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Who's Your Daddy: Michael Thomas at Yankee Stadium; Fiction by Jack Livings, Helen Schulman, & Jim Shepard; An illustrated story by William T. Vollmann; Focus: Antarctica; If You See Something, Say Something with Ian Chillag, Samantha Hunt, & Jillian Weise; Poetry by Bernadette Mayer, G. C. Waldrep, & Greta Wrolstad; & much more.
It would seem simple for most: my brother, who still lives in Boston, has managed to get tickets to game two of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and the Yankees, enough for me to take my son and two friends. But after leaving work, I stop before entering the subway: I have a momentary lapse of faith, and it keeps me from going underground.
I hesitate for different reasons: The first is that I’ve always been scared of riding the New York City subway—being greeted by the turnstile arm to the genitals, and then the blast of inhuman-human odor, mixed with dead rat in the walls: like the filthy mop-head smell I remember from being a stock boy in a grocery, it reminds me of being a chump.Continue reading
Dear Big Logos,
I’m alive in tango central! I have my own apartment! Suddenly I am full of exclamation points! This place is more dashing than I ever imagined. For a city that declared its autonomy in 1994, and proceeded to suffer a catastrophic depression in 2002, things seem to be running smoothly. Slight chance of an energy crisis. The word on the street is gasoline. Instead of a White House there is a Pink House. A plaza. A cathedral. Traffic lights change from red to yellow to green. It is okay to put the pedal to the metal on a yellow. The question of what to do with dog poop on the streets is a common and controversial topic of conversation. Most of the streets are named after famous men: Alvear, Calvo, Peña, Roca. The newest neighborhood, Puerto Madera, named their streets after famous women. And many of these famous women are—guess—poets! Increiblemente. I bought an anthology of poetry out of a cardboard box marked two pesos. The poets in the anthology call themselves The Elephant School. So far, no elephants in the poems.Continue reading
In a field of thousands
of wheat stalks, millions of wheat
stalks, countless wheat stalks, is the sound
of the field desiccating itself. Or the field of the sun
desiccating the field
of the soil. To the south, a house
with diamonds of glass, diamonds next
to diamonds, became a heap of ash, the diamond panes
bursting when the heat
pressed out from inside. There
were dark-particled plumes in the air:
shadow-birds, the flaws in our sky of diamond, rising
stalks of the charred house, where,
in a series of photographs, a child who was
her hair first blonde then
darkened, the progression crepuscular
through the passing of many years, as her eyes remained
the lightest of blues.
It is not the overturning field
that blackens her image, nor the burning
house. It is the turning sphere that turns night-ward. In
this field, only
the insects light the sky.
As embers, they travel ever-upward,
diminishing with greater height, blending into the open
air, the open
air, an opening made by an exodus.
An Interview with Bill Manhire
New Zealand’s official involvement in Antarctica began in 1923, when the British government took possession of the territory now known as the Ross Dependency and entrusted its administration to New Zealand. Scott Base was constructed in the territory in 1957 and has been the permanent base of operations for New Zealand ever since. Over the years, thousands of international explorers and scientists have passed through New Zealand on their way to and from Antarctica, inspiring a widespread fascination with the frozen expanse.
In 1996, after an official review concluded that Antarctica is “strategically important to New Zealand as a Southern Hemisphere nation,” the government established Antarctica New Zealand. One year later the Artists to Antarctica program was introduced. It awards annual fellowships to writers and artists of all disciplines to visit the continent and explore it in their work. Poet Bill Manhire was one of the inaugural fellows. He later compiled and edited The Wide White Page, an anthology of imaginative writing about Antarctica.
How did you become interested in Antarctica?
Well, I was born in Invercargill—called by Rudyard Kipling “the last lamppost in the world”—so I grew up knowing that if I got in a small boat and rowed south for a very long time, I would eventually bump into an iceberg. But my sense of Antarctica was probably shaped by the heroic explorers. I saw the John Mills movie Scott of the Antarctic when I was about ten. And Scott and Shackleton both passed through New Zealand; Port Chalmers was Scott’s final landfall before he headed down towards the pole. So the explorers were part of the local mythology. I also remember when I was at high school in Dunedin that the streets were full of American sailors who were all part of Operation Deep Freeze—all coming and going from the ice. If you’re from the south of New Zealand, you probably have the same relationship to Antarctica as many Australians have to the desert interior: you may never go there, but it’s part of your psychic geography.Continue reading