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Illustration by Matt Manley of man looking through a square frame, hidden by shadows.

          I was fortunate to be born into a family that emphasized the importance of story.
          The first story they told me was my name. Next came my great-grandfather cutting watermelon into quarters as he and my father walked a field in Kentucky. Then came my mother running and jumping on the basketball court, powerful and balanced.
          Growing up, my little brother, Nathan, and I shared a room. Both Dad and Mom would come and read to us. They sat on the floor...

Illustration from 295.1 by Li-Ying Bao

As a professor teaching graphic design and digital multimedia development, I also really enjoy creating illustrations for the literary magazine North American Review.  I regard both illustration and graphic design as means of public visual communication which enhances the impact of the message from the authors, the information initiators, to the audiences, the information receivers.  The designers and illustrators are the mediators in such a triadic relationship to solve the visual...

Cover of the North American Review

I would like to write a little something about my picture “King Pest” which is on the cover of 301.4. It is an illustration for Edgar Allan Poe’s darkly comic story about a plague, two sailors, and a group of remarkable characters who each had one of his or her features (nose, head, ears, etc.) distorted (enlarged) by the pervasive plague. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of pictures I have...

cornucopia

In Honor Of The Thanksgiving Holiday, The North American Review Would Like To Start A Series Of Posts This Week And Hopefully Continue Throughout This Season To Show Thanks To All Of Our Contributors For Their Works Of Literature And Art. 

Cornucopia ...

I hate to start out with a cliche, but art really can make you starve. You can be a stalwart perfectionist when it comes to fine art, be it writing, music or the like. Fine, in that I mean something that builds on our love of the world in which we live, that speaks to the conscience, that speaks to the heart’s struggles, that builds on the true temperament of the human experience.  But, it can make you starve, when you don’t know when to put the pen down, the instrument that bends your will...

I started writing poems the first time I read contemporary poetry, in seventh grade. That is when I remember thrilling to Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Not Shakespeare or Tennyson or Poe with their antique diction and fair ladies—rather, a woman who spoke to me and who made me want to talk back. The germ of my new book, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, began, perhaps, four years after that, when the advisor of my high-school literary magazine suggested an addition...

SPIRIT MOUND

 

Begin with the naming of things.

“Prairie,” from French via the Vulgar Latin

prataria and further back to the Latin pratum,

meaning “meadow.” And the mound itself,

called by geologists a roche mountonếe

a bedrock knob shaped but not leveled

by the last Pleistocene glacier.

 

But long before these names, known to the Omaha,

Oto and Yankton Lakota as Paha Wakan,

an...

On April 1, 2009—while driving to teach—I heard an NPR story about thousands of children stolen, just after birth, during Franco’s dictatorship. This was no April Fool’s joke. I listened to this broadcast and others that emerged over time. It was incredibly systematic: Parents were told their infant had died, the newborn was then sold to a more politically suitable family, the hospital offered to take care of “funeral plans”, birth records were destroyed. Of course, this news story...

One question I ask other writers is what sounds stimulate their writing––silence, electronica, mud pools, rain showers, foreign film soundtracks, a woman in the next room boiling water. This is because I have a particular kind of synesthesia, known as chromesthesia, in which many pieces of music I hear are twinned with distinct visual experiences. There are exceptions, and in those cases, the sounds can induce a full range of emotional responses with no visual complements. Occasionally,...

WAKE: WORLD, ARRIVED

Reality, divided into light and matter.
A moment travels from the universe’s birth.

A massless noun converts into light, then reverses.
This, the moment when the universe begins

to shine. Mother’s voice whispering by the crib,
brushing with my first series of particulars.

A probability turns true, tips and flashes
slicing the light into particles it daringly

hails through. Father, teaching me to...

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