The Blog

Sarah Viren's MINE

Jess Smith

A futon, a house, a lover, a dog, a child, a country. These are all things Sarah Viren has, or has had, and lost. It is the exploration of that possession and subsequent absence that she explores in her essay collection Mine, winner of the 2016 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. Each essay is titled with the possessive my—”My Catch,” “My Choice,” “My Ballad for You”—but ultimately, Viren is exploring and working to accept the inevitability of loss. “Everything I owned,” she writes on the final page, “has since been lost. Even my memories are not the same.”


Porochista Khakpour’s SICK

Brittany Borghi

Recently, I fell asleep in bed reading Porochista Khakpour’s new memoir Sick, the story of her lifetime of physical and mental health crises that eventually leads to a diagnosis of late-stage Lyme disease. In that sleep, I had a terrifying dream that my skin suddenly ripped open between my second and third ribs, and while the air leaked out of my body, I wasted time panicking about which jeans to wear to the hospital. In my waking life, I was wading through a bout of post-MFA anxiety the likes of which I’d never felt before, and I got a call from my older brother who told me he’d been bitten by a tick and diagnosed with Lyme disease (and successfully treated it with antibiotics) for the second time in two years.

Interview with Anthony Madrid

Devin King

Anthony Madrid is the author of two books of poetry: I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (Canarium, 2012) and Try Never (Canarium, 2017). Both books are built around the investigation of specific forms—I Am Your Slave explores the possibilities of the ghazal, a medieval Arabic form, and Try Never uses the linked engylnion, a form of early Welsh nature poetry. Madrid also enjoys the pleasures of rhyme, though he is never lazy or cheap in the utilization of this texture. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2013Boston ReviewFenceHarvard ReviewLana TurnerLIT, and Poetry. He is also insistent as a critic of poetry—most notably at The Paris Review blog.

Paula Carter's NO RELATION

Alessandra Simmons

My mother divorced when I was six months old and remarried when I was twenty-eight. Even with a handful of kids, my salsa-dancing, surfer-girl mother was a catch. And so a parade of men took my mom out on dates, attended our birthday and Christmas parties, and sat through our recitals and school plays. My siblings and I were generally welcoming of our mother’s current beau—until the breakup. Then the man was simply written off and forgotten. I remember no sadness around these events.


Interview with Kiki Petrosino

Sam Leon

Kiki Petrosino has authored three books: Fort Red Border (2009), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and her most recent, Witch Wife (2017). A graduate from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her poems have appeared in The New York Times, Best American Poetry, Tin House, and Gulf Coast, among several other publications. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she also directs their creative writing program. Along with dedicating her time to residencies, fellowships, and part-time teaching at Spalding University’s MFA program, she is also cofounder of the online literary journal Transom.


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