Issue 59


Spring 2014
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Stephen King / Cheryl Strayed / Colum McCann
Editor's Note

Aeschylus posited, “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” While true, memory also can be a trickster, and cruel. And why are some of our most emotionally laden memories incomplete, a scent or color or image triggering a flood of half-remembered events accompanied by an overwhelming sense of joy or dread? In this issue we wrestle with this imperfect and changeable source of all writing. Stephen King, Kevin Barry, Cheryl Strayed, Colum McCann, and Jodi Angel offer short takes on their strongest memories evoked by a piece of clothing or jewelry. Dana Spiotta and Rachel Kushner, two of America’s sharpest cultural observers, talk about collective memory and the creative process of weaving the personal with the political. In “Moving On,” Diane Cook imagines a future in which our former spouses are counseled out of our memories. The incomparable Joy Williams, in her story “The Country,” asks, “Why are we here?” C. K. Williams offers a “Little Hymn to Time,” Charlie Smith asks “Why Harp on It?,” and Troy Jollimore plumbs the “Past Imperfect.” I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

A note about the digital versions: If you read on a Kindle, use the Mobipocket edition; for all other e-readers, use the ePub edition.

Print orders ship free by media mail.

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Table of Contents


Joy Williams
The Country
Diane Cook
Moving On
Diane Williams
A Mere Flask Poured Out
At a Period of Exceptional Dullness
Dale Peck
Parable of the Man Lost in the Snow
Seth Fried
Hello Again


Craig Morgan Teicher
Some Elegies
Sean Zhuraw
ESP Reader Instructions
Caroline Knox
When I was about your age,
Charlie Smith
Why Harp on It
Here, Dog
This Water Tastes of Iron
C. K. Williams
Little Hymn to Time
Anna McDonald
Murray Hill
Afternoon in Bethnal Green
Lindsay Walker
Manifesto for the Broken
Troy Jollimore
Past Imperfect
Joe Wenderoth


Lacy M. Johnson
The Soundproof Room
Allen Crawford
Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself
Maggie Nelson
The Argonauts
Phillip Lopate
Early Memories of a Class Traitor

New Voice Nonfiction

Tiffany Briere

Things Past

Colum McCann
The Journey Home
Stephen King
The Ring
Jodi Angel
The Negative Split
Kevin Barry
1988, Sabina
Cheryl Strayed
My Uniform


Rachel Kushner

Lost & Found

Stephen Sparks
On Frances A. Yates’s The Art of Memory
Rebecca Makkai
On George R. Stewart’s Ordeal by Hunger
Hugh Ryan
On Anatole Pohorilenko and James Crump’s When We Were Three: The Travel Albums of George Platt Lynes, Monroe Wheeler, and Glenway Wescott, 1925-1935
Micah Perks
On Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s Reindeer Moon
Susan Rebecca White
On Edna Lewis’s The Edna Lewis Cookbook

Readable Feast

Ann Hood
Tomato Pie