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Latest Blogs

https://www.fridakahlo.org/
In my story “Frida Kahlo Sex Dreams,” a young couple grapples with lust, jealousy, sexuality, and gender roles while striving for the American Dream in the suburbs of Washington, DC. The main character’s grasp on reality unravels when recurring sex dreams about Frida Kahlo challenge his established views of marriage and life choices. ...
art anthony tremmaglia crossing head artist
William Carlos Williams believed that the "universal is in the particular." and I feel very connected to this statement and how it affects American literature. Looking back, I believe that Whitman also thought that the universal was in the particular and took huge risks in his poems with line length, sound content, and word usage,but in...
art by Kali Gregan
"A Murder During the Reagan Era" appeared in NAR issue 302.3. Dedicated to Roberta Barrett (1936-2016), who didn’t shirk from her morbid son-in-law’s curiosity and showed him the letter from her cousin in jail for murder and spawned this story.      This story rose from offal I had trimmed from a novel manuscript. As much as I enjoyed the...
Illustration by Tom Moore
This blog is about Betsy's poem "nails and wings" which appeared in NAR issue 302.2 and is available here.             Dog paddling across a gigantic sparkling lake while weeds grab at my legs—that’s the metaphor for marriage that floated to the surface this morning. Unlike falling in love, which is generally effortless, delicious,...
art by Kali Gregan
     “The Tough Guy Test” (Winter 2017) is the second story North American Review has published from my collection Bridge & Tunnel. In it, a woman returns to her working-class roots in Queens after the Great Recession, her manor-born husband and their toddler in tow. The husband’s adjustment is an immediate challenge, and ultimately the...
Illustration by Tom Moore
I’ve never cared for essays that compare the act of writing to some other activity. For example: “Writing is like swimming.” Or “Writing is like mushroom hunting.” Or “Writing is like wrestling.” I’ve seen all sorts of attempts over the years to box writing up into a convenient metaphor. But to what end? It might be useful in a freshman...
Art by Matt Manley
    I wrote “I, Beast,” a poem honored by the North American Review, after reading a New York Times article in 2014, which explained that the soil in one particular Russian city had preserved ancient documents, some as mundane as a shopping list and a child’s fanciful drawing. The drawing was made in approximately 1260 by a boy named Onfirm,...
Illustration by Tom Moore
In the summer of 2014, while traveling to Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a poetry retreat,  I sat to write a poem as a reply to a Father’s Day letter I had received from my son, Patrick. The response eventually became a book-length manuscript. The poems of Soul Be A Witness, my latest collection, attempt to speak truth of and to boys and men of...
Self by Ciara Shuttleworth
Images by author        I went to school for painting before I went for poetry. I kept a notebook in my painting studio, but the act of writing in a notebook is more like painting than editing a drafted poem: the body produces something the mind must have some part in but doesn’t seem to. There is an impulse that is put on paper or canvas,...
Illustration by Briana Hertzog
     Last January, I was in yoga school at Blue Banyan Yoga Studio & School, and I was asked to develop a Karma Project. As described, “Karma means action. We are said to all be connected by a tightly woven web of karmic energy—each action we do affects both the Self and the Universe.” The project was up to me and encouraged “Selfless...
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick
     I had the good fortune to be a finalist in Five Oaks Press’s poetry chapbook competition last spring, and because of that, had my collection published this March. In the past, when my work has been accepted for publication, I’ve felt a combination of excitement and relief: someone liked it! And also: now I can stop revising.      With...
Illustration by Matt Manley
     The Polish government designated it the Year of Zbigniew Herbert and organized a celebratory reading at the Polish Embassy in DC, where a handful of Polish American poets read and discussed his singular influence. I read a Herbert-influenced poem along with an excerpt from my translation of Pan Tadeusz, the great nineteenth century...
