The Blog

Melting Snow Cones and Book Lovers' Hearts: TIR's Adventures at the Iowa City Book Festival

Sara Kosch

It was nine o'clock in the morning on Saturday, July 17, and I was already sweating profusely. I wished I had thought to bring a large palm leaf or at least a wide brimmed hat, but I comforted myself with the fact that at least I was going to get some color after working inside all summer. As it turned out that color was going to be red instead of the sun-kissed glow I would have preferred, but I'll take what I can get, I suppose.

Making Silk from Chalk: John McPhee's SILK PARACHUTE

Matthew Clark

To gauge a writer, one might consider his or her ability to transform something ostensibly banal, like chalk, ordinary blackboard chalk, ordinary calcium carbonate, ordinary grape-growing stuff, into something interesting. Unsurprisingly, to read John McPhee’s most recent collection of essays, Silk Parachute, is to marvel at the way he elicits a temperament the opposite of boredom. “Season on the Chalk” begins on the River Thames at Gravesend, with McPhee’s grandson, Tommaso, appearing “out of somewhere” with a broken river stone and writing one letter on the revetment: R. A revetment is a barricade. “Somewhere” is McPhee, and more generally, any author.

Unleashed: An Interview with Pushcart Prize Winner Susan Perabo

Sara Kosch

The Story

"Twenty dollars is all I ask as payment, enough to buy a couple more bags of the store-brand food for the ones left behind. Some people give me more. One time a lady from Hanover wrote me a check for five hundred dollars. She said I was doing the Lord's work. I thought to myself that maybe the Lord had more important things to worry about than a kennel full of slobbering dogs, but I wasn't about to say so, standing there with her check in my hand. The truth was, I didn't really know why I did what I did, and I didn't see any reason to spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. It was just the way it was."

Downwind of Nazism

Russell Valentino

In the town of Gorizia, just north-east of Trieste, I visited a museum that's housed in the local synagogue and is devoted to the memory of the Jewish community of Gorizia. There is no Jewish community of Gorizia, not for the past 40 years.


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