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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Affable Beasts: An Interview with Michael Thomas Taren on Tomaž Šalamun

“This is to say that Tomaž’s exuberance was always off the handle. He always thought his legacy would be found in America. America grafted onto his encyclopedia of references. He loved to write in Starbucks, especially that of Union Square. He bought Starbucks every day when he was in America and brooked no criticism of that company. Tomaž liked America quite a lot. At either periphery of the Atlantic he’s viewed as something childlike and mystical. In his home country it’s a split between reverence and annoyance. He became both a trophy case and Modernity’s whipping boy.”

Explaining Myself

How much should we explain to the reader? This is a question that comes up a lot. In fact, it comes up every single time we write. Writing is a series of decisions of what to explain to the reader, what not to, what leaps and associations we believe the reader can take, should take, or might not be able to take (but do they need to?). It happens, on some level, with every word. Each word in our work is a kind of bet—which readers will recognize what we are trying to do, and which will not? And when that word combines with the next, and spreads its reach into reference or metaphor or anything beyond the basic and denotative, we make an even bigger bet.

Announcing Our 2015 Pushcart Prize Nominees!

We’ve published terrific poetry, short fiction, and essays in our print pages this year, and we’d like to extend hearty congratulations to our nominees for the 2015 Pushcart Prize: Paige Cooper, Alyson Hagy, Laura Glen Louis, Diane Seuss, Hasanthika Sirisena, and Danez Smith.

A Traditional Thanksgiving

I see how tradition can curdle; how tradition can camouflage and domesticate violence, excuse ineptitude, and encourage ignorance. I see, around me, people questioning tradition, plumbing its darkness, tearing it down. I applaud them and their necessary efforts. I don’t believe their destruction of tradition infringes upon my own. Yet I do still want to explain how tradition can make a new country, its written and unwritten rules, inhabitable. I want to explain my sliver of truth.