Issue 53


Fall 2012


Editor's Note

When we started Tin House fourteen years ago, we had the crazy notion to be bicoastal. Not in Manhattan and LA, as everyone then assumed, but in Portland and Brooklyn. We wanted to tap into the long-standing vitality of both cultural centers. Alive and vibrant with independent artists, writers, and musicians, they were also at the forefront of thinking about what it means to be a sustainable modern city. Nearly fifteen years later, to our delight and dismay, both places have become cliche cool. With this issue, we wanted to step back, cut through the hype and the ridicule, and give our readers a sampling of what attracted us to these places in the first place, and what continues to excite us. There is no one Portland, no one Brooklyn, and we don’t intend for this to be the definitive record of their writing, art, and music. Our aim is not to memorialize, but to stop time briefly to show you the ever-evolving dynamism of these cities.

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.


Table of Contents


Vanessa Veselka
Just Before Elena
Adam Wilson
December Boys Got It Bad
Hannah Tinti
Bullet Number Two
Ursula K. Le Guin
C.J. Hauser
The Shapeshifter Principle
John Haskell
All Too Real
Whitney Otto
Cymbeline in Love, or The Unmade Bed
Willy Vlautin


Marina Weiss
An Ipswich of Sylvia Plath’s Childhood
Crystal Williams
Cancer Rising
Point of Impact
Ben Lerner
Lisa Ciccarello
At Night, the Dead, The Perfect Inside is Outside:
At Night, the Dark Has a Sound:
Bianca Stone
Sensitivity to Sound
I Saw the Devil with His Needlework
Mary Szybist
Annunciation Cast as Farrah and Michael

New Voice Poetry

Jae Choi
3’ x 9.9999”
Caitlin Vance
Winter Landscape After Betrayal
Letter of Complaint to a Dead Grandfather


Jon Raymond
The Broadway Gang
Evan Hughes
Consider the Gentrifier
Cheston Knapp
Faces of Pain
Charles D’Ambrosio
True Believer
Pauls Toutonghi
Notes from the Underground


Dunja Jankovic
Sakura Maku
Pigeons Bums Burning Bright

Lost & Found

Paul Collins
On Stefana Young’s Portland’s Little Red Book of Stairs
Christopher Sorrentino
On Wallace Markfield
Ryan Healey
On Thomas Glynn’s The Building
David Naimon
On Philip Roth’s My Life as a Man
JW McCormack
On James Purdy

Readable Feast

Salma Abdelnour
Home to Beirut on Brooklyn’s R Train
Karen Karbo
In Search of Lost Pancake



Check out Tin House’s Mix Tape