The Blog

Interview with Ottessa Moshfegh

James Yu

Ottessa Moshfegh's allergy toward self-promotion makes her rise all the more impressive. The recipient of the Stegner Fellowship, a National Endowment of the Arts grant, and the Fence Modern Prize in Prose, she has in the last few years become something of a house writer for The Paris Review.

Before she deleted her Twitter account, her avatar was not a professionally burnished headshot of the kind gracing the dust jackets of debut novelists but a medical illustration of three pairs of eyes, each depicting a condition known informally as lazy eye. It is a nonstandard choice for an avatar and seems to capture the forthrightness of Moshfegh's work, in which characters use colostomy bags and have genitals swollen due to pituitary situations, who think mean thoughts and make morally ambiguous decisions.

Richard Siken's WAR OF THE FOXES

Lisa Butts

Richard Siken's second collection, coming a decade after his Yale Younger Poets prize-winning debut Crush, finds the poet a subdued man with more mature preoccupations. The erotic energy and dazzling infatuation that drove Crush are replaced in War of the Foxes with frustrations about the impossibility of creating pure and true artistic representations. Siken sets this conversation in motion from the book's opening line: “The paint doesn't move the way the light reflects, / so what's there to be faithful to?” The trappings of aesthetics are insufficient: “It should be enough. To make something / beautiful should be enough. It isn't.” 

Human Rights Index #43: European Union Migration

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 #43

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

Mark Wisniewski’s WATCH ME GO

Jack Smith

Watch Me Go establishes Mark Wisniewski as a writer who moves adeptly from the light to the dark, from the quirky, sometimes bizarre comic story to the eerie, unsettling thriller. His previous work—most notably Show Up, Look Good; Confessions of a Polish Used Car Salesman; and All Weekend with the Lights On—contains dark undercurrents suggestive of human frailty, corruption, and evil; in Watch Me Go, Wisniewski's third novel, the darker element dominates throughout. 


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