Illustration by Matteo Gallo
So far, it has been a constant.  Ants drawn in from under the front door; cockroaches flitting into their spaces whenever the light is flicked on; that one spring when ladybugs huddled upside down in the corners of my ceiling; mice; rats; bedbug welts the size of golf balls. My house has never been able to keep them out. There always seems...
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Matthew Schaefer   This Past Perfect will also appear in NAR's Summer 2017 issue, which will be available for pre-order here.      It sounds like the set-up for a bad joke: “The President, the Press Secretary and the White House Press Corps walk into a room . . .” It may well be a bad joke, but the punch line remains elusive. Each of the...
Illustration by Kali Gregan
            Grief and regret are two of those ghosts that seem to frequently haunt my creative process.  More often than not, whenever I sit down to write, they will pull me far from where I want to go and inevitably towards where I need to.  And then, especially in those moments where I most resist them, I will somehow unexpectedly find...
Illustration by Jessica Mercado
     Poetry gives me a chance to document reality in an emotional way.      I have lived in New Mexico for twenty-three years now. I bought my house nine days after I drove into town. From the start, I loved watching the way the clouds bubbled and shifted. The light blistered like a lit match, especially on overcast days, and I realized I...
Illustration by Matteo Gallo
I came to writing late, starting at age thirty-four. My artistic life was born a month after my first child was born. I’m not fully conscious of the reasons for this. I only know that my writing often rises out of the dissonance between artistic and family life and that the poem included in the North American Review is no exception. Time is...
Illustration by Matt Manley
  Line There are rungs across the plains. If you’re ok with not looking  too close, they become the kind of ruled mirage you find on cereal box  stickers where holographic animals twitch and transform by tilting  the angle of the card. If you don’t mind squinting, tree stands turn  to their fields and caress the pastured cheeks. Take a...
Mizna
This blog originally appeared as the introduction to a section of Arab American Poetry in NAR 302.2 (Spring 2017). If there were ever a time for politically galvanizing literature, this is it. But, perhaps not in the way you might expect. It’s true that hateful political rhetoric has won the day and is making way for a bewildering political...
Art by Tom Moore
  Not the Thing but a Fossil of the Thing   Fern fronds fletched like a feather etch ache into gray slate,     five petals float in a now-unbound crown,        a thumb-sized spine curls and fans out to a tail, a spall splits into stone pages stamped with tree bark   repeating like wallpaper, a leaf shines like oiled leather, oblate...
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick
There have been many writers who could be described, to varying degrees, as Gnostic, but Susan Howe is one of the most important. Just as William Blake’s Gnostic poetry endeavors to break out of the Corporeal realm and into the Eternal, Howe uses the materiality of language, writing, and history to break beyond them into a psycho-spiritual...
Matt Manley Art
As the semester ends, I find myself trying to gauge the slipperiness of this thing called improvement. Has Dave’s portfolio of writing displayed that he’s become a better poet this semester? Yes, his specifics are more specific, his forms more formed, but there’s something I realize I haven’t talked about enough: happenstance. The beauty of...
Photography by Chris Highland
“Fear” (Photos by Author) No rational person would say we are not living in fearful times. In fact, many irrational people believe we are too! What we perhaps need the most is for someone, anyone, to address our fears with a steady and sensible voice. Once again, Ingersoll steps up and stands out.  Otherworldly beliefs build their shaky...
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Gift Tower When I read Siddhartha in Mrs. Stevens’ World Lit class, the problem I had was reconciling the somber, skinny,   beneath-the-lotus-tree Buddha with the smiling, fat-bellied, shiny golden Buddha beside the register   at Mei-Ling Shanghai, Metuchen’s only ethnic restaurant. It’s like when I open the Harry & David...
Orion on the Dunes
Note: This interview was begun informally in person, and then continued more formally through email. Charlotte Zoe Walker: Orion on the Dunes strikes me as a brilliant example of the art of biography. Were there any particular biographers who you thought of as role models while you were researching and writing this book? What aspects of...

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