The Blog

"From the Workshop to War": An Interview with Janine di Giovanni

Christopher Merrill

When I was reporting on the war in Bosnia, I always read the dispatches of John Burns, Roger Cohen, and Janine di Giovanni, who seemed to me to understand not only the political and military dimension of the unfolding tragedy, but also its human consequences. Each in their own way practiced the working methods of a photographer friend who told me she liked to “get into people’s beer,” that is, to spend time with those she wished to portray. What resulted were intimate photographs of people in extremis; showing their human faces.

Dinner in Los Angeles, Raining in July

Max Ritvo

The black night is a sea urchin.
The sea urchin is my mother
moving on spiny feet,
meat clotting with her desires. 

But meat isn’t the only thing
that moves the feet—
the cold sky puckers them,
shafts of gnats tickle them,
and the aroma of all things burns on the ground. 

The feet won’t obey her.
Every foot has a hunch in the wilderness. 


As the sprinklers brutalize the window,
the sun setting into city light, 

you ask to see my plate,
my plate, still studded with green beans. 

Thinking fast, I pitch up my voice into a story
about Dad trying to plug up gophers in the yard. 

About how when Prajapati opened his mouth,
he birthed the fire that eats fathers—
like a hose spraying gophers into his face. 


The only stars left
are mothers. 

Human Rights Index #47: Children in Armed Conflict

TIR Staff

The Human Rights Index is prepared three times a year by the University of Iowa Center for Human RightsThe Iowa Review is proud to feature the Index on our website, to suggest the global political and socioeconomic context within which we read and write.

Human Rights Index #47

Prepared by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR)*

Meet the Artist: An Interview with Shaun Tan

Robyn Henderson

Shaun Tan is a children’s book author and illustrator whose work includes The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia, and The Red Tree, among others. Known for his detailed, fantastical drawings and imaginative worlds, Tan has won awards for his fiction, including a Hugo Award and an Academy Award for the short film adaption of his book, The Lost Thing. The Iowa Review published an excerpt of his recent work, The Singing Bones, a collection of sculptures based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, in the Fall 2015 issue. Tan currently resides in Melbourne, Australia, and recently answered some questions via e-mail about his work and process.

TIR: How did you decide which stories you wanted to sculpt for The Singing Bones?


Kate Conlow

What happens when we extract ourselves from our phones and our feeds, and sit down, slow down, and correspond through the written word? Over the past year and a half, Niki Neems has explored these themes through Response: The Convergence of poetry, handwriting, and epistolary correspondence, a letterpress card series done in collaboration with many contemporary poets, including C.D. Wright, Rae Armantrout, and Robert Hass. Neems says that Response originated “with a fascination for the way life becomes art,” and is a “reaction to the slow disappearance of the handwritten mark, posted letters, and books.”A poet and avid reader herself, Neems is also the owner of r.s.v.p., Iowa City’s beloved paper and card shop, which doubles as an informal gathering space for community poetry readings throughout the year.


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