways of wetlands and the costs of human intervention; Kathleen Chaplin listens for the death knock through generations of her Irish family; Ashley Hope Pérez assesses Anne Sexton’s difficult ambitions as a poet and teacher; Joanne Jacobson follows her mother into a garden that grows smaller with time; and in a selection of letters spanning his productive career, Italo Calvino reveals his life as a writer conditioned by history.

Also in these pages you’ll find new poems by Aaron Baker, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Joanne Dominique Dwyer, Tarfia Faizullah, Debora Greger, Benjamin S. Grossberg, Joshua R. Helms, James Hoch, Maria Hummel, Eric Pankey, Melissa Range, and Andres Rojas; new fiction from Michael Coffey, Kathryn Davis, Steve De Jarnatt, Lisa Van Orman Hadley, and Christine Sneed; and a translation of Yves Bonnefoy by Hoyt Rogers. On the cover is Schroon River #2 by Irma Cerese. We dedicate this issue to NER contributor A. J. Sherman (1934–2013): distinguished author, generous friend, unfailing observer.

Get a copy of the beautiful new issue here — or better yet, subscribe!