Tin House Issue 70: Winter Reading

Rob Spillman


In case you missed it, Issue 70 was released late last week. Here with an introductory note from the past is our editor, Rob Spillman.


As I am writing these words before the election, I do not know if the United States has elected a madman who has the potential to scorch all life from our planet. What possible value can art and story and poetry have in the face of such pending insanity? Everything.

Jo Ann Beard’s harrowing story “The Tomb of Wrestling”, brutal and beautiful, about a woman facing an intruder in her rural home, contains enough life and heart to power us through the next ten elections. Jim Shepard takes our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, specifically our decaying rails, and makes art from the raw material. Thank you Jim and Jo Ann and all of the storytellers. And thank you to the poets at this time, at all times. Walt Whitman, in the Song of Myself, wrote, “I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable; I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Thank you, Rae Armantrout, Chaim ben Avram, Shayla Lawson, Ruth Madievsky, David Tomas Martinez, Miller Oberman, Tommy Pico, Christopher Soto, Gerald Stern for your untamableness, your irreducibility, your mysteries.

We hope that the barbaric yawps contained within these pages reflect our times and are also timeless, that they capture what it is to be alive now, and for those of you reading in the future, that the words resonate with you as well.


Issue 70 features fiction by Jo Ann Beard, Antonya Nelson, Jim Shepard, Michael Andreasen, Rebecca Makkai; poetry by Rae Armantrout, Ruth Madievsky, David Tomas Martinez, Shayla Lawson, Tommy Pico, Gerald Stern, Christopher Soto, Miller Oberman, Chaim ben Avram; an interview with Mark Leyner; and Lost & Founds by Sam Lipsyte, Julia Cooke, Steve Almond, Jess Pane, Teow Lim Goh. It’s available online and at your local bookstore!