Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins (Akashic Books, 2009), Days of Awe (Random House, 2001) and two other books of fiction. Her poetry chapbook, This Is What Happened in Our Other Life (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007), was both a critical favorite and a best-seller. She edited, and translated into English, Havana Noir (Akashic Books, 2007), a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Her translation into Spanish of Junot Diaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2009)/La Breve y Maravillos Vida de Oscar Wao (Vintage/Mondadori) was a …
Interviewed by Barbara Sueko McGuire
When Nancy Martini was in the third grade, she remembers being the worst artist in her class. That’s because she’d given up drawing.
“I remember kids making fun of me and feeling very awkward,” she says. It wasn’t until the seventh grade, at the encouragement of her science teacher, that she began sketching again. “He made me believe I could be an artist because I had thought it was this special talent,” she continues. “It’s not. He was right, it’s a matter of repetition and practice, and I didn’t stop from there.”
Fast-forward to today, and …
Interviewed by Nita Noveno
It has to be said: Ed Pavlic is a cool guy. I met Ed in December 2006 at the Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya. He was a curiously calm, welcoming presence to a just-arrived, disoriented traveler. Eventually, I would discover his finely tuned powers as a poet and the inspired musicality of his writing. His most recent book But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (Achebe Center, Bard College, 2009) is jagged and beautiful and absorbing. Ed shares the back story of his latest publication and a few other observations about music and life.
Nita Noveno: Tell me …
Most recently, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history has been seeping into headlines and into our shared culture. The permanent damage this event will leave economically and environmentally is yet to be seen, but what is known is that 206 million gallons of oil spilled into our oceans. It began on April 20th and was officially declared over on September 19th.
Historical “spills” like this, or even personal upsets in our individual lives, serve as a wake-up call to the fact that the world is never as it seems.
As a noun, “spills” typically refer to negative occurrences. But, flipped on its side as a verb, to spill is not …
By Mike Stutzman
Yes, yes, yes—
the sandbags I have stacked,
and the sheets of plywood
nailed overlapping my storefront heart.
I have made ready
for your grey eyes to turn me
away once more. The cheerful experts
track your cruel silence.
I press to my ear a radio
jammed to the station
devoted to the crisis you bring:
the ways you will ruin me
if you shift even a few degrees.
Yes, I tune my guitar
to the chimes they play on the hour.
How I have rehearsed the way
I will take the dark O
of your no and drift its innertube
to the house of your family,
allow the swollen flood of circumstance
to lift me to your window.
By Bernadette McComish
I am poured out like water,
spilled onto the floor, soaked into wood.
A terrible loneliness forces me
to love a man who says I don’t love you,
too many times.
Removed from me: all things visible,
I will not forget the one who came before.
I shall no longer look
for you in another man’s bed.
I’m sure, I am poured out like water,
slipped backward into the oceans.
I who am in love
have forgotten how to sleep alone.
In this bondage I am broken
How did my body liquefy
into a pool of bones?
I am poured out like water,
do you hear me,
What shall I sacrifice
for healing and how do I
How many times do …
By Ilana Garon
Her name was Felicia, and she was my student during my second year teaching public high school in the Bronx, when I was 23. Her parents were having a reverse custody battle over who didn’t have to take care of her. The odds of her being totally screwed up by this were astronomical. But she smiled. She played. She said funny, witty things. She teased me for things I had never told the students (hell, things I was wary of even thinking)—“Miss, you blush whenever Chris walks into the room. He’s cute, isn’t he?”—and …
By Roof Alexander
The first time I met Luke was in the St. Michaels emergency room. He was trying to convince his girlfriend that he didn’t need any treatment.
“They won’t be able to do anything away,” he said. She went to fill out the paperwork at the desk and he sat down beside me. I looked down at his hands to see that one of them seemed tangled, broken all over.
“Does that not hurt?” I asked him.
“You ought to see the other rhino,” he said and smiled. We could hear his gal arguing with the front desk nurse.
“She okay?” I …
By Alisa Slaughter
It’s late; I’m listening for the marauding bear. Maybe it’s because the summer is so cold this year in Oregon and things aren’t ripening, but my mother says he’s unusually active, more persistent than the average bear in his raids on gardens and bird feeders. After she was robbed by a neighborhood meth addict, my mother put a motion detector on her garage light and a lock on the inside of her wood bin, where the tweaker got in. The police caught him, but he’d already sold the pearls my late father gave her, on eBay. I’m …
SPILLAGE by Nita Noveno & Barbara Sueko McGuire
Be Careful by William Cass
Empty Pockets by Roof Alexander
Wingin’ It by Jessica Machado
Distrust the Inner Voice by Alisa Slaughter
Felicia by Ilana Garon
Life Taxidermy by Brie Huling
A Psalm of What Happens When I Submit to Love by Bernadette McComish
Fado de Coimbra (serenade) by Mike Stutzman
Heart Decay by Brie Huling
Ed Pavlic by Nita Noveno
Nancy Martini by Barbara Sueko McGuire